White in the Flag – A photographic journey by Mobeen Ansari

Two-time Gourmand Award winner, and Pakistan’s leading independent publishing house, Markings Publishing, proudly launched their landmark tenth title ‘White in the Flag’ by photographer Mobeen Ansari at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture on the 3rd of August 2017 in Karachi.

 This title has been launched by Markings Publishing at this juncture specifically given that 2017 marks 70 years of Pakistan. It is thus poignant to note that the book’s focus is a documentation and celebration of the nation’s religious minorities. Indeed,  ‘White in the Flag’ is a continuation of the talented photographer Mobeen Ansari’s journey to document that which reflects Pakistan’s vibrancy and soul through the  people who have made Pakistan.

‘White in the Flag’ explores the diversity, depth and vibrancy of the multitude of religions, cultures, and subcultures that make up the fabric of Pakistan. The journey for Mobeen Ansari has been equally introspective as he viewed and documented the human condition. His journey for the book took him across the parched deserts in Sindh, to the pristine mountains of the North, to the many temples and places of worship and gave him the opportunity to interact with people of all faiths. The title of the book represents the white in Pakistan’s flag that symbolizes the country’s commitment to the rights of religious minorities.

The event was opened with an introduction on the evening by Raisa Vayani from Markings, where she invited on stage Mobeen Ansari who spoke about his experience working on ‘White in the Flag’. This was followed by a video presentation on the book after which Mobeen called on stage representatives of a diversity of Pakistan’s religious and ethnic minorities in a gesture of acknowledgement and appreciation, calling upon members from the Sikh, Hindu, Christian, Kalaashi, communities many of whom had flown in to Karachi for this launch. Markings had also created a symbolic white tree in the courtyard, the Tree of Promise, where attendees tied green threads as a promise and commitment to support and celebrate the religious minorities. The event was managed by Carbon with public relations by Lotus.

White in the Flag was my journey into the various communities residing across Pakistan. I travelled nationwide, observing people in their different habitats and places of worship in every nook and cranny of urban cities. Whether it was witnessing the colours of Holi at the mandirs of Tharparkar, listening to hymns during Sunday mass at Saint Anthony’s church in Lahore, or joining in on the festivities of Chowmos; a Kalash festival – I have been able to see, capture and celebrate diversity. While interacting and living with different communities, I learnt a lot more about my country and the coexistence of different faiths within it. And my learning made me want to share my share with everyone through this book,” said photographer Mobeen Ansari.

On the launch of the book, CEO Markings Publishing, Kiran Aman said: White in the Flag is a small step on our part towards developing a level of understanding about and exposure to the diverse religious minority communities in Pakistan. Our hope through the publishing of this book is to help facilitate wider exposure, collaboration and cooperation within the nation along all. We believe strongly in the nurturing of an inclusive culture which highlights and supports the beauty of diversity in Pakistan now in its 70th year, and the fostering of an environment that encourages and recognises with equality our minority communities. The strength of our nation depends on it.”

Published by Markings, all photography for ‘White in the Flag’ is done by Mobeen Ansari himself with book layout and design by Samia Fatima and text editing by Raisa Vayani at Markings. The book will be available at Liberty Books outlets across Pakistan, Book Mark and online at www.kitabain.com for PKR 3,000 from 3rd August 2017 and onwards.