Lok Virsa creating mini-Cholistan in Islamabad
By Jamal Shahid
ISLAMABAD: Connecting Islamabad with distant local cultures Lok Virsa was currently in the process of creating an enlightening diorama on Cholistan in the Heritage Museum.
Under Joint Institutional Cultural Cooperation Programme between Pakistan and Norway, this diorama will portray the desert of Cholistan with all its life, costumes, rituals and ceremonies of its people.
The work was in full swing and expected to complete within the next two months, said the Executive Director, Lok Virsa, Khalid Javaid, here on Wednesday.
Lok Virsa had established a unique museum of its kind, the Heritage Museum, the first state museum of ethnology in Pakistan depicting living cultural traditions and lifestyles of the people. The ethnicity, indigenous cultures, rituals connected to every corner of the country had been artistically presented in the museum through three-dimensional cultural dioramas and visual displays.
“Cholistan desert, also locally known as Rohi, sprawls thirty kilometers from Bahawalpur and covers an area of 16,000 kilometers. It adjoins the Thar Desert extending over to Sindh. The word Cholistan is derived from the Turkish word Chol, which means desert. Cholistan thus means Land of the Desert,” elaborated the executive director.
Located in central Indus plain area, well connected by the road and railway network to the rest of the country, the area offered a beauty of its own kind, he said.
The diorama would include impressions of the nomadic people of the desert, home to the Derawar Fort, roaming here and there in search of water in summer — the most delightful aspect of Cholistan, its bird life that abound in the desert, pigeons, peacocks, crows, mynas and larks, etc.
Depicting lives of snake charmers (Jogis) who traveled through the vastness of this lovely desert and women in Cholistan mostly working in houses, however sometimes in the fields too, the diorama would capture glimpses of different stitched products — bed-spread, sheets, pillow covers, etc.
“Usually the handicrafts created by these women are so beautiful that buyers feel guilty to use them for the actual purposes they are designed and instead make them into decorations — framed rugs and wall hangings,” he said as he explained the design concept of the museum.