Centuries-old Laar culture revisited at well-attended festival in Badin, Sindh

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October 30, 2017
ARTISTS perform in a drama Dodo Soomro jo maut staged in a segment of the Laar Festival in Badin.—Dawn
ARTISTS perform in a drama Dodo Soomro jo maut staged in a segment of the Laar Festival in Badin.—Dawn

BADIN: Poets, writers and other scholars speaking at a session — Laar sadyen khaan (Laar for centuries) — one of the main features of the two-day Laar Festival in Badin — were of the concerted view that the history of lower Sindh was replete with internationally and nationally acclaimed personalities as well as historical sites and exclusive cultures, traditions and fine arts.

The session was presided over by Sindh Minister for Health Dr Sikandar Mandhro on Sunday. He told the audience that the lower Sindh region had not only remained the centre of cultural activities but was also blessed with revered saints, renowned poets, brave soldiers and great philanthropists.

Laar — which also remained the capital of Sindh territory for many centuries — had never been given its due importance by successive governments until the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) came to power and made efforts to bring it at a par with other such parts of the province, said the minister. It was om 1974 when the PPP founder chairman Zulfikar Ali Bhutto got Badin the status of district and then systematic efforts began to promote the culture of lower Sindh, he added.

Appreciating the culture department for the holding of the festival, Dr Mandhro stressed the need for more such events to be held regularly so that coming generations could have full knowledge of the past glory of Sindh and keep itself abreast of the new trends in art and culture.

The minister also called for conducting more research on dynasties of the region and lost towns like Rahimki Bazaar, which had been the economic hub of the area towards south of Badin town but vanished.

Noted writer and researcher Dr Mohammad Ali Manjhi in his speech said that Laar had always been the centre of cultural activities and termed the contribution to the rich culture by people from all walks of life “unprecedented”.

The reason behind Laar’s status of economic hub was over 100 sea ports it had, Dr Manjhi said, adding traders from different countries used to visit this region.

Zakir Khatti, Yousuf Sindhi, Qaim Solangi and other writers also shed light on Laar’s past glory during the session and urged the government to take appropriate steps to preserve and protect the region’s culture and historical sites.

Renowned poet Dr Akash Ansari, Imdad Hussaini and Hafiz Nizamani jointly chaired another session during which a number of poets presented their poetic works and received applause from the audience.

Dr Ansari appreciated the poetry and noted that both the accent and diction of the poets hailing from Laar were indigenous and pure. He observed that the contribution of poets and writers to the literature was enormous.

The literati stressed the need for encouraging the young generation showing their keen interest in learning the history, culture and literature of this region.

The festival was attended by a large number of people coming from different parts of Sindh. Known singers and artists gave excellent performance at a separate session to enthral the audience.

Another exclusive feature of the festival was a drama Dodo Soomoro jo maut (The death of Dodo Soomoro), authored by Shaikh Ayaz, staged late on Saturday evening. It drew hundreds of viewers and the performance of all artists was greatly admired.

Sindh Minister for Culture and Tourism Syed Sardar Ali Shah was chair the concluding session of the two-day festival, which was to come to an end late in the night.

Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2017