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GB's traditional food, music showcased in Islamabad

Najma’s family runs an eatery in Nagar that sells traditional foods, and she and her sisters are in charge of the kitchen. She said this was her first trip to Islamabad, and added that the fair was a good opportunity for people to introduce special dishes like hers. “I’m very pleased people loved our chapshoro and asked us to start an outlet here in Islamabad. Such events give us an opportunity to introduce our traditional foods; many of the people who visited today didn’t know much about the food of GB,” she said. The two day festival was organised by Lok Virsa in connection with independence day celebrations in GB, which is celebrated on Nov 1 to mark the region’s independence from the Dogra Maharaja of Kashmir. Artists, artisans and folk musicians from GB performed and showcased traditional music and dance from the region, and handicrafts, gems and cuisine were sold at various stalls. A food corridor was also set up, where foods such as chapshoro, dawdoo, chamus, mamtoo, garma, harisa and suppra were sold. Zareena Tabassum, from the Women’s Vocational Training Centre in GB, had set up a handicrafts stall in the fair. She told Dawn GB has a rich and diverse history of handicrafts. “Women have always played an important role in the preservation and promotion of cultural entities. We train widows and divorcees to empower themselves economically.” Ms Tabassum’s stall held handmade traditional attire such as khoi caps, shuka – long wool jackets, shalwar kameez, sheets, cushions, bags and other embroidered items. Meanwhile, the Ali Arts and Crafts stall showcased jewellery and raw gems from the GB region. Ali told Dawn: “GB has vast variety of minerals and gems. Most of the gemstones we use are pegmatite-related, such as aquamarine, tourmaline, topaz, garnet and apatite. Some of the gemstones are hydrothermal and metamorphic in genesis, such as emerald, ruby, sapphire, pargasite and pink topaz.” A number of people also gathered at the music pavilion, where dancers performed the Galavar and Dhani dances. Talagang student Zeeshan Ahmed could not resist the music, and soon joined the performers. He said the fair should be held in different provinces, so more people can learn about the diverse culture of Pakistan. “I really enjoyed dancing with these artists, and earlier I had no idea about their music and traditional dances,” he said. Lok Virsa executive director Dr Fouzia Saeed, while visiting various stalls, said the festival was held to raise awareness about GB’s independence day. She said: “Such events are the best tools for the promotion and preservation of art and culture.” A large concert will be held as part of the event at the Lok Virsa amphitheatre on Sunday, that will feature artists from various districts of GB. Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2016]]>

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