The Oxford University Press hosted a children-centered Independence Day programme at its bookshop at the Dolmen Mall on Tuesday evening. The programme titled ‘Bridging the gap: reminiscing national songs’ had as its host noted vocalist Khalid Anum.
The programme featured readings from the OUP’s graphic stories about the heroes of Pakistan like Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Maulana Abdus Sattar Edhi and Faiz Ahmed Faiz. The readings were profusely interspersed with national songs led by Anum strumming on the guitar.
It was a pleasure beyond description to hear the angelic chorus of the children, some as young as 5, singing with all the gusto. The most remarkable part of it all was that the children knew almost all the songs.
Even the very young ones sang songs dating back over twenty years, like Dil Dil Pakistan, with all the gusto and seemed to know all the words. It really was an angelic choir of tiny tots. Dil Dil Pakistan was the opening number.
This was followed by another favourite which is even older than Dil Dil Pakistan, it being, Jeevey, Jeevey Pakistan, but the very young children kept Khalid Anum company and seemed to know the whole number. Khalid’s resonating baritone accompanied by the children’s angelic, childlike voices, around fifty of them, made a really melodious chorus. The songs evoked nostalgia among the gathering as Khalid and the tiny tots took them on a journey of the national musical heritage of Pakistan.
Apart from the singing, adults, mostly guardians and parents of the children, were requested to acquaint the young ones with the history and the ideals governing the creation of Pakistan. The grown-ups described the way Pakistan had been blessed with resourceful people, scenic beauty rating Pakistan as among the top ten tourist destinations of the world, and other attributes of the country.
Children also sang Sohni Dharti along with Khalid Anum, a song dating back to the 1970s.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, Arshad Saeed Hussain, Managing Director, OUP, said that Khalid Anum would celebrate in songs not just the joy of independence but would also help bridge the gap between the past and the present and relive Pakistan’s melodious traditions. He briefly acquainted the children with the history of Pakistan and the vital role of the heroes of the Independence Movement.
Celebrations at Arts Council
The Karachi Arts Council was host to a grand gala festival on the night between August 13 and 14 to celebrate Pakistan’s 71st Independence Day. Guests started streaming in by 8pm, mostly families and there was an air of joy and cohesive family spirit. There were stalls galore of Pakistani handicrafts and garments.
The most interesting part of the programme was the Sindhi and Baloch folk dances, notably the Jhoomar and the Ho Jamalo. They really captivated the visitors with the dancers balancing bamboo poles on their heads and fluently making dancing steps. Visitors were intrigued by wind instruments like the Napeeri and the Dhols.
At a certain juncture people were so intrigued that young men and women from the very uppity segment of society joined the rustic dancers from the rural Sindh and joined in the dances. It was as if the joy of independence was coming from the core of the people’s hearts.
There were songs in the amphitheatre by noted vocalists accompanied by orchestras which were being telecast on the large video screen in the courtyard.
People could be seen seated and listening with rapt attention. Notable among the vocalists were Asim Athar, Muhammad Zubair and Nauman Khan. They sang national and patriotic songs with all the gusto and fervour.
Finally Independence Day was ushered in at the stroke of zero hour on the 14th by ex-information minister Nasir Hussain Shah and former culture minister Sardar Shah.