Celebrating culture: Get your Ajraks on for Sindh Festival in February

The Sindh Festival to be held in February promises to be a fun-filled affair, said special assistant to chief minister on culture, Sharmila Farooqui, on Tuesday. Last year, the Sindh culture day was a smaller affair (above). PHOTO: FILE

The Sindh Festival to be held in February promises to be a fun-filled affair, said special assistant to chief minister on culture, Sharmila Farooqui, on Tuesday. Last year, the Sindh culture day was a smaller affair (above). PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: A two-week-long Sindh Festival is scheduled to start from February 1 — with at least 15 different cultural activities taking place all the way from Moenjo Daro to Keenjhar Lake.

The festival was announced by Pakistan Peoples Party chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Sunday. The details were, however, shared by Sharmila Farooqi, the special assistant to Sindh chief minister on culture, at a gathering at Mumtaz Mirza Studio on Tuesday.

Farooqi appealed to the people of the entire country to own the festival that, she hoped, will be of great importance for the generations to come. “Our generation is facing issues of Talibanisation, terrorism and unemployment,” she pointed out.

The culture assistant was excited about the festival as, she claimed, it has never been done before. “Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has taken this initiative and he will lead us. It is our identity and we all have to own it.” Farooqi disclosed that her department does not have enough funds to preserve, promote and protect over 130 historical sites across Sindh.

The opening ceremony of the festival will take place at the Moenjo Daro and it will be, according to Farooqi, an unforgettable moment for those who will be present at the site and those who will watch on their TVs. “This will be a proud moment for all of us. It will be decorated in a way that its glory could be visible to people across the world.”

The first event is a Horse and Cattle Grand-prix, which is one of the famous traditional games in Sindh. According to Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, it will be the Formula One of cattle race. “You will see them with their names, age and weight,” she added.

The second event is a Grand Mushaira of Sindhi and Urdu poetry. Farooqi said anyone who wishes to be the part of the mushaira could participate but visitors will have to buy tickets.

Karachi’s donkey race, which takes place every Thursday in Karachi, will also be made a part of this festival. It will be called Desi Donkey Derby. “Get ready for a million-rupee donkey,” said Bilawal, when he announced the festival at Mohatta Palace on Sunday evening. A deep- sea fishing competition has been added to encourage the fishermen’s community.

Sindh is a land of Sufis and saints, said Bilawal, adding that the Sufi Night will be a part of the festival as well. The Sindh Music Mela will be celebrated in Badin, Benazirabad and Larkana while Valentine’s Day will be celebrated with a ghazal night. “The message of love will be disseminated from Sindh to the whole world,” Farooqi said.

Sindh Fashion Festival aims to promote local craftsmen while Sindh International Film Festival offers talented filmmakers to make a 10-minute documentary film on Sindh. The Karachi Literature and Children festivals will also be celebrated as part of the same theme.

A cricket competition is also part of the festival. According to cricketer Waseem Akram, who announced the competition on Sunday, the matches will be played across Sindh. A Star Bus will travel from Karachi to Kashmir as the part of Pakistan Talent Hunt, which is also part of the festival. The Sindh Festival City will be arranged at Ibn-e-Qasim Park.

“Basant is back,” Bilawal announced. “This is first time in Karachi.” Farooqi said participants will be given kites and strings. The government is spending Rs250 million on the festival but Farooqi promised every single penny will be given back to the government.

Source: The Express Tribune

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