Hamara Karachi Festival

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Beginning of the year is probably the best time to celebrate and own whatever we possess and why not to own Karachi — the city that is providing us livelihood besides possessing a rich socio-cultural, economical and political past and present. Karachi is one city that has more artisans, intellectuals, sports personalities and creative individuals that the eye sees or the mind registers. And that way, holding ‘Hamara Karachi’ is a wonderful idea. Karavan Karachi Festival initiated by Yasmin Lari carried out the campaign of preserving and celebrating some historic buildings. She always emphasises that this city needs to understand its heritage. While showing the maps of different areas of the city at the launch of Karavan Karachi she said, “we are surrounded by high-rise concrete match boxes and no open spaces. We need to make the city livable and provide a historical environment that the people can be proud of.”

‘Hamara Karachi’ also started with the celebration of the platinum jubilee of the KMC building while reaching out to a variety of events. The celebration and preservation of old building, that has started now should be continued in the long future. Standing tall with grace, the old buildings are legacies of an expression handed to one generation from other. The sad part is that brick by brick the beautiful buildings of Karachi are being demolished to satisfy the commercial lust of our rootless builder barons.

The best part observed in ‘Hamara Karachi’ has been the involvement of the people of the city specially the younger generation. The never ending list of events chalked out for the festival ranging from theatre, music, food, heritage, literature, film, art and other mini-festivals demonstrating the importance and vitality of this city has so far been successfully accomplished. And the best part among all of this celebration is that the festival is open to each and every citizen of the city and is just not restricted to few affluent.

 City Naib Nazim Nasreen Jalil, the first female Naib Nazim in the history of Karachi talks to Citypulse about the aims and objectives of the festival as how it is being coordinated and put together for the people of Karachi.

Who conceived the idea of organising ‘Hamara Karachi’ festival?

The City District Government Karachi (CDGK) wanted to celebrate the platinum jubilee of the KMC building. When the idea was discussed, it spread like wild fire in the entire city. Everyone we spoke to about the celebrations was so excited about it. Suggestions were pouring in from everywhere, so we told everybody to bring in their proposals and go ahead with their preparations. Also, we set up the Hamara Karachi Foundation, so that the management of funds and activities could be transparent.

Different individuals, forums, associations, artistes, government departments, private companies, heads of civil society organisations, renowned personalities belonging to art and culture besides high-ranked officials came forward to celebrate different programmes as part of festival. For instance, Bilal Maqsood came forward with an idea of musical concert for those who could not afford to pay the huge tickets of concerts held at five star hotels or private clubs. Similarly, Rahim Shah, Najam Shiraz and other popular stars were contacted, and with their own willingness and support of other companies as many as eight concerts were held in the under-privileged areas of the city.

While maintaining the spirit of Karachi, no one has been left out and hence handicapped people are also involved in the celebrations with the same enthusiasm. A grand entertainment show for special children was held at Hill Park. The CDGK is holding two functions of its own as part of the festival. These are Family Festival at Safari Park and a Shopper’s Festival at Kashmir Road. The UC’s Towns are also holding programmes on their own in their respective jurisdiction. I must say every quarter started coming up with ideas of holding different programmes as part of the festivities.

Thus, a small celebration became a grand festival. Even today, we are getting fresh offers at all level for adding more programmes to the festival. Everybody irrespective of his class and creed wants to be part of the fair and contribute his bit. The budget is running in millions and different multi-nationals, banks, institutions, individuals, Sindh Government, the Governor and the Chief Minister are facilitating the CDGK in making the festival a success.

What is the objective of the festival?

The objective of celebrations is to promote peace and harmony amongst citizens of different religions, sects and multi-lingual population to surface cultural and inherited assets, to highlight the historical and cultural identity of Karachi, to renovate historical places of metropolis and make every citizen realise that he owns Karachi. Hamara Karachi is meant for the people of metropolis while reflecting a soft image of Karachi.

How many events are planned?

Initially, some 54 events were planned during 13-day event. But now, the number is increasing day-by-day. The actual number of events can only be counted after the festival is over.

Will this festival be made a permanent annual feature?

Inshallah, by the grace of God and with the help of Karachiites, we will make it a permanent feature. Since it is a tremendous success so far, we look forward to organise it every year. The festival has also proved to provide good opportunities to Karachiites to relax from ‘frets and fevers’ of the busy life and enjoy what Karachi is known for – the lights and delights.

