Moved by response in India at World Culture Festival, says Pak contingent

The performance of the 100-member strong Pakistan contingent was one of the highlights of the event held on the Yamuna floodplains.

Written by Naveed Iqbal | New Delhi | Published:March 17, 2016 3:28 am
Security men stand guard during the opening day of the three-day long World Culture Festival on the banks of Yamuna River in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI Photo by Kamal Kishore) Pakistan performed on the final day of the festival, which claimed to have hosted artists from 155 countries in the three-day cultural gala. (PTI Photo)

In 2001, the Pakistan chapter of the Art of Living (AOL) Foundation was started with just two teachers and an assistant. Today, it is has over 10,000 followers across the country. A hundred of them are visiting India, many for the first time, as part of the World Culture Festival hosted by AOL last week.

“No matter where we went, people wanted to take selfies with every single one of us,” said 55-year-old Shahnaz Minallah, a member of the Pakistan contingent.

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Pakistan performed on the final day of the festival, which claimed to have hosted artists from 155 countries in the three-day cultural gala. The performance of the 100-member strong Pakistan contingent was one of the highlights of the event held on the Yamuna floodplains.

“We were greeted with a standing ovation and many of us had tears in our eyes. It was surreal. We got our visas at the last minute, just a day before our scheduled departure, but we were packed and ready to go,” she said.

The participants performed a contemporary sufi routine called “Punk Sufi” to the tunes of Arif Lohar’s “Jugni ji”— the most viewed Pakistani song on Youtube. Interspersed with poetry by Bashir Qureishi, the performers waved the Pakistani flag on stage dressed in white and green while others moved to the tunes of Sufi trance. Choreographers Wahab Shah and Nighat Chaodhry created this performance as a tribute to the friendship between the two countries.

“I wanted to give a face to modern dance from Pakistan. So I created this style which involves the use of fabric and the blend of various techniques. For this particular event, we had original poetry by Yousaf Basheer Quershi which talks about harmony and oneness, love and peace. Legendary Kathak dancer Nighat Chaodhry choreographed the story-telling aspect by weaving the poetry with dance,” said Shah.

Led by Pakistan’s youngest Member of Parliament Uzair Khan, the group is now travelling to other parts of the country to make the most of their visa. “Some of us are in Jaipur and Agra. We had a very short visa so no one wanted to miss the Taj Mahal,” said Khan.

He added that the response to the Pakistan contingent in India has been overwhelming and they have been able to get around without any extra security cover.

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  1. K
    Karan
    Mar 17, 2016 at 12:15 pm
    Kudos to Indian Express for reporting true ground level reality. While other newspapers such as Hindustan times are busy spreading hatred, glad to see this piece by Indian express, way to go..
    Reply
    1. M
      mohammad terrorist
      Mar 17, 2016 at 8:25 am
      Haha pokis having good time in India ,may be its the first time someone treated these porkis as humans , now Hindustan get ready for a terror attack as a reward from these pigs
      Reply
      1. M
        MyTake
        Mar 17, 2016 at 7:33 am
        Good on these stanis who are as good as any other from any culture/religion.
        Reply
        1. P
          Prof.BadariNath
          Mar 17, 2016 at 6:12 am
          Good reporting....
          Reply
          1. H
            HARISH rawat
            Mar 17, 2016 at 5:24 pm
            Thx Indian express team to show reality of world cultural festival.I also witness of event and have selfie with them
            Reply
            1. M
              maz
              Mar 17, 2016 at 12:09 pm
              I thought you said the WCF was a waste of time and Sri sri ravi shankar was a fake "godman" ... ?
              Reply
              1. I
                ibrahim
                Mar 17, 2016 at 1:13 pm
                true...This modi is welcoming stani fans and these guys...im sure we are just waiting for another 26/11. Jusr to remind everyone here...last time also before 26/11 India had a stan and india match and few terrorists came in as Fans annd till this day they are not been found..and one of them was also behind the 26/11 attacks who took hedley arround. Stupid Indian government. And this BJP government is just gonna make sure India becomes a terrorist hotspot. RIP to all those in advance who will die in a terrorist attack in One of the major cities in India or in Kashmir.
                Reply
                1. J
                  Jemma Thomas
                  Mar 17, 2016 at 9:11 am
                  common man show some respect, you are a disgrace to humanity. we are talking about cultural event. behave accordingly. If they mean it, it means that India is what it is. we always pride ourselves to be civilised country and we show that even to people who happen to be in wrong country. It is not these people's problem, it is the country that has been hijacked by few religious fundamentalist and the state players and holding some of these innocent potion for ransom. One day these innocent potion rises against this tyranny like it happened in soviet union and put their lives back to normal. It may take some time but eventually it will happen. We already see almost like a civil war condition their in pak, it is just matter full scale and over throwing military and bringing in new set of security apparatus. Hope the day is soon.
                  Reply
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