Friday, April 13, 2012

Lok Mela projects richness of Kashmiri culture

Staff Report (Daily Times) ISLAMABAD: The Lok Mela has proved to be an important national event giving equal representation to all federating units by way of projecting their indigenous folk culture.
Like other provinces and regions, the rich culture, folk music, art and craft of the beautiful Kashmir Valley are also being showcased in the festival through a representative participation of craftspeople in different specialised fields, folk artists and musicians. The Kashmir pavilion has been set up in collaboration with the Azad Jammu and Kashmir government. A performing pit has also been created in the pavilion. Many professional and amateur singers gave periodic performances and presented Kashimiri folk music. When visitors enter the Kashmir pavilion, sweet voice of the young folk artists from the Kashmir Valley singing national, devotional and folk songs strikes their ears. A troupe of over 30 participants from Kashmir is taking part in the festival. They include craftspeople (in the field of wood carving, Kashmiri shawl, embroidery, etc.), folk artists, musicians and performers. Artisans are Zulfiqar Ghazi, Muhammad Saleem Malik, Taj Muhammad Tajal, Qazi Ali, Amjad Ali Butt, Ghulam Mustafa Shishgar, Muhammad Azeem, Sajida Azhar, Pervez and others. Among the prominent master artisans, Zulfiqar Ghazi specialises in famous Kashmiri art of papier-mache. He excels not only in the art of papier-mache and miniature but is also an accomplished artist in stained glass, fabric designing and traditional furniture painting. Ghazi paints nature, floral motifs, birds, animals, Mughal monarchs in his paintings as well on papier-mache artefacts. With artistic skills and creativity running in his veins, Ghazi is determined to preserve and revive the golden era of Mughals. He has participated in scores of festivals, fairs and exhibitions in the country and abroad and won cash prizes and certificates in recognition of his talent. Muhammad Saleem Malik is a master craftsman in wood-carving from the Kashmir Valley. He learnt this art from his father at the tender age of seven. Due to oppressive policies of the Indian-occupied forces, his family migrated to Pakistan and has settled in Rawalpindi permanently. He is imparting training to several students to ensure continuity of his art. Saleem uses walnut wood, cedar, Dalbergia sissu (Shisham) for creating exquisitely carved furniture, doors, boxes and decorative items. He often uses teak wood for crafting intricate carved items. He carves nature, leaf patterns, animals, floral designs, etc. Saleem took part in a number of festivals and exhibitions in the country and abroad. He has been attending Lok Mela annually, since long and winning recognition of his talent. A visitor, Haroon, while talking to this scribe appreciated Lok Virsa’s contribution in holding the festival. He said, “This unique event of its kind serves to disseminate the dynamic creativity of our countryside and give rural folk a pride in their identity”. In a nutshell, Lok Mela is a complete entertainment package that offers something for everyone including variety of knick-knacks, arts and crafts, folk music, folk dances from all regions of Pakistan, commercial stalls, playland for children, traditional cuisine, etc. It seems like Lok Virsa has created a mini Pakistan under one roof.