Tag Archives: festival

All set for the sacrifice – a sheep on a motor bike

A Pakistani man holds a sheep on a motor bike after buying it in an animal market in Lahore on November 6, 2011. Eid, the festival of sacrifice, is Continue reading

8th International Mystic Music Sufi Festival (22-25 April)

Sufi Music and Expression of Devotion from the Muslim World is one among a rare festival initiated in Pakistan by Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop. For programme check here

This festival celebrates the tradition of devotional expression through the performing arts in Muslim and other faith communities. In the past artists from Europe, the Middle East and South Asia-these are among the regions from which the performers in previous  festival have hailed. Whether from rural or urban areas, farmlands or great cities, mountains or valleys, they share a common yearning for union with the One.

The commencement of International Mystic Sufi Festival 2010 has a particular relevance.  Especially in these times with so many misconceptions have created a wide gap between the moderates and the conservatives’ minds. Continue reading

Sad news: Kite-flying to stay banned

Raza Rumi

I know that Lahore Nama has been visited in the recent days by hundreds and thousands of Basant enthusiasts. This is unfortunate that an age-old fetival is being banned and denied to people only because the government cannot regulate malpractices by a few business people and the bankrupt, failed WAPDA.

Hope that this festival will come back to Lahore. We strongly protest against this policy decision. Pakistan cannot be made a afe haven for roaming terrorists and suicide bombers while the peaceful citizens are denied the opportunity to celebrate a festival that is so deeply a part of our culture.

Here is the Daily Times story on this:

* District administration warns violators of stern action
* DCO says ‘Governor’s House’ no exception to kite-flying ban
* Police crack down on kite makers

Daily Times Monitor/Staff Report

LAHORE: The district administration has decided to maintain the ban on kite-flying in the provincial capital as per the orders of the Lahore High Court (LHC), warning that those violating the law would be dealt with sternly, a private TV channel reported on Friday.

According to the channel, a meeting presided over by Lahore District Coordination Officer (DCO) Sajjad Bhutta, decided that those found violating the court orders would be dealt with strictly under the law.

The DCO said the LHC had declared that permission to celebrate Basant could be given if a Continue reading

Basant: Only festival where people come together

by Sher Ali Khan and Aoun Sahi

The News on Sunday: How can we make basant safe?

Yousuf Salahuddin: To start with, you have to ban motorcycles from Saturday night to Sunday evening because a majority of accidental deaths have been of motorcyclists.

Secondly, there are two companies manufacturing these dangerous strings. The issue is not kite-flying or celebrating the festival; it’s about the deadly string. Children are buying these strings regardless of the danger these put their lives in. So, the manufacturers should be held accountable.

Thirdly, aerial firing has to be stopped. This was done during Shabhaz Sharif’s last term. If he gives the stick to the police, this can be regulated.
Continue reading

Lahori malangs shine at SAARC festival in Chandigarh

From Shahzada Irfan

CHANDIGARH, India:  A thunderous applause and endless admiration followed the dhamal performance of malangs from the shrine of sufi poet Shah Husain in Lahore, in the city’s Tagore Hall on Saturday.
The malangs, who came here to participate in the second SAARC Folklore Festival, have become an instant hit and are being requested by the organisers for repeat performances, on public’s request. Continue reading

