Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa (KPK) in general and the once thriving city of Peshawar in particular, have long been drooling in a state of confusion stemming right out of the bloody War on Terror which has now entered its 13th successive year.
The extremists took hold of the cultural reigns of the region at the beginning of last decade, altogether changing the way that people have led their lives for centuries. The following years witnessed several Cinemas gutted down, traditional festivities gradually faded into darkness and there was nothing left but an eerie silence of fear and restlessness among the scared Peshawarities.
The General Elections in the later years brought the Islamists into power further tightening the noose around those who have been striving to bring some sense in the declining cultural norms of the province.
The reign ended in 2008 bringing in moderates into power and although the Awami National Party did not prove to be any less corrupt and inefficient, it has managed to rekindle the dwindling Pakhtun Identity in the region.
Mushtaq Ahmed, one of the only Rabab maker left in the city narrated his ordeal of how he has been able to hang in with his diminishing skill of Rabab making.
“There was a time when a Pathan’s hujra (guestroom) would be incomplete without a chillum (pipe) and Rabab, but now trends have changed,” said Mushtaq. “The law and order situation in the city has greatly affected my business”, he added.
“When security problems worsened in Peshawar and cultural events came to a halt, the instrument lost its place in the public realm,” said Malik Nisar, a rabab player in Peshawar. “New musicians love Rababs and some even buy it these days”.
Cultural Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain inaugurated the Pashto Cultural Museum at the University of Peshawar, on December 4th, further strengthening the hope of the stricken Peshawarites.
The Museum will work towards the promotion of Pakhtun cultural identities ranging from handicrafts, traditional dresses, lifestyles, ancient weapons, jewelry and musical instruments.
Dr. Salma Shaheen, the curator of the museum lamented the dearth of such facilities across the province where the new generation can have the chance to see and learn the true colours of their fading culture.
Dr. Shaheen said that the museum will provide the necessary impetus for the betterment of Pashto language, literature, history, art and other fields of study.
The museum had been a work-in-progress since 2006. The foundation stone of the museum was laid down by then governor Ali Mohammad Jan Orakzai in October of the same year, with funding provided by the Higher Education commission.
Hussain lauded the hard work done by Dr. Shaheen, the University’s Vice Chancellor Qibla Ayaz and other people involved in the creation of the museum.
He said, “The museum is a very good initiative that also highlights the services of those who have rendered sacrifices for Pakhtuns in the past”.
The Fashion Show organised by the Iqra National University, Peshawar Campus, also created ripples when several beautiful models walked down the aisle, showcasing the latest fashion trends in the country.
Peshawar’s bold leap in fashion was arranged at Deane Trade Centre on December 5th and was attended by several dignitaries and fashion icons of the country.