Karachiites are looking forward to a much brighter and more affluent year 2007. Taking this into account, the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) has initiated a very successful and much appreciated campaign ‘Hamara Karachi’. The programme, which was initially planned to celebrate the platinum jubilee of the old KMC building, has turned into a huge festival. Being one of its kind, the festival has gained a lot of attention and much consideration by all segments of Karachi’s population. The festival depicts a positive and softer image of Karachi, besides attempting to revive the culture and history of the city. It has also provided a platform of unity for people belonging to various sects, caste and creed
 

Nothing could have been much better than ‘Hamara Karachi’ festival after all what Karachiites faced in the year 2006. Broken roads, the aftermath of the rains, the traffic mess, power failures, law and order situation, the never-ending construction of flyovers and underpasses were enough to wreck the nerves of the citizens.

Thanks to 2007 that the year started off with lots of hustle-bustle across the city putting an end to the entire twinge, which the citizens faced last year. The festival has enhanced all the brighter sides of Karachi and has brought people belonging to different culture, languages and classes to the one and only identity of being a Karachiite. With lights, posters and banners, one can see something happening in each Town of the city. Apart from this, it is an opportunity to highlight the socio-cultural characteristics that can play an imperative role in the development of the metropolis.

The campaign kicked off from January 6, 2007 and will end its journey on January 18. It embraced about 54 events to take place at different locations in the city. Though, the programme is the brainchild of CDGK, its officials term it as an event organised by the people for the people of Karachi.

Out of the so far 54 events the eye catching and thrilling ones were:

Platinum Jubilee of old KMC building

A colourful display of fireworks was the most spectacular event held at the old KMC building. The Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) Building is one of the many historic buildings located at M. A. Jinnah road and has evolved an iconic status as one of the landmark structures of Karachi. The foundation stone for the KMC Building was laid in 1927, construction was completed in 1930, followed by the inauguration in 1932. On January 07, 2007, CDGK decided to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Building. On this occasion the building went through a massive renovation project, which included repairing of the Clock tower.

Music for everybody

Karachi seems to be lucky when we talk about music as it has got a lot of fantastic voices. The popular singers because of their excellent vocals have fans spread all over the city. ‘Hamara Karachi’ provided a chance to all those fans, who were unable to attend their favourite concerts due to assorted reasons. Concerts by Rahim Shah in Malir on January 8 and in Orangi Town on January 12, Najam Shiraz in Baldia Town on January 11 and Strings at Shah Faisal on January 13 gave an opportunity to young and old alike to see and listen to these rocking stars performing live in front of them. 16 students of Ismaili Hunza Band, led by Nisar and Azmat Ali played lovely tunes at the premises of the old KMC Building. No one ever imagined of attending Opera performance in Karachi but ‘Hamara Karachi’ actually made it happen on January 12, while letting the citizens know that every entertainment is possible to happen in Karachi.

Theatre comes to Karachi

Historical and traditional theatres are losing their importance in Karachi and in order to revive its significance, a stage play entitled ‘Azadi Kay Mujrim’ started on January 9 in connection with ‘Hamara Karachi’ festival at Khaliq Dina Hall. The play details out the trial of Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar and his comrades. The Khilafat Movement, forbidding Muslims to be enrolled in the British army, had carried out the trial in 1921 in Karachi in the wake of adoption of a resolution. Under the trial Maulana Muhammad Ali, Shaukat Ali, Husain Ahmad Madni and three others had been awarded two years rigorous imprisonment. The stage play has veteran artists including Munawwar Saeed (acted as Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar), Qazi Wajid, Mahmood Ali, Gulab Chandio, Malik Anokha and M. Warsi. The theatre show would continue everyday till Jan 18 at the same venue.

Food on the streets

How can Karachiites miss out on food. Apart from entertainment, food has also been an area of great concern for people of this city and thus all the streets having various eating outlets decided to turn them into Food Streets for a week. The mouth-watering continental, Chinese and Italian are equally enjoyable in addition to the popular fast food. Food Street is a perfect outing for families during the ‘Hamara Karachi’ festival as one can see both the bunches of males and females sitting and eating till midnight in a congenial and friendly environment without worrying for anything else than just to enjoy food.

 

Karwaan-e-Karachi: A podium for children

Children are like radiant stars for every nation and efforts should be made to educate or endow them with passable knowledge. And to fill this gap Karawaan-e-Karachi, a children festival was arranged at the KMC building on January 14 under the auspices of ”Hamara Karachi” giving an opportunity to the children of this city to learn as well as to enjoy the day as it is predestined for them.

