New Delhi, Feb.12 : Fairs and festivals have always played a major role in enabling people to revisit their culture besides conserving traditions and dialects. This was visible here recently during a three-day Punjabi festival in the capital.
Organised by Punjabi Academy (Delhi) and Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, the festival, a calendar event, had "Anhad Naad" or, the infinite voice as its theme for this year.
For visitors, it was a nostalgic trip reflecting upon the times of yore.
Depicting a typical rural household, the settings were magnificent and inviting for everyone. Visitors were amazed especially at one corner of the Punjabi festival where Savita Goyal of Barnala (Punjab) had set up a special shop.
Savita was flocked by many visitors during the festival, as she had depicted the way of life in Punjab in the bygone times. It captivated people for depicting some of the hard to find items which have today disappeared from the common sight due to modernism.
Informing about her displayed items, Savita Goyal , who also runs a house-museum in Barnala, said: "This clock is 100-years-old and belongs to my family. When we were kids, this was the only timepiece in the entire village. Every time a child is born in the village, the family members referred to this clock to calculate the precise time of birth."
"Such stuff was used by my ancestors. I too used many of these items like the bronze utensils exhibited here. It revives pleasant memories," Savita added.
Each item showcased by Savita was a masterpiece in itself.
Professor Devender Singh's stall was another attraction, as it had captured the beauty of mud-houses of yesteryears in Punjab.
A photographer by hobby, Devender clicked most of the pictures a decade ago by wandering around the rural areas of Punjab.
Dr. Devinder Singh, said: "I felt that despite the fact that the lives of a majority of people are steeped in poverty, there is a rare and appealing beauty in these mud-houses. I was fascinated by that beauty which I was able to capture in these photographs. The poor living in these houses may be impoverished but they live in a traditional and authentic way. I tried to capture their way of life."
If live Gatka (the Sikh martial arts) and dance performances enthralled the guests, the stalls-selling craft-items, Phulkari-embroidered clothes and Juttis were also major attractions. Most of the visitors wanted to have souvenirs for their dear ones from the fair.
Speaking on the occasion Minister for culture and tourism, Amibika Soni, said: "Such fairs work as symbol of integration. There are several cultural aspects that are not elucidated in books and are striking when we actually see them. They highlight distinctive facets of two dissimilar regions. We can bring alive the culture in several informal ways."
Besides, Saal', a folk drama and Naqaal', a mimicry presentation were some of the performances which were enjoyed by everyone at the fair.
Truly vibrant, the Punjabi fair brings new and extraordinary facets of art from the interiors of Punjab every year.
More than anything, the fair convinced most of the visitors that there was far more to be unearthed and understood than what is generally known about Punjab today. By Ravi Khandelwal
Story first published: Tuesday, February 12, 2008, 12:01 [IST]