Sunday, April 11, 2010

Jashan-e-Baharan Festival an Fun Activity for Islamabad Resident

The entertainment-starved residents of Islamabad and Rawalpindi enjoyed a combination of tradition and fun-filled day out, thronging the two-day ‘Jashn-e-Baharan’ festival at the Arts and Craft Village. 

The visitors were welcomed by traditional Punjabi drum beaters at the entrance to the Village, adding colour to the event and cheering the twin cities’ residents for whom it was the first major event in the past few years, as the security situation prevented holding of such shows. 

The festival not only brought the city back to life but also underlined the contributions of the local artisans. According to the organisers, more than 15,000 people visited the event, jointly organised by Jang Group and Mass Comm Solutions, and shopped at a variety of stalls exhibiting exquisite stuff made by local artisans at much lesser rate than the market. 

“The same stuff is available in F-6 Super and Kohsar Markets at more than double the rate,” said Masroor Hussian, a pottery maker from Multan. “I wish the festival can be extended, as we have the biggest market of our products in the capital,” said Mushahid Hussain at the stall of ‘Gaba Sazi’ (embroidery on sheep wool). 

A total of 100 stalls were set up at the festival, with 58 showing the live work of artisans and 38 were of garments and jewellery, mostly made up locally with traditional stones. Adding to the flavour were around seven food stalls offering delicious food of different provinces and kiosks that are usually seen downtown. 

Female visitors thronged the stalls selling traditional dresses, most of them handmade, and it was quite encouraging that majority of the stall holders were those people, who are otherwise not able to open up their outlets anywhere in the capital city due to financial constraints. 

“There is a need to revive the culture of wearing local dresses that are being diluted with the onslaught by western-style outfits, and we must put in our best effort for their promotion,” said Nazia Shakoor, a visitor. 

Gulzari Inayat was one of those social workers, who had set up stalls at the event not to earn profit but to convey to the visitors that the local products should not be ignored by merely terming them outdated and old-fashioned. “Our culture has grace and elegance, and these kinds of events help revive our memories, otherwise, we are quick in adopting foreign cultures,” she said.

Youngsters showed keen interest in live musical performances under a shadowy spot in which singers entertained the audience with folksongs in different regional languages.

Children enjoyed bursting balloons with air guns and treating themselves with candyfloss. But the entertainment for kids did not end here, as there were some other attractions for them. The traditionally painted Ferris Wheel drew children in large numbers while they continued to enjoy in the kids’ area where there were a variety of swings and other entertainment facilities such as face painting, pony rides, and magic and puppet shows. The event administration members were also there to monitor the recreational activities and extend assistance to the children. 

In addition to shopping, the visitors had a unique experience of watching artisans at work. They took great interest in learning about the hard and delicate work done by great artists and asked different sorts of questions from them. “We live in this country but visiting such a festival makes us realise that we hardly have any knowledge of what beautiful stuff is produced in our different provinces and the level of hard work involved in producing such masterpieces,” said Shahzia Naseem, a visitor. 

Deeply engrossed in his work was Nisar Malik, 63, a big name in beadwork. His delicate portraits of Quaid-e-Azam and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto made many to stop and watch him work at his traditional ‘adda’. “I have made more than 12 bead portraits of Quaid, after it was a big hit when I made it the first time on the occasion of Pakistan’s golden jubilee,” said Nisar proudly. 

He was accompanied by his daughter, Sadaf, who has also gained expertise in this art, hoping to carry it forward. She exhibited her unique calligraphic work with colourful beads. “It takes almost 15 days to complete one piece,” she said. 

Close to Nisar’s stall was Habib ur Rehman, gathered by a group of visitors who were watching him do the internationally famous truck art. Involved in this form of art for 55 years, Habib was assisted by his 14-year-old grandson Mirajul Haq. His stall exhibited all sorts of things adorned with unique patterns and striking colours of truck art, a Pakistani specialty. On display were lanterns, jugs, lunch boxes, tissue boxes, mugs, wall hangings and model trucks. 

Habib, the man who also painted a beetle for a French doctor, was not quite happy with the public’s attitude towards regional art. “They always insist on reducing the price without realising the hard work involved in such art forms,” he said. 

Busy in doing intricate embroidery at an ‘adda’ set up by Behbood Association, Zaitoon Bibi had more or less the same feelings. “When people watch us work, they come to know how difficult and hard it is to make a piece.” 

Organisers told ‘The News’ that the number of visitors remained comparatively thin during the afternoons because of the heat but the evenings drew a lot of people during the two days, which was an evidence that people here were eagerly waiting for such an event. 

“It has proven to be a great experience, as the event has been a success and the response was much more than what was expected,” said Qamar Chaudhry, Managing Director Mass Comm Solutions and added that the twin cities’ residents showed that they seek opportunities for fun and entertainment. 

“We worked a lot in coordination with so many other people and it was also a daunting task to reach out to those, who are doing excellent work regarding the manufacturing of local dresses, face painting, preparation of traditional dishes and other such things,” he said. 

He said all stallholders were asked to bring the required equipment along with them and continue to do their work in their respective stalls, adding, “It was really exciting to see them working in front of the visitors.” 

He said the performance of folk singers and kite flying also received tremendous response from the visitors, as the organisers had called specialists from the Kite Flying Association of Lahore. “The activity is otherwise not allowed in town due to the dangerous thread often used, but it was different here, as no one was allowed to bring threads or kites from outside and everything was made available at the festival in a controlled environment,” he pointed out. 

The MD appreciated Capital Development Authority (CDA) for the fine arrangements made to facilitate visitors. “For fool proof safety and security, four Rescue 1122 ambulances stood by as well as two fire fighting vehicles along with security personnel, not only at the entrance but also inside the Village premises,” he said. 

No comments:

Post a Comment