Cultural 'coup' begins: All eyes on Moen Jo Daro today

Published: February 1, 2014
The inauguration ceremony of 15-day festival to celebrate Sindhi culture starts tonight. PHOTO: APP

The inauguration ceremony of 15-day festival to celebrate Sindhi culture starts tonight. PHOTO: APP

The inauguration ceremony of 15-day festival to celebrate Sindhi culture starts tonight. PHOTO: APP The inauguration ceremony of 15-day festival to celebrate Sindhi culture starts tonight. PHOTO: APP

The enthusiasm of the organisers of the Sindh Festival 2014 has not been dampened by the recent controversies surrounding the choice of location for the inauguration ceremony. The 15-day festival will start as scheduled tonight at the historical site of Moen Jo Daro.

From sweepers, carpenters, to electricians and lighting crews, everyone is on their toes for the big day or what Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has termed a ‘cultural coup’. The festival is a brainchild of Pakistan Peoples Party patron-in-chief Bilawal.

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“I am under a lot of stress,” admitted a rather exhausted Fakhr-e-Alam, one of the organisers. “After all, presenting the essence of Moen Jo Daro so many years after it has turned into a ruin takes a lot of effort.” For Alam, the inauguration ceremony is all about recreating the Indus Valley Civilisation through the ages and retelling the story of Sindh in the most engaging and educating manner.

Various kinds of lights and other luminescent devices are being incorporated to give an added dimension to the site so that it becomes more of an audio visual experience. “It will definitely be the most spectacular audio visual experience where people will get to feel the essence of our soil,” exclaimed Sharmila Faruqi, a cultural adviser to the chief minister.

Faruqi is most excited about the live performance by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan tonight but the rest of the line up of artists is no less than an episode of Coke Studio. There will be no speeches, only music by maestros, such as Saeen Zahoor, Fariha Pervez, Fuzon , Azal and Ali Gul Pir to name a few.

“I am honoured to perform at the opening ceremony being held at the cradle of our civilisation,” claimed Pir. “This makes it a unique performance and at the same time it gives me an opportunity to be a proud Sindhi and more so a Pakistani.”

Shallum Xavier, the guitarist of Fuzon, welcomed the idea of engaging pop-rock musicians in festivals that generally cater to folk and traditional music only. “This shouldn’t be a one-off event,” he said. “It will only help the artists if it becomes or sets a trend.”

The entire set-up of the show is being done by ‘Team NJ’, the company that has also previously done the set-up for Lux Style Awards. However, the highlight of evening will be a laser presentation by ‘Laseronix’ – a foreign laser presentation company known for doing laser presentation shows at various heritage sites, including The Pyramids of Egypt.

Moen Jo Daro to be kept intact, assures govt

The organisers of the Sindh Festival and the provincial government are taking all necessary precautions in order to ensure that the integrity of the Moen Jo Daro ruins remain intact, according to its organisers. The Unesco World Heritage site is the location of the opening ceremony scheduled for February 1 of the first Sindh Festival.

“We are grateful for the concern that has been shown on social media about protecting Moen Jo Daro,” said Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the festival founder and Pakistan Peoples Party’s patron-in-chief.

“We share their concern and have taken extraordinary and failsafe measures to protect this heritage site from any possible harm or damage.”

Sindh Archaeology Department Director Qasim Ali Qasim showed Bilawal around Moen Jo Daro to ensure that the construction work remained in compliance with international preservation standards.
“The stage and the seatings are not being installed on the ruins,” said Sharmila Faruqi, who is the adviser on culture to the Sindh chief minister.

“Preparations for the opening ceremony are being undertaken with all
due care and we are abiding by the advice of well-reputed conservationists, who we have consulted on the matter.”

When the precautionary measures were explained to Ali Gul Metlo, one of the original signatories of the letter of complaint sent to UNESCO, he said that he was “satisfied that all appropriate and necessary precautions are being taken” and added that he was happy to withdraw his complaint.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 1st, 2014.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Stellar
    Feb 1, 2014 - 2:07AM

    The lights look hideous and cheap and certainly out of place. Soon the site will be trampled with many thousand people and chances of some destruction is certainly there.
    Why in the middle of the ruins. You gets the best view when you are at a good get the best perspective. The event should have been held a few hundred meters from the moen jo daro and the visitors should be taken around makes more sense.


