Chief Editor: Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

Hundreds throng to Lok Mela on Sunday to see culture at its best



ISLAMABAD, NOV 17 (DNA) – The folk festival of Pakistan “Lok Mela” organized by Lok Virsa is now becoming the talk of the town, as more and more people keep pouring in to witness the event with all its festivities.

All provinces and regions – Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir – have set up their pavilions presenting indigenous folk music, songs, dances and traditional cuisine peculiar to their respective areas at the aesthetically designed colourful pavilions.

Many stalls have been allocated to female artisans, which show the participation of women in the economic process of the country.

Craftswoman Aziz Fatima is demonstrating her work at Balochistan Pavilion. She practices Balochi embroidery and has carried on this centuries’ old tradition from her mother and devoted many years of her life to this profession.

She stands out not only for her excellence but also in her tireless propagation of this art by imparting it to the future generations. She has trained a number of girls in her locality, thus trying to ensure continuity of this tradition.

Farhat Bibi from D.I. Khan is the master artisan of wood lacquer work. The word ‘lack’, `lac`, `leca’ or `laksha’ in different languages is significantly derived from the Persian word `lac’ or Hindi word `lakh’ meaning a hundred thousand.

It indicates the multitudes of insects required to produce `lac’. Locally, it is called `jundri’ or `jandi ka kaam’ which forms an intrinsic part of three provinces of Pakistan, involves the process of applying layers of `lac’ in different colours on wood, while the material is rotated on a simple wooden lathe machine. Patterns are etched with the help of thick iron needle on the surface, exposing each colour according to the requirements of traditional patterns.

Female artisan Pari Bibi from Badin, Sindh weaves `Farasi’ (traditional rug). She is a 74-year old artisan having expertise in the art of weaving since her childhood.

Craftswomen Sultana and Shamim Bano from Karaimabad, Hunza are also seen actively demonstrating their workmanship in Hunza embroidery and carpet work at GB pavilion set up in front of Anarkali façade of Lok Virsa Heritage Museum.

Ameer Bukhsh is an artisan in natural dyes from Kahror Pacca, Punjab. The ancient art of wooden block making has its centres in the lower Indus valley encompassing southern Punjab and all of Sindh. He has not only trained his family members but also imparted training to many artisans in crafts of textile.

Muhammad Riaz is an expert in lacquer art (Silanwali style). Belonging to a famous family of lacquer work, Riaz keeps alive the art of his forefathers. The technique of `Silanwali’ is altogether different from other areas where lacquer is practiced and therefore need a lot of hard work and dedication to continue this traditional art.

It would be difficult for the visitors to visit the KP pavilion and not taste `chappal kababs’ being prepared before their eyes. The aroma of the food becomes tempting and irresistible and you cannot help but settle down for a portion or two of this delicacy.

The pavilion also offers other varieties of mouthwatering traditional food like `patta seek’ and `lamb karahi’ all washed down with a cup of `qehwa’ (green tea) with a hint of cardamom being brewed in `samavar’ at Qehwa Khana.

In close proximity, a `hujra’ has created wherein musicians are presenting folk Pushto music `Tank Takor’ whilst playing traditional musical instruments like `rabab’, tabla and harmonium.

Lok Mela will continue with all its colours and festivities till Sunday, 24th November 2019. =DNA

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