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.
The festival has been organised by the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature (FOSWAL), in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs and Chandigarh administration. It will run in the city from Nov 6 to Nov 9 and will be extended to Shimla from Nov 10 to Nov 11.
The other attractions of the festival are the performances of the Mauj Folk Band and Shafiq Mureed Musical Group from Afghanistan, sufiana kalam by faqirs from the shrine of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai from Sindh, Pakistan, peacock dance from Nepal, performance by Poddar Nachon group from Bangladesh, leather shadow puppetry from Andhra Pradesh, India and folk performances from Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives.
An academic seminar is also a part of the festival where eminent scholars from the SAARC region will present their research papers on regional folklore and literature. Research scholar Raza Rumi will represent Pakistan and dwell on the myths and legends of the Indus in his presentation.
In addition to the daily cultural performances held at Tagore Hall in the evenings, there will be regular performances by these folk artists at different schools and colleges of the city during the day.
Ajit Kaur, President of FOSWAL, praised the malangs for their mesmerising dhamal performance and their intense physical movements that varied with the changing beat of the dhol. She said a malang annihilates his physical self and soul in his love for God and loses control over himself. Unlike a whirling dervish, there is no symmetry in the movements of a malang and every pore of his body and his soul rocks with ecstasy, she added.
Earlier in the day, she welcomed all the delegates and the participants and hoped they would succeed in achieving the goal of bringing the people of the region closer. Kaur honoured folk performers saying they produce art for their own consumption and have nothing to do with commercialism.
The first Afghan director in SAARC Secretariat, Dr Azizuddin Ahmadzada Panjsheri, delivered the congratulatory message of SAARC Secretary General Dr Sheel Kant Sharma to the participants of the conference.