Karachi — a mini-nursery of cricket

Sports are an integral part of most of the celebrations in society. ‘Hamara Karachi’ festival is no exception in this regard. The festivities are marked by a considerable number of sports activities and events like cricket, badminton, tennis, boxing, donkey cart and cycle race. Some indoor sports like carom, snooker and table tennis took place on a smaller scale. Since cricket is the most popular game in Pakistan as also in Karachi, which is called the mini-nursery of cricket in entire Asia. Yes, the match between Showbiz Eleven and City Naib Nazim Eleven at National Stadium Karachi enthralled all the attendants. It was a double joy for the spectators, as on the one hand, they got a glimpse of their favourites showbiz personalities on the field, and other hand, it was well-played and good scoring encounter, which can be gauged from the fact that a total of around 350 runs were scored by both the teams. The added charm of the match was that it was played under floodlight in somewhat chilly weather. Speaking at the prize distribution ceremony, City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal said that the ‘Hamara Karachi’ festival is aimed at instilling harmony among Karachiites and bridging the gap between different segments of society through interactive activities like sports. “Hamara Karachi literally means ‘Our Karachi’ and everyone living here is a Karachiite irrespective of his class and creed and should react in a similar way,” he added.

 

2nd Science Teaching seminar

The ‘2nd Science Teaching and Competition’ seminar was held at a local hotel in coordination with CDGK, Happy Home Secondary School and Concordia Forum of UK. Besides Karachi, the teachers of 45 schools of other cities had set up 45 stalls at the seminar, where practical demonstrations on various scientific subjects including Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Information Technology were carried out. It was stressed by the Naib Nazim that instead of hotels, scientific seminars and workshops should be organised at places, which are accessible to common people specially to students of government schools, who could benefit from scientific information. She described attainment of Information Technology as need of the hour and said that CDGK is paying special attention to it.

 

Painting the city with colours

With reference to ‘Hamara Karachi’ celebrations, a painting competition was held among street children near Gizri Progressive School under the aegis of Majmua Art Gallery in which over 50 children took part. Of the total number of paintings, 50 were selected and displayed at Children Festival held on January 13 and 14 at KMC Building.

 

Film fiesta

The trend of going to cinema to watch a movie has been set forth and now various steps can be taken to assure that this drift does not fades out. In this context, film festival for three days has been arranged to keep the cinemagoers entertained. Different movies are shown free, at nine cinema houses. Free passes/tickets could be obtained from UC Nazims.

KARACHI, Nov 28: Sindh Governor Dr Ishrat Ul Ebad Khan Tuesday announced the launch of “Hamara Karachi” festival to be held as an annual feature with expansion of various programme segments to various districts in the interior of Sindh later.

Coinciding with the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of old KMC Building on completion of its 75 years, the Hamara Karachi festival celebrations will formally kick off from January 6 and continue till January 18, 2007.

The festival features were highlighted in detail by the Governor at a crowded press conference along with City Naib Nazim Nasrin Jalil at Governor House. Sindh Advisor for Information Salahuddin Hyder was also present on the occasion.

The Governor referred to fast development taking place in Karachi alongwith improving law and order which resulted in successful holding of mega events, the recent one being Defence Exhibition IDEAS-2006 and said the way this city and rest of the Province was heading towards progress and prosperity has made us to feel the need of holding an event as a regular annual feature and this has been transformed into action with the title of “Hamara Karachi”.

The festival, he said, will spotlight the very bright image of Karachi.

He said that various activities have been planned as part of wide ranging programme of Hamara Karachi festival to be participated by all segments of Karachi’s population.

He said the Festival has been finalized with the completion of a “Thinking Process” with the objective of reviving the culture and history of people of this city through their full participation in the varied programmes.

Addressing the press conference Naib Nazim Nasrin Jalil pointed out that on completion of 75 years of old KMC building, its platinum jubilee will be observed on January 16, 17 and 18 and will from part of the overall programme of Hamara Karachi Festival. She said that President Pervez Musharraf has given his consent to participate in the Festival programme.

Nasrin informed that a registered society, with governor as its patron and consisting of notables. has been formed to monitor the festival activities while a special cell also being setup in old KMC building where people belonging to various walks of life can contact with reference to their participation in different programmes.

She said that main highlights of the festival programmes will include a drama “Azadi Ka Mujrim” to be staged at Khaliqdina Hall for 10 days in the backdrop of trial of Maulana Mohammed Ali Jauhar, the Sea Festival which is being held regularly for the last few years, conversion of Burns Road into a Food street for 15 days, free film shows etc.

Naib Nazim said that various competitions have started among children of government and private schools and those selected in these competitions would take part in the finals during Hamara Karachi celebrations.

