Folklores lie deep down in the roots of our existence and chisel our sensitivity and ethics, morals and social values, and form the core of our cultural consciousness,” said Padam Shri Ajeet Cour, president, Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature (FOSWAL). The 3rd SAARC Folklore and Heritage Festival begins in City Beautiful today. The event is being organised by FOSWAL in association with Ministry of External Affairs (Govt of India) and Chandigarh Administration. Besides Chandigarh, day programmes will also be held in Mohali and Panchkula.
The first day will see a galaxy of scholars taking part in the three-day Folklore Academic Research Seminar at UT Guest House, Sector 6, Chandigarh. The first day will see folk performances at Shivalik Public School, Phase 6, Mohali at 10.30 AM to 12.30 PM. The programme will include performances by Algozas Orchestra (Punjab), Dhol Cholum Dance (Manipur), Folk Guitar (Maldives), Dhangad Folk Dance (Nepal), Hozagiri folk dance (Tripura) and Kalbelia dance (Rajasthan).
The evening programmes, one of the main attractions of the mega event, will start at Tagore Theatre, Sector 18, Chandigarh at 6 PM. The first day events will include performance by Sapera Been Jogis of Haryana followed by a skillful presentation by Puran Das Baul (West Bengal) and Iqbal Bahu from Pakistan. Rajasthani Kalbelia dance will once again attract people’s attention, while Quddus Boyati Group of Bangladesh and artistes from Sri Lanka will also perform on the stage. The evening programme will conclude at 8.30 PM with the mesmerizing performance by Teejan Bai, the renowned Pandvani singer from Chhattisgarh. Various folk artistes were also present in their traditional costume at the press conference.
Ms Ajeet Cour has been the force behind the efforts made by FOSWAL in keeping alive the memories and customs of folklore throughout the South-Asian region. Briefing on the uniqueness and importance of cultural unity of the SAARC countries, she said “In whole of our SAARC region, our folklore creates bonds among us in a very subtle invisible way and that is the beauty of our value system and ethical values which make us different from the maddening pace of the western world, where personal success is the ultimate goal and ultimate achievement of life. The west suffers from the rat-race where only the best wins and ‘only the winner has a right to survive’. The faces are devoid of inner glow which we find often at every other street corner, on the ordinary wheat-colored faces of ordinary people in our countries.”
Mr Manmohan Singh Mitwa, vice president and chief coordinator of FOSWAL emphasized the role of artistes and writers in promoting harmony in the South Asian region through cultural blending and sharing of cultural values. Naming the FOSWAL activists as “Mad Dreamers”, he specified the requirement of separating the writers and cultural fraternity from political and diplomatic work to develop bridges of friendship across borders, and beyond borders.”
FOSWAL, an apex body of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), is the only organization in eight countries including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives and Afghanistan, legally authorized to hold cultural programmes under the SAARC banner and logo. The event is being supported by Ministry of External Affairs and Chandigarh Administration.
The three day cultural festival will see eminent artists from across the sub-continent performing in the tricity. The colorful events will be extensively diversified from Ladakhi folklore to Folk songs of Maldives. Dholwala Saeen from Pakistan will enthrall the audience as will Dhol Cholum from Manipur. The audience may enjoy the breath stopping dances choreographed by Ariyarhne Kaluarachichi from Sri Lanka or soothe the eternity of soul by listening to Kabir Bani by Prahalad Kurmi. The Sufi songs by artists from Pakistan, recital of Bulle Shah and Nirgun Bhajans will serve the food of spirituality for the visitors.
The prominent scholars and special invitees of the programme will include Her Excellency Ms Margaret Alva, Dr Karan Singh, Dr Namwar Singh, Sitakant Mahapatra, Dr Ashok Vajpeyi, Mijarul Quayes (Bangladesh), Dr A K Rashid (Afganistan), Ibrahim Waheed (Maldives), Prof C M Bandhu (Nepal), Dr Dorji Penjore (Bhutan), Prof Ariyarathne Kaluarachchi (Sri Lanka) and Dr Saleh Mohammad (Afganistan). In these times of conflict and terror, poverty and lop-sided development resulting in hunger and malnutirion at grass-root levels in the region, FOSWAL keeps highlighting the common concerns, through culture, literature, theatre, films and exhibitions etc. FOSWAL is headquartered in New Delhi at Academy of Fine Arts & Literature.
A three-day folklore academic seminar will also be held at the UT Guest House simultaneously. Some of the folk performances are scheduled to be performed at Shivalik Public School Mohali, Carmel Convent School Chandigarh and Headquarters of West Command Chandi Mandir during day hours on all the three days. The idea behind is to take the folklore to all nooks of tricity. Ms Ajeet Cour emphasized that the SAARC Folklore Festival reminds us of our duty to save the dreams and hopes of humanity as imagined by the ancestors of Indus Valley Civilization.