Amid the infusion of rich colour, traditional beats and tantalising aroma of barbeque, the annual Lok Mela opened at Lok Virsa here on Friday. Families from the twin cities came in droves to attend the opening day of the 10-day festival and enjoy the spice of culture.
The festival will directly benefit craftspeople, folk artists, musicians and folk performers who are participating, said Ministry of National Heritage and Integration Federal Secretary Asaf Ghafoor. He said that the event was a true depiction of the country. The festival serves to disseminate the dynamic creativity of our countryside and gives rural folk a pride in their identity, he added.
More than 500 artisans and artists from different parts have come together for the festival.
The festival features an artisans-at-work exhibition, provincial cultural pavilions, folk songs and dance ensembles, rural musicians, cultural evenings, promotional stalls by public organizations and NGOs, general assembly of craftspeople, a craft bazaar, traditional food cuisine and activities for children.
A chadar poshi of Nasim Sultan, a master artisan of Hermuch stitching from Sindh was also a part of the event, which the chief guest performed by placing a chadar on her shoulder.
Visitors were later seen mingling along the stalls, browsing through various arts and crafts up for purchase. The stall of truck art from Rawalpindi seemed to entice many, as girls purchased jewellery boxes and painted lanterns. Men’s khusas and kheris from Multan and dyed three-piece suits from Bahawalpur were also being sold like hot cakes.
A foreigner had amassed quite a collection. When asked what she liked most from her bags full of purchases, she said, “The blue clay pottery along with the wooden jewellery boxes.”
Clad in lively outfits, the bhangra dancers in their dhotis along with the musicians holding up their instruments were seen posing for pictures and videos while visitors stood with them.
“It is important to stay true to your roots, I’m not ashamed of my rural clothes and I wear them with pride,” said one of the Bhangra dancers as he fixed his turban.
The performers were Raza Alan from Sindh, Saleh Baloch from Balochistan, Qurban Niazi and Sain Mushtaq from Punjab and Javed Khan from Gilgit- Baltistan. They performed traditional folk dances and songs which had the crowd clapping while some were seen swaying to the beat on their seats.
The festival will continue till April 15.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2012.
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