Sindh Festival 2014: Celebrating hope and civilisation

Published: February 2, 2014


PHOTO: SINDH FESTIVAL FACEBOOK PAGE Workers busy in preparations for Sindh Festival at Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim in Karachi on Saturday. PHOTO: ONLINE

It’s a party…it’s a concert…no, it’s the Sindh Festival 2014!

The celebrations have officially begun as contemporary trends and history were exquisitely fused at the inaugural ceremony of the Sindh Festival at Moen jo Daro. The ruins of the Indus Valley civilisation were transformed into a gorgeous, tinselled venue – a manifestation of the rich heritage it hoped to represent.

Spearheaded by the Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the two-week festival is part of a campaign to conserve the heritage of his home province of Sindh.

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Instead of dusty plains, Moen jo Daro was a palette of red, green and purple hues. A large wooden and steel scaffolding formed the grand stage, which was decorated like an ancient kingdom. But the cynosure was the stupa, luminescent and majestic.

“This is the first time in the country’s history that we pulled off an event of such importance at such an important site,” Bilawal said when he came up on stage to thank the artists and all those who made the event possible.

Clad in a black sherwani with an ajrak pocket square, he arrived on Saturday in a caravan of four vehicles. It was reported that he had been visiting the site daily for the past couple of days to ensure the arrangements were impeccable. Tents, poles and other material were removed and rearranged a couple of times as they were dug up in the relics or in the area that comes under the heritage site.

But in the end, Moen jo Daro looked even more beautiful than the Mohatta Palace in Karachi.

And the show had it all. From a star-studded line-up of events – a laser presentation of 3D animations, LED dances, concerts and a fashion show – to gentry of the political cream of the province, the event was a celebration of “hope and civilisation”.

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Humaima Malik and Shehryar Siddiqui hosted the night, describing the festival as a cultural ‘coup’ as opposed to the “vultural” coup imposed by military dictators. “Superman is fictional, but the Sindhi man is a fact that has sustained for 5,000 years,” they said, referring to the logo of the Sindh Festival.

The dazzling night kicked off with short dance performances featuring a fashion show, followed by a multimedia presentation illustrating the history of this region, particularly the Aryan invasion.

The laser presentation by Laseronix, who created a 3D review of Sindh’s history, through 3D animation wowed the crowd. Laser forms of the Indus dolphins, Sindhi farmers, the Lansdowne Bridge linking Sukkur and Rohri as well as other cultural elements floated and flashed over the stage.

Artists and bands, who are known for creating socially relevant music, such as the Beygairat Brigade, Ali Gul Pir and Azal performed songs especially composed for the festival, apart from their hits. Ali Gul Pir sang “Super Saeen”, written exclusively for the Sindh Festival, and he also tweaked his hit, “Waderai ka Beta” to “Pakistan ka Beta” for the show.

A number of foreign visitors, some wearing traditional Sindhi Ajrak outfits, were also seen among the approximately 1,000 guests.

To summarise, Sharmila Farooqi said, “Today we made a statement by cerebrating the true essence and diversity of Sindh in a very engaging and entertaining manner.”

As the show ended, Fakhr-e-Alam, who is the coordinator of the entire festival, said, “This was a landmark event in the history of Pakistan. The grandeur and immensity of this is a testimony to what is to come in the next 15 days. This is just a teaser.”

However, he admitted that the real challenge is to pull off the entire festival “with equal grace and precision”. “I am thankful to the more than 500 people who have worked day and night to make this dream into a reality.” And that is when the fireworks began, drawing the night to a close.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 2nd, 2014.

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Reader Comments (20)

  • Tamiz ud din
    Feb 2, 2014 - 11:07AM

    It was more of BBZardari “Cultural Coup” with his English friends and party stalwarts and beautiful aunties on poor people money. This is the fedual mantality which should be curb. What a show of politics of heredity. I am feeling ashamed because the culture shown by him is not in consonant with our national culture because Pakistani Culture takes aspirations from the Islam with the tinge of local traditions.Recommend

  • Qasim
    Feb 2, 2014 - 11:13AM

    Who pays for that Festival which was entertaining 1000 exclusive families of elite.

    For Tax payer money they should not use for own entertainment


  • Pakistani
    Feb 2, 2014 - 12:03PM

    It could have been held anywhere in interior Sindh, as the whole of Interior Sindh looks like Moen jo Daro.
    Peoples Party won’t wake up to the misery of the poor people…it is about time the people should wake up.


  • Aysha M
    Feb 2, 2014 - 12:04PM

    Is Sindh a birthday present for Baby Bilawal from his father?


