Reviving storytelling: Qissa Khawani Bazaar comes to the capital

Festival showcases different facets of Pakhtun life and culture


The festival aims at reviving and promoting the old tradition of storytelling and its related activities, including the various facets of life and culture from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. PHOTOS: HUMA CHOUDHARY/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: A four-day festival on Peshawar’s famous Qissa Khawani Bazaar kicked off at the Lok Virsa on Thursday with the launch of a book “The Bazaar of the Story Tellers”.

The stories included in the book written by Wilma Heston and Mumtaz Nasir, were for the most part chosen to depict the Pakhtuns and their life and culture as presented by their own singers.

The present edition of the book contains narratives and stories of the Pakhtun society which have been rendered orally by storytellers.

The festival aims at reviving and promoting the old tradition of storytelling and its related activities the various facets of life and culture of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa through exhibition of crafts and cousins, musical performances and screening of classic film ‘Yousuf Khan Sher Bano’.

Lok Virsa Executive Director Dr Fouzia Saeed, talking about the book, said “Bazaars such as these were prisms of diversity where colours of all sorts blended and developed appreciation and became the birthplace of new ideas”.

She underscored the importance of passing on tradition and heritage to new generation. It is absolutely necessary to document these stories to show our younger generation the real essence of our pluralistic past, she said.

It is all the more significant to create awareness in the new generation that all languages spoken in the country are “our languages”. Our rich multifaceted traditions, dress, food and custom are actually the prime source and fountain head of the Pakistani culture, which we all need to strengthen, she stressed.

Saeed further stated that Lok Virsa has been engaged in this commendable job for the last three decades. However, there is a need to integrate our strategy with the trends and techniques of the present times in the larger interest of promoting this treasure.

The festival will continue till Sunday, September 20, 2015.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 19th, 2015.

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