By Taj Nabi Khan
ISLAMABAD, Nov 14 (APP):Lok Virsa, here, has showcased the true image of the country, like a ‘mini Pakistan’ in Lok Mela 2020 while representing all parts of the country in its unique colors by displaying the wondrous assemblage of Pakistan’s cultural heritage in traditional milieu.
Other than entertainment segments, the display of cultural materials at the Mela has proved vital in educating the visitors to value arts and crafts of the country.
Primarily, the Mela was aimed at strengthening national harmony by creating awareness amongst the younger generations about the importance of indigenous folk heritage.
The ten days Lok Mela has started on November 06 and will continue with all its festivities till November 15.
The scenes packed with folk cultural landscape have enthralled the audience through the display of arts and crafts bazaars, cultural nights, youth night, traditional folk musical shows, folk performances, food courts and traditional dances.
The mega event is arranged every year in November at Lok Virsa in collaboration with provincial cultural pavilions along with Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir and international pavilion.
A large number of enthusiasts exhausted from daily chores of life thronged the festival along with their kith and kin to enjoy the respite of colorful ambiance, rural music, folk dances and the unique display of traditional stuff.
The Mela has brought people closer from all walks of life and different parts of the country to experience the cultural diversity.
Talking to APP, Executive Director National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa), Talha Ali Khan said Lok Mela has given central importance to artisans to sell out their products directly to consumers without the involvement of any middleman or commission.
He said, “The Mela is a common platform for all Pakistani folk artists, folk musicians and other performers to participate and broadcast their creative arts.”
The event played a vital role in bringing provincial harmony and national integration, he added.
Talha Ali Khan said around 500 folk artists, artisans and musicians from across the country had taken part in the event. He said organic, tasty and quality food cuisines of Pakistan had attracted a large number of people.
“Other than the tourism and archeology industry, the cultural industry has also the potential to create handsome revenue generation”, he added.
Deputy Director Publication, Lok Virsa, Muhammad Ali while talking to this agency said, “We have been holding Lok annual Mela since 1981 aiming to revive, preserve and explore folklores, local arts and handicrafts in the country.”
He said the cultural landscape of Pakistan has undergone drastic transformation in the recent past due to technological advancement and globalization.
“When it was felt that due to innovations and modernization, the traditional craftsmen were shifting to other professions, the idea was conceived to launch a platform for them to showcase their talent, market their products for boosting handicrafts industry of the country”, he added.
Lauding the support of the provincial governments, regional cultural departments and the Tiger Force, the Deputy Director said, “We give local hospitality, free transport facility, accommodation and free space to the artists and craftsmen to showcase their products in Mela without any charges.”
He said that the local Pakistani crafts had made huge demands in the international markets due to this platform. The Tiger Force is vigilant round-the-clock within the premises of Lok Virsa to ensure
implementation of the standard operating procedures to curb the spread of coronavirus, he added.
A local craftsman, Sardar Ali said that every craftsman wanted survival of his arts and crafts and it could be made possible with innovation, marketing and government support.
He said, “If we don’t go with the pace of time, we get outdated and that is rapidly happening with the local handicrafts industry of Pakistan.”
Skills and crafts had great value and importance in the overall socioeconomic growth of the country, he added.
Abdul Wahab, a visitor to Lok Mela said it was a good opportunity to introduce the rich and vibrant cultural heritage of the country to my family and friends.
Expressing his satisfaction over the arrangements, he said that it was one of the best locations for the Mela with lots of space for the stalls and cultural activities.
Such events were instrumental for entertainment, revival, preservation and marketing of the handicrafts, he added.