Punjab Arts Council, Faisalabad 40-year journey | By Rana Zahid Iqbal

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Punjab Arts Council, Faisalabad 40-year journey

IN the biggest cultural province of Pakistan – Punjab, with the formation of Act 1975, Punjab Arts Council came into existence.

Initially only Rawalpindi, Bahawalpur and Multan Arts Councils existed that organized various cultural programs.

Faisalabad city plays a vital role in the economic development of Pakistan. In spite of having such an integral cultural role, it was not given the attention it deserved.

Attempts were made to build an auditorium in Faisalabad but all the efforts and plans were in vain.

Luck finally turned in favour of Faisalabad, when Mr.Javaid Ahmed Qureshi, who happened to be an art lover himself, and a poet was appointed as a Divisional Commissioner.

He took personal interest in the establishment of Punjab Arts Council in Faisalabad which led to the allotment of land for the Council.

An open air stage was made to provide a platform to drama artistes. In 1995, CM Punjab Manzoor Watto Inaugurated the Faisalabad Arts Council. It took a period of 11 years for the completion of construction work.

Finally, the then and the present CM Punjab, Ch.Pervaiz Elahi, inaugurated the building in 2006.

On the 40th anniversary of the Pujab Arts Council, I feel obliged to pay a tribute to the hardworking artistes that have made a name for this Counsil.

Speaking of them, it is a must to mention Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali khan – the legend who was known globally.

Today, the universal sensation Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has still strongly tied relationship with this Council.

There are many other artistes like Sher Ali, Mehar Ali Qawal, Bakhashi Salamat Qawal, Matiay Khan Qawal (Tapaie Walay), Maulvi Akhtar Hussain (Varan walay), Nazakat Ali Khan Qawal, Allah Dita Lonay Wala, Ustad Ghulam Ali khan, Ustad Hamid Ali Khan, Suriya Khanam, Iqbal Bano, Suriya Multaniqar, Mehnaz Begum, Muni Begam, Nadeem Salamat Ali Qawal, Ijaz Sher Ali Qawal and many more.

These artistes have shown power of their mesmerizing voices right here, in Faisalabad Arts Council.

Speaking of folk singers, Mummad Iqbal, Muhammad Sadiq, Rashid Baig, Naveed Akram, Arshad Sheikh, Jamil Toni, Aslam Lohar, Asif Minhas, Aslam Rahi along with the legends Habib Rafique and Baba Sharif Ragee were promoted by the Arts Council.

They not only made use of the platform provided but used their talents to the fullest to rise to fame.

Some of the big names of the literary world like; Dr Riaz Majeed, Baba Obaid Abu Zari, Afzal Ahsan Randhawa and numerous other poets and poetesses have been a part of Arts Council journey since day one till this day.

When it comes to fine arts, our Nation’s pride Ustad Hafiz Anjum, Ustad Abdul Hamid, Qamar Sultan, Saeed Nudrat, Gulzar Ahmed, Ghazanfer Ali, and Nisar Ahmed took a start at their rise to fame from this very Arts Council.

Listing all the cultural aspects, stage play cannot be neglected, it identifies Faisalabad for what it is today and its considered the zenith of culture.

Some of the memorable names Qavi Khan, Firdaus Jamal, Jamil Fakhri, Fakhri Ahmed, Tamanna Begum, Rohi Tabussam, Rohi Khan, Khalid Saleem Mota, Masood Akhtar, Irfan Khosat, Bindiya, Khalid Abas Dar, Aman Ullah, Babu Baral, Albaila, Tariq Javed, Tariq Taidi, Mastana will live forever in the hearts of people for their outstanding mastery of stage dramas.

Names of the modern era – Naseem Vicky, Sakhawat Naaz, Qaisar Piya, Tahir Nishad, Sardar Kamal started their career from the platform of Arts Council.

The author of this 40-year journey, newly appointed Director, Zahid Iqbal, is still putting his efforts and doing everything in his capacity to the fullest to take the hard-work of successive Directors even further, under the dynamic leadrship of Saman Rai, who is not only active herself but she makes sure each and every one of her team members work together to create new and creative ways of representing art and culture.

—The writer is contributing columnist, based in Faisalabad.

 

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