Qissa Khawani festival concludes: Pashtun culture imbued into a new generation

Four-day event included a crafts bazaar, food court and musical performances

Our Correspondent September 20, 2015
The festival also hosted rounds of a rubab contest starting in Peshawar and concluding in Islamabad. PHOTOS: EXPRESS


The four-day Qissa Khawani Bazaar Festival concluded here at Shakarparian after showcasing the rich culture and traditions of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).

The event was organised by the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa) in collaboration with K-P’s directorate of culture.

The festival featured a recreation of the historic Qissa Khawani Bazaar, and included a crafts bazaar, food court, Pashto musical and dance performances and many other attractions.

The major objective of the festival was to promote national harmony and integration by reviving the old traditions of the bazaar and its activities.

The inaugural ceremony for the festival was held last Thursday. Kadim Hussain, a renowned cultural scholar and member of Lok Virsa’s board of governors, was the chief guest at the event.

To mark the festival, Lok Virsa also launched ‘The Bazaar of the Storytellers’, a book by Wilma Heston and Mumtaz Nasir. The book includes stories depicting Pukhtun life and culture, as presented by their own singers.

The festival also hosted rounds of a rubab contest starting in Peshawar and concluding in Islamabad. The grand finale of the contest took place on Friday, when 15 contestants competed for the top prize. The contest was judged by master musicians Ustad Ghulab Afridi, Ustad Nazir Gul and Ustad Sabz Ali.

Celebrated Pashto artists Nabeela Wadood, Bukhtiar Khattak, Shahid Ali Khan and Abasin Yousufzai performed live at the competition.

Muhammad Azam, secretary information, broadcasting and national heritage and Amjad Khan Afridi, adviser to chief minister K-P for culture, sports and tourism, presented awards to the winning rubab players.

Hundreds of people from different walks of life attended the festival.

“I am glad this has happened. This is the first event of its kind in the federal capital. We have done our best to recreate the ambiance of the Qissa Khawani bazaar, so the audience can experience the cultural heritage of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa,” said Lok Virsa Executive Director Dr Fouzia Saeed.

She also underscored the importance of passing our shared tradition and heritage to new generation. It is necessary to document such stories to show our youth the real essence of our pluralistic past, she said.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st,  2015.


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