ISLAMABAD: There was something distinctly unique about Lok Virsa’s aura on Friday. With cultural music playing in the background and provincial artists dancing, the atmosphere boasted a fragrance of delicious Seekh kebabs and Kashmiri tea as 500 artisans and vendors gathered to showcase true cultural diversity. This was the essence of celebratory vibe at the opening of Lok Mela, a 10-day cultural festival.
Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Senator Pervaiz Rashid, who was chief guest at the event, said that Pakistan has a very rich and diverse culture. “People living in each province and region proudly practice their indigenous folk culture. Lok Mela is a true depiction of rural Pakistan,” he said.
The festival reinforced national harmony and integration by promoting cultural heritage through active participation of all provincial governments, master artisans, and folk artists, performers and musicians, he added.
Lok Virsa Executive Director Dr Fauzia Saeed assured all participants a very warm welcome in Islamabad during the time. “Our focus is on promotion of our folk cultures and inculcating them in lives of people as means of rejuvenating our pride in who we are as a nation,” she said.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Shamim Rabnawaz, a chunri vendor from Bahawalpur, said that it was an experience in itself to work for months to create material for the festival and showcase it in Islamabad. A little discouraged as she was from the response, she mentioned that day one has been really low in terms of sales but she hopes upcoming days will be better.
Ali Haider Lohar, a young chimta player from Punjab said it was a great opportunity to travel to federal capital and perform in front of masses. “So many people are here from Islamabad and surrounding areas and it is very encouraging for a young artist to perform and interact with them,” he said.
The entire vicinity was decorated with stalls of artwork, traditional clothes, footwear, jewellery, rugs, baskets, wooden items, wall hangings, bells and other decoration items and even food items like healthy and organic food and dry fruits. The festival seems like a perfect amalgamation of provincial cultures giving a great opportunity to skilled artisans to showcase their talent.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2016.
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