ISLAMABAD: The mega cultural event of Pakistan popularly called Lok Mela kicked off on Friday at Shakarparian.
The festival is being organised by the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa), National History and Literary Heritage Division in collaboration with all provincial culture departments.
The 10-day festival aims at promoting, perpetuating and preserving arts, crafts, culture, folk music and traditional skills of Pakistan. This unique event has now become a symbol of the federation’s recognition and patronage of rich cultural diversity and the active participation of the people.
The central focus of Lok Mela is rural Pakistan. The direct beneficiaries are artisans, folk artists, folk musicians and other performers from rural areas and remote regions. It disseminates the dynamic creativity of the countryside and gives people pride in their identity.
Preparations for annual Lok Mela finalised
The mela also places special emphasis on creating provincial harmony and national integration. Around 500 artisans and folk artists from all parts of the country are attending Lok Mela by bringing with them their creativity in arts, crafts and innovation. The festival promotes master artisans and folk artists by way of giving them a platform to demonstrate their skills. The festival also provides the opportunity to the craftspeople to sell their crafts without the involvement of the middleman.
The main event of Lok Mela is Dastarbandi and Chadarposhi ceremony which will take place on Tuesday. Minister for National History and Literary Heritage Shafqat Mahmood will present turban to a leading male folk artist and chador to a female artist at the ceremony which is a symbol of Lok Vira’s sustained campaign to keep the heritage of Pakistan alive and continuing.
Artisans-at-work sector remains the core around which the entire festival is built. It highlights the role of peace in crafts and features artisans exhibiting their skills in the process and product of crafts.
Cultural departments of all provinces, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir are putting up pavilions presenting their indigenous folk culture, artisans, artists and traditional cuisine as link nodes of the festival’s foundational grid.
Earlier, the Secretary National History and Literary Heritage Division, Dr Nadeem Shafique Malik performed ribbon-cutting in front of the lawn area and took a round of all provincial as well as Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan pavilion.
10-day Lok Mela starts today
Special attractions featuring folk singers, folk entertainers, puppet shows and other entertaining shows are being organised throughout the period of the festival. The display of traditional folk dances from all over Pakistan is held in the open air at intervals. Folk entertainers and rural musicians invited from all over the country are performing at the festival.
An exotic craft bazaar featuring score of tastefully decorated pavilions offering a variety of knick-knacks, antiques, craft items and cultural materials is also set up at the festival grounds.
Later in the evening, Lok Mela diversity show also showcased in open-air theatre where renowned folk musicians from different regions of Pakistan enthralled the audience with their mesmerising voice.
Folk musicians who performed in a diversity show include Muskan Noushahi from Punjab, Faiza from Sindh, Jangi Khan from Balochistan, Bashir Lohar from Punjab, Krishan Lal Bhel from Marvari, Dholi group Muhammad Zaman from Punjab and Gata Ghora dance party from Multan.
Traditional mouth-watering Pakistani traditional cuisines are also available at the venue of the festival for the next 10 days.
The festival will culminate with a colourful Award Ceremony scheduled to take place on the last day of the festival, Sunday, November 24, in which cash awards will be distributed among the most talented and deserving artisans recommended by a national jury.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2019.
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