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Traditional textiles, food draw visitors to Lok Virsa

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Stalls set up at Lok Virsa on Friday. — White Star
Stalls set up at Lok Virsa on Friday. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: The three-day national exhibition on textiles kicked off at Lok Virsa on Friday where products were displayed to promote local artisans.

Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul inaugurated the exhibition.

A large number of students from Iqra University’s textile department, Fatima Jinnah Women University and Islamabad Model College for Girls (IMCG), G-6/1-4, attended the opening ceremony.

About 20 master artisans in various fields of traditional textiles like embroidery, weaving, Ajrak, Khaddar, block printing, vegetable dying, thread making on spinning wheel and Kashmiri shawls participated in the exhibition from all the provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.

Punjab Council of the Arts, Punjab Small Industries Corporation, Balochistan Small Industries Corporation and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Small Industries Development Board collaborated with Lok Virsa by sending artisans to the exhibition.

Embroidery and various patterns from different areas were the main attraction for foreign and local visitors.

In the same function, national poet Dr Allama Mohammad Iqbal’s death anniversary was also observed and students paid tributes to the great philosopher.

The minister visited various stalls, met artisans and discussed with them their problems. She offered full support of the government to promote traditional skills.

Speaking on the occasion, Zartaj Gul said there was a dire need to promote culture and values and introduce work of local artisans to the world.

“Instead to using branded clothes, people should adopt their own dresses which are more beautiful and an identification of our centuries’ old culture,” she said.

Ms Gul said by wearing the national dress at the UN General Assembly session, Prime Minister Imran Khan promoted the country’s culture.Paying tributes to Dr Allama Mohammad Iqbal, she urged people to understand his philosophy on humanity irrespective of colour, creed and cast.

She said Prime Minister Imran Khan was taking decisions in the national interest as he wanted the country to progress in the true sense.

She appreciated the efforts of Lok Virsa in documenting, preserving and disseminating the indigenous craft heritage of the country and said Lok Virsa was doing a great job by reviving old craft traditions.

She said interaction of Lok Virsa with the younger generation through universities, colleges and schools was also commendable. This will infuse a new spirit among them about the richness and diversity of our cultural heritage, she added.

Lok Virsa Executive Director Shahera Shahid said her institution had planned a series of exhibitions and workshops of local art and culture to encourage artisans associated with them.

Food festival

The three-day traditional and folk food festival also started at Lok Virsa.

Traditional food outlets from all over the country established their stalls. Visitors got to taste a variety of delicacies including Shikarpuri Achar (pickle), falooda from Gujranwala, Aab Gosht and Hareesa from Kashmir, Rosh Peshawari, Pulao, Chapli Kebab and Peshawari Qehwa from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sajji from Balochistan, Marzan from Gilgit-Baltistan, Sindhi biryani, Kunna Tawwa fish from Sindh and haleem from Karachi. Some stallholders brought cooked food but some made it on the spot.

Talking to Dawn, Mohammad Aslam from Shikarpur said he brought traditional pickles from his area.

“The difference between the common pickle and Shikarpuri pickle is spices and recipe. We have our own traditional recipe,” he added.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2019