‘Jinnay Lahore ni Vekhya’ depicts

‘Jinnay Lahore ni Vekhya’ depicts
Sunday, July 05, 2009
By Schezee Zaidi
Islamabad
The portrayal of the most glorifying human emotion of compassion and love as the core element to fight extremism and hatred was at the heart of ‘Jinnay Lahore ni Vekhya’ at the PNCA drama festival.
The popular play, staged by Sheema Kermani and her group Tehrik-e-Niswan on Friday and Saturday at the National Art Gallery Auditorium, was well received by the audience to the last for skilled performances by the entire cast around a well-knitted theme of an immigrant family in post-Partition Lahore.
Conveyed through the powerful and magical medium of theatre, whether in the form of tragedy, comedy or satire, the main idea of the play is to narrate the historical realities, touching the lives of ordinary people and shake up a nation’s collective conscience, make people think and question things, and admonish apathy.
Scripted and adapted for stage by Anwar Jaffery from the original drama, written by Asghar Wajahat, and with a finer touch of direction by Sheema Kermani, the wonderful production of Tehrik-e-Niswan is based on a true story of a Hindu woman, caught in the aftermath of Partition in Muslim dominated Pakistan. Set in Lahore of 1947 immediately after Partition, the story begins with the arrival of an immigrant family in Pakistan, which has been allotted a ‘haveli’ abandoned by a Hindu family. Having spent many torturous months in ‘Mohajir’ camps, the family looks forward to start a new life in their new home but to their dismay, they find a Hindu woman, the mother of the owner Ratan Lal Johari, still living in the ‘haveli’.
The presence of this old Hindu woman also irks some local ruffians, who believe that the country now belongs only to Muslims. This is opposed by poet Nasir Kazmi and the Maulvi of a local mosque. In the midst of the conflict, the old woman endears almost everybody she comes across with her loving and helpful nature, which is why that finally when she dies, a debate ensues in the community over the issue of performing her last rites.
As the play’s theme is based on a real occurrence, the dialogues of Nasir Kazmi have been taken from his letters and writings. The cast gave a very refined and accurate performance as per the mood of the play. It is also not out of context to mention that the play received great accolades in India.
Powerful dialogues with meaningful connotations from people like Sheema Kermani, who are engaged in activism and theatre for a cause, portrays the common concern about the exploration of ways in which the formal qualities of their art form creates a dialogue on ways in which important socio-political issues affect the everyday lives of people. Sheema explains that she believes that culture and cultural activists, the arts and creative media present many opportunities for promoting the understanding of human rights, and forging unity and awareness amongst the people.
Since its inception in 1980, Sheema Kermani’s Tehrik-e-Niswan (women’s movement) has consistently strived to raise awareness about women’s rights in Pakistan through cultural and artistic expression, using the medium of theatre, dance, music and video productions.

By Schezee Zaidi

The portrayal of the most glorifying human emotion of compassion and love as the core element to fight extremism and hatred was at the heart of ‘Jinnay Lahore ni Vekhya’ at the PNCA drama festival.

The popular play, staged by Sheema Kermani and her group Tehrik-e-Niswan on Friday and Saturday at the National Art Gallery Auditorium, was well received by the audience Continue reading

Ajoka’s Musafat theatre festival (May 17-24)

Say No to Talibanization Cultural activity is under threat in Pakistan

Please attend Ajoka’s performances:

1. Hotel Mohenjodaro on 17th May

2. Dekh Tamasha Chalta Ban 18th May

3. Burqavaganza 23rd May

4. Bulha 24th May Venue: 8:00p.m, at Alhamra Hall # 2, The Mall, Lahore.

Entry is Free In Karachi, the festival will be held at the Arts Council from 30th May to 4th June 2009

For further information 042-6682443/ 6686634

Sufi ‘Mystic Music’ festival to be held from 30th

LAHORE: Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop on Tuesday announced holding its annual Mystic Music Sufi Festival 2009 from April 30 to May 2.

Talking to reporters, the Peerzada brothers said this was the 6th annual Sufi Festival organised by Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop. The festival brings with it a rich variety of Sufi music from across the country. Performers from all four provinces will take part in the festival and over 300 artists will perform. “Through the Sufi Festival, we look forward to highlighting the cultural and traditional warmth and wisdom of Sufi poetry,” said Faizan Peerzada. “We are hopeful that such festivals will bless all of us with tolerance, wisdom and a light leading to a new direction,” he added. Continue reading