In all the Towns, she said, school bands would give perform at important city points and thoroughfares while a grand walk would also be held with public participation besides special programmes for children at Karachi Zoo and a children festival at Old KMC Building.

She made it clear that Hamara Karachi festival is being celebrated by citizens of Karachi and in no way it is a function of any organization, city or provincial governments.

Nasrin Jalil informed that Pakistan Post Office is issuing a commemorative stamp for the occasion. She said that String Band will perform daily for four days and so will be Najam Shiraz giving his group’s performance.

She said the Corps Commander has agreed to hold a polo match in Malir for citizens of Karachi as part of Hamara Karachi festival.

She said that a web site of Hamara Karachi will be ready within few days providing all relevant details of festival programmes.

Governor Dr Ebad explained that various segments of this festival programmes will be carried to interior of Sindh in various districts where events commensturating with the peculiarities of those districts will be held.

He explained that the event is being organised for greater harmony, peace and a conducive environment and in this regard he particularly referred to Koocha-e-Saqafat programme which is still continuing and contributing to these factors.

During Hamara Karachi festival, he said, important buildings would be profusely illuminated while heritage buildings renovated like Kothari Parade and Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim.

KARACHI: City Naib Nazim Nasreen Jalil has said the Hamara Karachi festival will help improve the image of Karachi at the international level and urged the citizens to take part in the development and beautification projects of the city.

She was talking to newsmen during her visit to various towns, where movies were showcased in connection with the Hamara Karachi festival on Monday. She called on every citizen to own Karachi as his/her city and work for its progress and development.

Meanwhile, a meeting was held under the chair of Local Bodies Minister Muhammad Hussain, which was attended by officials of all districts. It was discussed in the meeting that people and representative of all districts governments will participate in the ongoing Hamara Karachi festival to mark the completion of 75 years of the Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) building.

People from each district would display their products and perform cultural shows on Jan 15, 16 and 17 at China Ground, Kashmir Road. Members of all district governments have already started reaching the city.

Muhammad Hussain said that the basic objective of the festival is to provide an opportunity to people to represent their districts in the capital of Sindh, by displaying their products including handicrafts, potteries, clothes and women’s items.

It is for the first time that the district governments of the province are participating in a festival, taking place in Karachi. The minister said that all kinds of fruits being produced in interior Sindh will be put on display along with a variety of flowers as flower growers have shown keen interest in displaying their flowers.

Kolkata Mayor Subrata Mukhrjee and his wife, New Delhi Municipal Corporation Chairperson Sindhushree Khullar, Houston State Council Member M.J. Khan and his delegation would attend the main events of the platinum jubilee celebrations of the old KMC building, ‘Hamara Karachi Festival’ that will start from January 6.

City Naib Nazim Nasreen Jalil announced this at a press conference at her office Wednesday. Jalil said that the main purpose of organizing such events was to bring the citizens closer and create harmony and peace. The main programs would be held at the KMC building on January 16, 17 and 18.

President General Pervez Musharraf had appreciated the CDGK’s plans for the festival and hoped that it would be successful, she said. She praised multinational corporations for participating, and said that the Pakistan Post Office was issuing commemorative stamps to mark the completion of 75 years of the KMC Building.

Some programs would be held at town administration and union council levels on January 10, 11, 12 and 13. A play “Azadi Key Mujrim” (Criminals of Freedom) would be presented at Khaliqdina Hall from January 9 to January 18 (tentative dates). During the festival, 54 programs and events would be held across the city. Some of the important programs are: Indo-Pak Musharia at Annu Bhai Park on January 6, display of archival material at KMC Building from January 16 to 18, visits of historical buildings from January 8 to 18, polo match at Malir Cantt on January 14, a film festival at nine cinema houses from January 6 to 12, a film festival at the Arts Council from January 14 to 18, food streets from January 8 to 18 at Burns Road, Hasan Square, North Nazimabad, Korangi, Landhi, an interfaith evening at the KMC Building on January 16 that would be attended by Hindus, Christian and Parsis, a Military Police Rider show, a Sindh Cultural Show at Expo Center on January 16 to 18, a women’s convention and workshop at PC on January 9.

The foundation stone of the KMC Building was laid on December 14, 1895. The construction work was completed on December 31, 1930. It was formally inaugurated on January 7, 1932.

Kolkata Mayor Bhattacharya Ranjan, who arrived here to participate in ‘Hamara Karachi’ celebrations, said that such events would bring the people of the two countries closer. Ranjan commended the efforts of the City District Government Karachi for preserving the old buildings of the city which have historical importance and was impressed by the hospitality accorded to him and other officials from India. “I have found Karachi a very interesting city,” he observed.