Ajrak, from Mohenjo Daro’s priest to Sindh Festival
KARACHI: “Jiye Sindh jiye Sindh wara jiyan, Ajrak Topi wara jiyan,” a recorded song by Ahmed Mughal was the day’s pick as Karachiites moved to a destination with a diverse array of traditional and cultural crafts, cuisine and entertainment – Bagh Ibne Qasim.
Sindh Festival protecting and promoting culture and traditions of Sindh, is being held here along with other parts in the province since February 1. The festival is scheduled to conclude on February 15. Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has organised the event to shed light on Sindh`s culture.
Scores of people on Tuesday converged at Bagh Ibne Qasim to attend the fifth day of the festival. However for many it was an opportunity to purchase traditional items. Most people, who visited the stalls, had never seen such verity of traditional items.
Among others, Abdul Qayyum Soomro has set up a stall, showcasing varieties of Ajrak. Special designs and patterns created via woodblock printing technique have been put on display.
Kashi, Kakar Wari Ajrak, Naar Ji Ajrak, Dabli wari, Taidi, Hansho Wall are the main verities of Ajrak. Today in Sindh Ajraks are made mainly in Bhitt Shah, Tando Adam, Tando Mohammad Khan, Matli and Sukkur.
Block printing is the original form of Ajrak making. According to Qayyum, these shawls display different special designs and patterns. Soomro who belongs to Goth Molay Dino Sehto, Mitiari was of the view that prices vary, as qualities are different.
Prices of Kakar Wari Ajrak and Kashi are near Rs 3,500 per piece. You can buy Naar Ji Ajrak at around Rs 1,200 per piece.
Inflation is one word that may have adverse effect on the buying of Ajrak, Qayyum shares. There was a time when Ajrak was gifted in marriages to elders of the families. However through the passage of time it has reduced to being presented to the groom only.
History: Ajrak is a block printed shawl in Sindh, Pakistan; Kutch, Gujarat; and Barmer, Rajasthan in India. The shawls display special designs and patterns made using block printing stamps of wood. Common colours used while making these patterns may include but are not limited to blue, red, black, yellow and green. Over the years, ajrak have become a symbol of Sindhi culture and traditions.