By Jehangir Khan Tareen
MULTAN, Nov 22 (APP): Pakistan has a rich and diverse history of handicrafts. The entire wealth of timeless Pakistani handicrafts has survived through ages. The legacy of Pakistani culture promises everything which includes beauty, dignity, form and style.
Every city has its own handicrafts ranging from fabric, material, embroidery to jewelry, carving, mirror work, cross stitch work, kacha tanka, tar kashi, kan dani, leather work and the list goes on. Pakistani handicrafts are the precious stones in the bejeweled crown of the country’s culture and heritage.
The time stands testimony to the evolution of art and craft as the civilization grew from caves to modern cities. Now, handicrafts are an integrated part of the country’s culture leaving the whole world amazed and itching for more.
Dresses are one of the most sought out handicrafts of Pakistan from across the globe. Artisans from Multan, Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan which constitute South Punjab are full of gifted men and women who produce most adorable cross stitches specially the city of saints, Multan, takes the lead in it.Nuzhat Yasmin, a Bahawalpur based business entrepreneur, informed that Multan was the only city in the country which was producing matchless cross stitched garments,bedsheets and curtains.
Women make their designs with hands but apparently it seemed that these had been made by machines, she
informed adding that tar kashi of Multan, Kahror Pacca and DG Khan was much popular home and abroad.
The artisans make the eye-catching designs on cotton and other crapped clothes like gents kurta,dupatta etc, Ms Nuzhat, who has been associated with handicrafts business since 1992, said.
‘Kan Dani ‘ Mukesh and Gotta work besides Chunri were specialties of Bahawalpur, she said adding that Ajark and block print locally known as “Thapa” were also famous products of the city.”
Abbas Nagar, some 35 km away from Bahawalpur was a hub for Chunri, she said and added that the artisans of the area had magical hands. It is also popular throughout the country. DG Khan produces Kucha Tanka, Balochi and Mirror work.
Prayer mats commonly known as “Taadi” in Saraiki were much beautiful. These are made by dates’ leaves. Multicoloured Trays made up of date palm leaves and popularly known as “Chhabi “were decorated with beads, she observed.
Multan Chamber of Commerce of Industry (Women Wing) former chairperson, Syeda Sarwat Zahra, informed that they were working for survival of dying art and artisans.Blue Pottery, Camel Skin Bone, leather products, Silma Sitara and Naqsha Dabka work, khussa (Footwear),, camel lamps, clay pots like money boxes, naqashi, block prints were famous handicrafts of Multan, she said and added that Ustad Wajid was the only artisan who is working on red clay in South Punjab,Abdul Rehman Naqash was also doing a good job for promotion of Naqashi across the world, Zehra noted. Located at Qasim Fort, Multan Craft Bazaar offers painting, pottery, embroidery, Naqqashi, Kashi, Shesha Gari, Ukeer Sazi(Paper Work), Camel Skin and Bone made products for locals and tourists alike, she stated.Her organization introduced 80 new designs in camel skin items a couple of years back, ex chairperson said adding that a large number of customers place orders from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad Vases, tea and dinner sets of blue pottery were in great demand, she stated.
Ustad Wajid,an artisan who has been associated with Kashi Kari and Red Clay work since 1975 said that they had been dealing in handicrafts from generation to generation.
He said that red clay tiles were overlaid on historic buildings of Multan besides residences of Gilani and Qureshi families adding that the beauty of the art lies in the fact that rains and other weather conditions don’t affect its charm.Tombs of Hazrat Shah Rukn-i- Alam, Hazrat Bahauddin Zakariay, Hazrat Musa Pak Shaheed, Hazrat Yousuf Shah Gardez have been glazed with red clay tiles, the artisan said and added that it was also part of former Prime Minister, Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, and Foreign Minister, Makhdoom, Shah Mahmood Hussain Qureshi, residences.
Generally known as Multani Titles he said, “it is our family business which needs a lot of toil and time.”One has to mix oneself into clay for learning the art, Ustad Wajid noted adding, “BZU main gate and Women University Mattital campus also have red clay tiles on them which may safely be dubbed as recognition of Multan.
Undoubtedly, creating handicrafts is thousand years old art and South Punjab has contributed its bit in the country’s crafts since long. Pakistani handicrafts are famous because of their uniqueness, assortment and quality.