The ‘cultural pavilions’ created by different provinces are major attractions of the Lok Mela currently in full swing at Shakarparian.
The event is organised by Lok Virsa (National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage), a specialised institution working for the promotion and preservation of Pakistan’s culture at Islamabad.
While visiting the festival grounds, the aesthetically designed colourful pavilions catch the attention of the visitors be it old or young. The Sindh Pavilion depicts the rich culture and traditional architecture of the land of Sufi saints — Sindh province.
Coordinated by Sindh Culture Department under the supervision of Sassi Palejo, Provincial Minister for Culture, a contingent of over one hundred participants including master artisans in various craft fields, folk artists, rural musicians, instrumentalists and folk dance groups is actively participating and showcasing their cultural heritage.
The folk artists and musicians seen busy in performing at the pavilion include Raza Alan (singing in the style of legendary folk artist late Allan Faqir), Urs Bhatti (alghoza), Ghous Bux Brohi (flute) and Jiram Jogi (murli).
Folk dance groups participating from Sindh are 6-member Sain Dad group (matka dance), 6-person Imam Dino (shahnai) group, 5-person Agha dance group, 3-member Thari dancers, 2-person Chandi Faqir group, 2-member Chapli dance group, etc.
The creative artisans displaying their workmanship include Siani (khes weaving), Pari (durree weaving), Arbab Soomro (Ajrak), Khan Chand (leather work), Sahib Dino (Sindhi cap), Nabi Bux (lacquer work), Abu Bakar (chunri/embroidery work), Gopal Das (tie dye), Saleman (leather work), Khadim Hussain (Moenjodaro replicas), Mst. Sara (charkha weaver), Sumero (Farasi weaver), Zamir Ahmed Khan (wood work), Faqir Mohammad (pottery) and Sobraj (shoe maker).
The other most prominent artisan from Sindh is Zameer Ahmed Khan from Hyderabad. He is a master artisan in making small wooden crafts. He is making a successful living out of creating ornamental items. Zameer does this despite his hardship, he has only one hand. Zameer lost his left hand working in a factory on his 15th birthday. This proved to be quite an obstacle for him as he was left-handed. Regardless of the fact that he had lost an instrumental part of his body, Zameer was a keen footballer as well. He later shifted his attention to woodcraft creating wooden ornaments. He faced lot of difficulties, but he had the courage and support of his parents. He is married with four children. His children study in schools who also help him when they are free at home.
A disabled person yet capable man, Zameer has participated in a number of exhibitions and fairs including Lok Mela. He also went to take part in foreign exhibitions. Zameer makes small wooden key chains with names of persons. He also makes wooden ornamental items, trophies, shields, etc. He created wooden model of Cricket World Cup during 2011, which later was sold for generating funds for helping another disabled man. He teaches this art at Karachi Arts Council where boys, girls, students and children visit him regularly and learn the art of crafting wood into ornaments. He also prepares samples of key chains for various multinational and national companies.
The other features of the Sindh pavilion include a book stall arranged by Sindh culture department, Thari embroidery display, Sindhi bangles, traditional cuisine — Sindhi saag roti, Larkana Maava (sweet), Sindhi Falooda, Shikarpuri Acchar, etc.
According to the coordinator Sindh Pavilion Habibullah, Assistant Director, Sindh Culture Department, a special musical night featuring known folk artists like Sanam Marvi, Taj Mastani and Raza Allan is scheduled in the festival on April 10 at 7.30 p.m. at Lok Virsa open air theatre. Provincial minister Sassi Palejo is expected to be the chief guest on the occasion.
The festival will continue at Lok Virsa complex, Shakaparian till Sunday, April 15 daily from 11.00 a.m. to 10.00 a.m.