HYDERABAD: Hyderabad city is parched for recreational facilities despite the river flowing through it, its famed breezy evenings and proximity to mountain ranges and heritage sites. To provide a breath of fresh air to its residents, the district administration organised a three-day family festival, with musical evenings, mushairas, flower shows, kite flying and more.
“In view of the prevailing stressful situation, we have organised this festival to provide a source enjoyment to the people,” said Hyderabad commissioner Asif Hyder Shah, whose administration reportedly spent Rs5 million on the arrangements.
The event, held after six or seven years, concluded on Sunday evening and attracted so many people that there was an episode of baton-charge on the crowd.
“It felt as if the heavens opened in an otherwise arid piece of land,” said Zareena Khalid, a school teacher, who visited the festival with her husband and children. Her children, she said, had been bored to have only Rani Bagh — a compound with a zoo, amusement park and an open-air theatre — as the only source of amusement. “This is a city of millions of people. We ought to have more [such] places.”
The organisers had arranged musical nights at the theatre but had reserved the function for a selected audience. There was a large projector screen that showed the concert to the rest of the festival crowd.
The residents enjoyed performances by regional and sufi singers, such as Shazia Khushk, Sanam Marvi, Ahmed Mughal and Barkat Ali. The third night hosted pop singers Hadiqa Kayani, Ahmed Jahanzeb and Naeem Abbas Rufi. According to Radio Pakistan director Naseer Mirza, they invited a variety of singers from various genres to ensure that all sorts of music lovers enjoy these nights.
“The musical nights turned out to be really entertaining and strictly reserved for the families,” said Shumaila Wahab, a medical student, who attended two of the three nights with her friends. “We had a mesmerising time. Hope more concerts take place in Hyderabad with greater frequency.”
The show also provided a temporary impetus to the nursery owners confronted with a dwindling business. “Though the population has increased by leaps and bounds, the size of houses and interest in growing plants and flowers has correspondingly declined,” said Bhoora Maseeh, who sat at the Bhitai Nursery’s camp in the show, telling visitors about the hundreds of plants and flowers that were kept on display.
According to Maseeh, who has been in the profession for the last three decades, such events help explain the people about different techniques of growing plants in their homes. “After the two flower shows in Hyderabad some seven and eight years ago, our sales suddenly jumped manifold for a few weeks,” he said. “These shows can revive the interest that I saw until the 1990s.”
Nooruddin Baloch, a staff of the social forestry department, believed that though people are drawn to the dazzling colours of plants and flowers, most of them turn away when they come to know about requirements for growing them. “Nevertheless, there are still some shrubs and flowers that can be grown even in apartments,” he said. “The need is for people to develop an interest, know the benefits and gain knowledge of such things.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 25th, 2015.
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