  • Sam
    Feb 1, 2014 - 2:18AM

    Nice try present the less then 1% image of the country. Enjoy!


  • chimgaadarr
    Feb 1, 2014 - 3:03AM

    Lies only …


  • ProgressiveSindhi
    Feb 1, 2014 - 3:47AM

    Great work guys, you highlighted moen jo daro and Sindhi culture but Sindhi culture’s essence is its Folk music,Sufi songs, Sindhi classics and country songs. Above all, a Sindhi language. All is missing in this opening ceremony. Had it been the part of this starting night, it would have sent a glorious message to gross roots that their culture is being revived. Atleast funsion of Shahki and Allan Fakir kind music too had sent good message. On contrary, in the name of revival, popular pop and western music is only on chart, and it seems this culture revival is cultural coup against local culture, musicians and singers. Only elite and urban upper class audience is being targeted with this kind of music. RIP Moen jo Daro and Sindhi Culture.


  • qasim
    Feb 1, 2014 - 4:35AM

    Nothing worse than a wealthy welpRecommend

  • Asif
    Feb 1, 2014 - 5:54AM

    Congrats to all organizers! Its time to get united and celebrate our various cultures. Live and let live and enjoy the life.


  • MyHeartSpeaks
    Feb 1, 2014 - 7:54AM

    …and this cultural event will take Pakistan to height of prosperity!!…


  • a&a
    Feb 1, 2014 - 8:11AM

    Pakistan khapay………….


  • Hataf Shahab
    Feb 1, 2014 - 9:02AM

    Its amazing how people with No Information are commenting on how hideous it looks and how many people will be coming.

    First of all the above lighting is a test run to see that ALL lights are exactly working. So its gonna be alternative lightings etc.

    Secondly you are so ill informed that you donr know the area has been given limited acess and no one is allowed to enter the ruins.

    Thirdly and most importantly you should be given a medal for have no idea as to how many people are coming to this particular launching. Few hundreds are coming. The number doesnt go beyond 600/700 hundred and certainly not beyond 1000 at all.

    I hope you visit the Sindh Festival facebook page for more clarification.Recommend

  • Muhammad
    Feb 1, 2014 - 9:46AM

    This reminds me of the last Shah of Iran’s party in Persepolis. The party that outraged Iranians and started the Iranian Revolution.

    I pray Mohenjadaro survives. Please.


  • Truther
    Feb 1, 2014 - 10:20AM

    Could the daring “superman” retrieve us Pakistanis Rs. 8 trillion which were gotten in shape of loans on this country 2008 to 2013 and no one know where they went to. Those Rs. 8 trillion are more than enough to change the destiny of the people and country


  • Feb 1, 2014 - 11:02AM

    Cultural coup or cultural disaster? The Moen Jo Daro ruins should be protected continuously and not in bursts and spurts. This is nothing but wasting of time, money, and energy. Salams


  • Truther
    Feb 1, 2014 - 11:16AM

    @Stellar: what else could u expect from minds that proudly steal a world famous logo


  • Mirza
    Feb 1, 2014 - 11:34AM

    It is about time we should value thousands of years old Indus valley civilization. It was thriving well before we were Bakistan.


  • Sumbal
    Feb 1, 2014 - 12:11PM

    Money can buy everything now.. money can turn u leader. The only thing one need in Pak.
    Any excuse to get publicity and wriggle off the hook, by aheer public parallel to not paying any tax in Pak. Lock him up for a couple of years, he’ll be changed and knew all wrong things as Pakistani politicain famous.


  • Jafri
    Feb 1, 2014 - 2:47PM

    Dear Bilawal,
    The people of interior Sindh are dying of hunger, they have no jobs, no education and no hope for a better future. You have taken out a budget of Rs.350 million for this festival. I wish you had spent that money on more important things to literally save you’re people. Please stay in London and never reproduce.


  • cup
    Feb 1, 2014 - 5:18PM

    your comment has made my entire day, week, month and year! Recommend

  • Jamal Laguari
    Feb 1, 2014 - 7:56PM

    Sheer waste of Tax payer moneyRecommend

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