  • Aschraful Makhlooq
    Feb 2, 2014 - 12:13PM

    Festival belongs to Sindh and how shamefully and shamelessly monogram belongs to Hollywood’s hit movie Superman and this definitely proves that how much we are impressed by Western culture and Hollywood’s hit movies’ monograms.This is the commencement and demonstration of Sindh’s culture’s ceremony inaugurated by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on the expenditures of Pakistani poor people’s money.Why Zardari or PPP didn’t pay the expenditures of this Sindh festival from his or its own pockets?????Recommend

  • AK
    Feb 2, 2014 - 12:40PM

    Can’t they create their own logo instead of trying to justify use of this logo??? using this kind of logo in individual capacity might not look bad but officially at government level, this is really very bad.


  • Ali S
    Feb 2, 2014 - 1:13PM

    Even though I agree that Bilawal or the PPP won’t cut any political teeth on a song-and-dance show when there are far more serious issues on hand, I don’t get what the hate is all about. It’s still more productive than yelling for the inevitably futile ‘peace talks’ on the top of your lungs like every other sheep on TV.

    Yes, the festival would be better located a few hundred feet away from the main historical site, but it’s not like anyone gave a damn about Mohenjodaro before this for a long time, so I guess at least the awareness this is creating about Mohenjodaro (even if it’s negative publicity) is a good thing.

    By the way, I am not even remotely a PPP supporter.


  • Tariq
    Feb 2, 2014 - 1:23PM

    Did somebody notices the official logo of the so called cultural festival is a copy of Famous “Superman” logo. Isn’t a violation and act of infringement of rights. The organizers cannot think of their own a decent logo for this pathetic stunt.


  • ashar
    Feb 2, 2014 - 2:45PM

    Moen jo daro means mound of the dead.
    Its cheapness to use superman sign for sindhi.


  • Narejo
    Feb 2, 2014 - 2:50PM

    Goodness gracious. So much negativity around. shakes head I, for one, enjoyed the inauguration ceremony. At least it offered something positive for a change.


  • Rasikh
    Feb 2, 2014 - 2:54PM

    With the amount of money in Swiss banks, I wouldnt be surprised to know if Bilawal is paying DC Comics for right to use the Superman shield..


  • Valkeriye
    Feb 2, 2014 - 5:09PM

    Bread and circus. PMLNs bread and PPPs circus.


  • Feb 2, 2014 - 5:40PM

    Calling Marvel Comics- There’s an infringement of your copyright logo..


  • Feb 2, 2014 - 5:41PM

    Calling DC Comics- There’s an infringement of your copyright logo..


  • skhan
    Feb 2, 2014 - 8:27PM

    I don’t understand what is all about vast of money to show off thier western friends or poor answer to Punjab festival.
    Please if u really care about Pakistan do something about poverty,corruption in general and in ppp.please take ride by yourself and look around.people does not need festival they need food,jobs,justice …and list goes on.Please


  • Takoo
    Feb 2, 2014 - 9:14PM

    LOL @ Stolen Super Man logo


    Feb 3, 2014 - 11:19AM

    The Sindh Festival at Moen-jo-Daro is a recreational initiative taken by Bilawal Bhutto by the influence of the Spiritual Powers who wanted to highlight the 5000 years old civilization. The Sindh Govt. never does anything for the prosperity of people but Mr. Bilawal’s intention and thought reflect the youth and their mind-set. The festival has been arranged at cost of Sindh Govt. official treasure which should ony be criticized. But people are criticizng the festival at Moen-jo-DAro which is absolutely not required as the ruins are highlighted first time in the history of Sindh and spiritual Powers are well aware of this phenomenon.


  • Muhammad Saim
    Feb 3, 2014 - 1:41PM

    May I ask the organizers, who is bearing the cost of all the festivities, Tax payers, right….

    and who mandated Govt. of Sind to spend millions on personal projection of Bilawal.

    The amount being wasted in the name of culture could have been spent on lot more important social issues, mind and mend the present rather than celebrating thousands of years in past.


  • Aschraful Makhlooq
    Feb 4, 2014 - 11:34AM

    @Aysha M:
    @Tamiz ud din:

    Pakistani people are made for fulfilling the expenditures of in-office leaders’ luxuries and also out of office judges,bureaucrats and politicians as well this is why Pakistan is called the golden sparrow and land of opportunities for the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats…….


  • Feb 9, 2014 - 10:03PM

    Pure criminality in every aspect. Irresponsible and stupid


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