Lok Virsa Festival:
Lok Mela brings to limelight True Identity of Punjab
Though the festival presents a representative colorful combination of the rich cultural heritage of all the federating units, the Punjab pavilion depicting the indigenous folk culture, arts, crafts, traditional cuisine, folk music and folk entertainment created at Lok Mela grounds remains the centre of attraction for the visitors. It offers a wide range of colorful and dazzling crafts along with vibrant and energetic traditional folk music.
As you enter the Punjab pavilion, it welcomes you with a majestic gate, which is a replica of one of the architectural monuments of the province. More than fifty master craftsmen and craftswomen who have been invited are seen in the artistically erected stalls practicing centuries-old traditional crafts.
Several female artisans are also attending the festival, giving a sense of gender equality which is usually witnessed in almost every activity of Lok Virsa.
Mst Suraya from Kahror Pucca makes traditional chunri (tie-dye work) with its tiny details and dark colors like maroon, green, yellow and red. Aziz Bibi from Khawateen Welfare Council, Bahawalpur have brought a large contingent of artisans from Cholistan, the Southern part of Punjab including pottery making, embroidery, Gota work, Zardozi work, etc.
Among these craftswomen, the most prominent female artisans is Hajan Fateh Bibi from Shah Jewna, district Jhang. She is seventy years old and is expert in basket weaving. She weaves many colorful items like baskets, changeer, handfans, women sandles, chhaaj (grain separator), etc. She has also been participating in the artisans-at-work festival organized by Lok Virsa for many years. Despite of her old age and poor eyesight she is carrying on this difficult task.
Male artisans equally outshone in the Punjab pavilion and proved their mettle by creating equally exquisite handicrafts. The crafts on display are bone work, lacquer art (jundri ka kaam), Multani blue tiles, tie dye, block printing, wood carving, darree weaving, khaddar weaving, basketry, pottery, embroidery, zardozi, metal work, block printing, camel bone carving, Okair sazi, khussa making, etc.
The most outstanding artisan from Punjab pavilion is Ameer Bakhsh. He is an expert in natural dyes. The ancient art of wooden block making has its centres in the lower Indus valley encompassing southern Punjab and all of Sindh.