10 February, 2011

Preservation of Cultural Heritage stressed at National Conference

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: Research scholars and experts at a conference stressed that cultural centers should be established countrywide to help document and project the country’s rich cultural heritage which faces extinction if appropriate measures are not taken. The two-day (Feb. 8-9) conference on ‘Safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage’ at Lok Virsa Library concluded on Wednesday with an aim to revive traditional art and culture “Pakistan should educate its young generation about arts & crafts to inculcate love and respect for the heritage” underlined the experts.

Federal minister for culture, science and technology Pir Aftab Shah Jilani was the chief guest on the second day of the conference while Moin ul Islam Bokhari, federal secretary culture was also present at the occasion.

In his address, the culture minister applauded Lok Virsa’s effort to “focus on neglected aspect of our magnificent cultural heritage that is threatened to vanish due to globalization, urbanization and revolutionized mass communication” endangering the pluralistic features of society ultimately. The minister said that in order to inculcate love for our culture “it is imperative for cultural sector to highlight significance of the intangible culture in the lives of the common masses”.

At the conference, an expert, Shiraz Haider shed light on the extinction of folk music in his research paper “confused identities in classification of music”.

Aisha Imdad in her paper on “the situational analysis of craft sector” suggested how to revive old techniques and re-use traditional designs/motifs in the craft production, to design different products by applying traditional techniques and how to develop a solid marketing strategy.

Speaking at the occasion, Lok Virsa’s Executive Director, Khalid Javaid said that the aim of the conference was to initiate “new research-based ventures after consultation from the cultural experts from all over the country.” He also informed that Lok Virsa is going to publish a comprehensive report on the outcome of the seminar proceedings which would go a long way in documenting the intangible cultural heritage.
Ali Kumail said that people in Balochistan used to celebrate different festivals at local level that promoted the regional cultures however the ban on small-scale festivities by terming them un-Islamic has lead to declination of the culture.

Allama Jawad Hussain’s paper highlighted that “Kashmiri languages, local music, musical instruments and artisans were facing extinction due to lack of patronage. Government should help in preservation of Kashmir`s heritage and promotion of its artisans and artists, he stressed.
“Through the times, the written word survives, but the performance cultures of music dance and theatre remain intangible” read the paper of Sarmad Sehbai, a poet and playwright. “There is no doubt that authenticity must be preserved in some form but the performance journey from generation to generation has to go through innovation, creativity, transformation and change” he added.