Of ajrak and sufis: Sindh comes to life in the capital
The lawns of the National Press Club (NPC) were illuminated with colourful lights to celebrate Sindhi culture in particular and the diversity of Pakistani culture in general on Saturday night.
The event, organised by NPC and Indus Consortium Performers of Pakistan National Council of the Arts and students of the federal Urdu university, exhibited customs, cultures and traditions of Pakistan.
Besides, there was a musical treat as the festival featured performances by folk artists from Sindh and across the country. Ahmed Mughal, Marul-Sanwal group, Tahira Baloch, Sooraj Palijo, Faiza Fiaz and others mesmerised the audience with Sufi poetry of Shah Lateef Bhittai and other legendary lyricists of mystic poetry in their soothing voice. The musical performances of the artists led the audience to dance on mystic tunes.
Speaking on the occasion, deputy chairman of the Senate Sabir Baloch said national integration is to be viewed as a sea into which the diverse rivers of culture flow, adding that cultural integration can be achieved through reconciliation and mutual consensus of diverse groupings, religions and values.
“Unhindered access to arts, culture, film, music and Pakistan’s rich heritage, including our languages, is vital to preserving and evolving our national identity and helping to promote Pakistan’s image abroad,” Sabir added.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists President Afzal Butt said the National Culture Day will illuminate the intrinsic value of arts, creativity and our dynamic nation’s intellectual achievements. It will demonstrate how culture can expand and enhance an inclusive society, by providing avenues for expression for the people, he added.
National Press Club President Shahryar Khan said the objective of organising the event was to reinvigorate the national spirit, especially among the youth, by demonstrating colourful cultural patterns of our history.
Karachi Press Club President Imtiaz Faran said the culture is created by the people and defines them.
Hussain Jarwar, the national coordinator of Indus Consortium, presented a vision of a culture-led economy that was both proudly Pakistani and ‘open to the world’. He emphasised upon the contribution that cultural and creative industries can make to innovation and national productivity. “What we need to make sure is that Pakistani creativity thrives in the digitally enabled 21st century, by supporting innovation, the development of new creative content, knowledge and creative industries,” Hussain elaborated.
Naseer Memon of the Strengthening Participatory Organisation said the problem of integration is not unique to Pakistan, as a large number of emerging nations have faced similar issues. “The socio-economic development of Pakistan is dependent on its cultural unity and the ability to restrain an amazing diversity within itself,” he opined.
Ashok Lilani of Indus Consortium said the government should support diversity in Pakistan and ensure that people, whichever ethnicity they belong to, have a right to shape our cultural identity and its expression.