Madhu Lal – festival of lights

LAHORE: A number of devotees have thronged to the shrine of sufi saint Hazrat Shah Hussain, also known as Shah Hussain Lahori and Madhu Lal Hussain, to mark the three-day urs of the Festival of Lights. courtesy daily times Continue reading

The history of Basant

Manzoor has authored a great post on Basant. We are cross posting it here – given that many Lahore Nama visitors are talking of Basant and expressing their great enthusiasm for the festival.  Raza Rumi (ed)

Basant is a centuries old cultural tradition of Punjab. Over the years, it gained an element of controversy as the fundamentalism wiped the norms of tolerance and co-existence in our society. Disregard of law and for the lives of fellow citizens turned it into a bloody sport.

Recently I came across a book “URS AUR MELAY” by Aman Ullah Khan Arman, published by Kitab Manzil Lahore in 1959. I am reproducing the chapter on Basant (p.276-277) here: “Basant (a Sanskrit word for spring) is a seasonal festival of Indo-Pak sub-continent and it has no religious bearings. Basant is the herald of the spring and celebrated in winter (Magh) on the fourth or fifth day of lunar month. This is the reason why it is called Basant Panchami. Basant season starts on this day, therefore, Basant is regarded the herald of spring, wheat grows, and mustard blossoms in this season. (Old Aryan tradition divides a year into six seasons each having two months. Mustard blossom that is yellow in color is considered the color of spring and accordingly yellow outfits were worn).  Continue reading

Basant – still a mystery

Raza Rumi

It appears that Basant yet again is attracting a huge interest among Lahoris and Pakistanis. It is still not clear whether the government will allow it or now. However, people want to celebrate it – on February 28. Let’s hope that the avid fans of kite-flying and those who want to celebrate the spring weather are not disappointed.
Lahore Nama will keep all the readers updated on Basant news and views.

Basant remains a controversy

Two reports that say a lot on the current controversy on basant.

Taseer says he’ll celebrate Basant
Monday, February 16, 2009
The NEWS

PUNJAB Governor Salman Taseer has said that we still have not come to the conclusion that what kind of Pakistan we want, adding that we can materialise the dreams of our forefathers only if we follow thoughts and teachings of teachers like MD Taseer.

He was talking to journalists after the launching ceremony of two books of by his father Dr MD Taseer, the renowned educationist and the frontline figure of the progressive writers’ movement at the Governor’s House on Sunday. Continue reading

3 blasts at Lahore’s culture centre jangle nerves

LAHORE: At least three people including a teenager were injured in a series of three explosions near the Alhamra Cultural Complex in Lahore late on Saturday, where the international World Performing Arts Festival was in progress.

Police believe at least one of the explosions might Continue reading

World Performing Arts Festival: attracting large crowds


By Ali Usman

LAHORE: The World Performing Arts Festival received its largest crowd of the year on Sunday, as many families availed the holiday to visit the fair and observe the performances on offer.

However, most families seemed to differ on which performances they should attend and several people were seen choosing different exhibitions and plays to watch on their own, while their family members attended different performances.

Iqbal Ahmed, one such viewer at the festival, said that he and his family had arrived at the festival together but upon reaching it had differed on what they should watch. He said that they had decided to go their separate ways and watch the shows that interested them individually instead of watching the same things. Ahmed, who was watching the classical dance performance, said that his wife and daughter had decided to attend the puppetry show, while his son had preferred to watch drama. Continue reading

International Mystical Music in Lahore

Artists from Afghanistan, Syria, Iran and Egypt performed on the final night of International Mystical Music Sufi Festival at Peeru’s Café on Sunday. The performances were not scheduled but were still conducted. The Dalahoo Sufi Ensemble, the Iranian group, stole the show with Jalaluddin Rumi’s poetry. It was the second from last group to perform at the event. Continue reading

Pakistan’s cultural capital loses kite festival to violence, political turmoil

LAHORE, Pakistan: Pakistan’s political turmoil and violence have claimed a high-profile cultural victim -a centuries-old kite-flying festival that draws thousands of visitors.

