Cultural events attract crowd -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Cultural events attract crowd

By: Nabeel Anwar Dhakku

CHAKWAL: Due to pleasant weather on Eid, the oldest village of Chakwal —also the cultural hub of the district — was packed with motorbikes, cars, passengers vans, tractors and trucks.

Everyone headed towards a ground located outside the village where one of the most desired and most famous cultural events of Chakwal district was being held. The show is called Chhat. Chhat is a game in which two young men lift heavy sacks of wheat in which weights of iron are included, making the sacks heavy: weighing almost 400kg.

The other famous three cultural events held in Chakwal district are Karah (bulls’ show), Dhol Geet (folk songs) and Kabaddi (combination of wrestling and running). These three events were in full swing but Chhat is unfortunately on the wane as it was held on Tuesday after three years.

So the contest was anxiously awaited by the people of Chakwal particularly by the rural folk.

Thus, the Tuesday show attracted a big crowd and the ground was packed with spectators. As two young men landed in the arena, the crowd welcomed them with cheers and slogans. The whole area reverberated with sounds of firecrackers and drumbeats.

Mazhar Hussain and Tauqeer Hussain — main participants of Chhat — came with full preparation and passion.

The event started with prayers, after prayers, Mazhar Hussain, the leading Chhati (weight lifter) went to the loud speaker where he delivered a passionate speech in which he called his rival Dr Khursheed to contest with him. “O Dr Khursheed, three years ago, I defeated you at this very ground and you asked me that you would take revenge very soon. Now three years have passed and I’m fed-up waiting for you. Now I’m again in the arena. Be brave and don’t turn your back towards me, rather show me your
chest.”

The crowd cheered as Mazhar defied his arch rival. “I have sent you letters many times for giving me the date of the contest but you always replied ‘I’m busy’ and do not have the time for the competition. Then I went to your house, where you promised that you would contest within three months but even after five months you did not move”, Mazhar shouted.

His arch rival Dr Khursheed did not turn up despite repeated calls. Then Mazhar laid the challenge open for every one saying that anybody who has the courage can lift my Chhat but nobody dared to lift it. As Mazhar and his friend Tauqeer lifted the Chhat, there was pin drop silence. Suddenly Mazhar screamed as to his friend Tauqeer, “Laddi gai aey” (it has been lifted).

And the Chhat was successfully thrown at the other side from the back of the horse. The crowd and the two Chhatis began dancing in excitement. Later talking to Dawn, a joyous Mazhar said that the Chhat is on the wane in the district due to the indifferent behaviour of the people towards the game.

“This is a healthy activity which not only provides entertainment to the people but also keeps the youth immune from indulging in bad habits”, he maintained. A Chhati lifter eats lots of food. 5kg milk, half kg meat, 250gm of desi ghee, twenty almonds and one kg fruits and exercise is a must.

Dawn