KARACHI: Several events marking the annual Sindh Culture Day, popularly known as the Aikta (unity) Day, were organised in Karachi like the rest of the province on Sunday.
This year’s theme for the event was ‘Our Unity Day’.
People wearing traditional Sindhi dress sang and danced in various parts of the provincial metropolis to celebrate the annual event, which is traditionally observed on the first Sunday of December every year.
The main function was held outside the Karachi Press Club (KPC). Besides, events marked the annual culture extravaganza, where people witnessed and became part of the raucous proceedings, featured with colours, and incessant music and dance.
Outside the KPC, where people from various neighbourhoods of the sprawling metropolis gathered in large numbers and danced to the songs sung by popular singers. The musical evening lasted till 7pm.
Organisers of the programme said it was 11th year since the day was celebrated for the first time as a token of protest against an anchorperson of a private TV channel who had in December 2009 criticised the then president Asif Zardari for wearing Sindhi topi (cap) during his foreign tours.
A large number of men, women and children attend the main event held in front of KPC
They said those comments had deeply hurt the sentiments of the people of Sindh, who instead of resorting to violence designed a novel way to register their protest.
“Those were activists and intellectuals who decided to observe a day of unity to celebrate the rich Sindhi culture and respond that infuriating statement with love, music and dance,” an organiser said.
A large number of men, women and children wearing brightly coloured and distinctively embroidered dresses, Sindhi topis and ajraks gathered from outside the KPC to the Metropole Hotel traffic intersection where a heavy sound system had been put in place on a makeshift stage resonating with Sindhi songs.
Several political and nationalist parties and groups took out rallies from various parts of the city and merged into the key assembly.
Rallies were taken out from Gulistan-i-Jauhar, Lyari, Baldia Town, Manghopir, Malir, Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Keamari, Korangi, Gulshan-i-Hadeed, Ibrahim Hyderi and several other neighbourhoods.
In those neighbourhoods, camps and stalls were set up to facilitate those celebrating the event. The stalls had a field day that registered widespread sales of merchandise related to cultural pieces and garments.
Women participated with the same vigour that they showed in previous such events.
“This day is as important as Eid and other festivals that we celebrate in Sindh,” said a female participant.
Similar large events were held near Jauhar Chowrangi and outside the Malir Press Club in which people wearing traditional folk dresses participated.
During the day, TV channels broadcast special programmes on the culture of Sindh. Several companies announced discounts on their products on the occasion. Non-governmental organisations and certain media outlets separately arranged musical events, which also attracted large audiences to celebrate the culture day.
Earlier, in the run-up to the culture day, a musical evening was organised at the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi where famous singers and artists performed.
Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2019