The Basant festival brings a springtime buzz to eastern Pakistan and its regional capital, Lahore. Officials usually relax a ban on the pastime — imposed to prevent abandoned strings that are often covered with crushed glass from slitting people’s throats.

But the festival has been canceled this year amid tensions spawned by terrorist attacks and the country’s rocky return to democracy after years of military rule.

Sohail Janjua, a city government spokesman, said the festival was first postponed due to national mourning for assassinated ex-leader Benazir Bhutto, then because of Feb. 18 parliamentary elections.

Lahore has suffered three suicide attacks since, including two that killed 27 people on March 11, resulting in increased concerns about security.

“How can we ignore the deaths of innocent people to celebrate anything?” Janjua said.

In the past, the city’s youth have sent thousands of brightly colored kites into the sky during the festival, held on a weekend in February or March. Basant means yellow in Hindi, a reference to the mustard flowers that blossom in the region in early spring.

Crowds of Lahoris typically clamber onto rooftops to watch. Well-heeled guests from around the country and beyond pack city hotels for a few days of late-night festivities. Continue reading

Sikh Yatrees in Lahore

LAHORE: About 3,100 Sikh pilgrims arrived at Wagah by trains on Friday to participate in Baisakhi festival, the birth of Khalsa. The main religious function at Gurdwara Panja Sahib will be ‘Arambah Paath Sahib’ today (Saturday) at 8am. ‘Madah Ka Bhog’ on April 13 at 8am and ‘Bhog Akhand Paath Sahib’ on April 14 at 8am. From April 15 to April 17 pilgrims will stay at Gurdwara Janam Asthan Nankana Sahib and on April 16 will visit Gurdwara Sacha Sauda. From April 17 to April 20, pilgrims will stay at Gurdwara Dera Sahib at Lahore and on April 18 will visit Gurdwara Rorri Sahib Eminabad (Gujranwala). On April 20 pilgrims will leave Pakistan in the morning for India. abdul manan/photo by afp

Where are the kites?

VIEW:  Syed Mansoor Hussain (Daily Times)

Every culture has some form of a Spring Festival. To suppress such activities is to suppress the cultural aspirations of those that enjoy them. No, I am not in favour of bacchanalian excess, but some fun, please

The incarcerated CJ of Pakistan might be a great man but for me he will always be the person who put the kibosh on Basant. I have said it before and I will say it again, in my book he is a conservative jurist more in line with Islamist thinking. I do not, for instance, remember his court ever taking any suo moto action to help women incarcerated under the infamous Hudood laws or non-Muslims jailed under the blasphemy laws.

But such quibbles aside, my immediate concern is Basant. The reason ostensibly given to ban kite flying is the use of metal strings that can be hazardous to ordinary people. I entirely accept this premise but I cannot help but wonder why the famous Punjab Police that can, in a matter of minutes, arrest every known opposition member or recalcitrant lawyer in the entire province is unable to find and arrest those that manufacture the illegal metal strings.

Illegality can only flourish if law enforcement is involved in it at some level. The lower-level police force in Pakistan is known to be extremely corrupt. I am convinced that metal string use could be prevented if there was determination to do so. But more than the metal string, the real problem is that Basant has become an issue that pits the killjoy Islamist types against the fun-loving people of Lahore.

I don’t know what stand the expected government in the Punjab is going to take on this issue. I do know that based on his past reputation, if Mr Shahbaz Sharif does come back as CM, and if he decides to take this matter in hand, metal strings for kite flying will not be sold in Lahore or anywhere in Punjab. Sadly, Basant season will have passed by the time that happens.

The reason why Basant and kite flying is such a big deal for me is that it represents one of those ‘soft’ issues that are used by Islamists to beat up on all those they hate for daring to have fun. After all, many more people die in a single day from vehicular accidents than many a Basant and yet there is no hue and cry to ban vehicular traffic or even to improve it! Continue reading