Reliably putting a UNESCO world heritage site at great risk, the much awaited Sindh Festival just kicked off in Mohenjo-daro. The festival is generally regarded by common people across Sindh as that one gathering of fashionistas, musicians and socialites that will do away with all of Sindh’s (and Pakistan’s while we’re at it) problems with the power of auto-tuned fusion tracks by Annie Princess and the latest collection by Deepak Perwani. With those credentials it is no surprise that the festival’s logo is a reclaimed Superman symbol. After all, for the life-saving messiah that the 2-week event is, nothing short of a quintessential American icon would do.

In all Seriousness

This ‘festival’ is nothing more than a cruel practical joke in the face of the plight that this country and its people go through every day.

It seems like an attempt to score more favorable publicity for the latest generation of the political dynasty with the masses of the country. In other words, a PR campaign to help the kids shed their ‘unconcerned, uninvolved’ image and associate themselves more closely with the problems of this country. But obviously, taking a stab at ACTUAL problems – like rampant injustice – is far too much effort and clearly out of scope for a mere PR campaign. So why not pretend to solve more agreeable problems? For example, the Sindhi people’s lack of proper appreciation of high fashion and fusion music. That’s a serious problem isn’t it? You can’t expect Sindhis to do well in life if they can’t even understand the artistic juxtaposition of a rocking Annie Princess performance atop the crumbling ruins of Mohenjo-daro, can you?

The rich, bored kids running the show here can be blamed for the rampant shallowness on display under the guise of a festival as much as they can be expected to understand how life and problems go in Pakistan. For them, it is just another party. It’s just that this time the theme is local and the scale a little grander. Heck, they even invited the lowly common people to the party. And then there is the celebrity troupe that has jumped right onto the bandwagon and acts like minions, paying respects to His Royal Highness BBZ at the end of every sentence or so.

Arguably, the protection of their culture and identity is the least of Sindh’s people’s worries right now, and rightly so. In a country where inflation is skyrocketing, employment figures nose-diving, and a security landscape that seems to worsen by the minute, the people are naturally more concerned about staying alive and feeding their families than they are about the fading popularity of ajrak motifs in local fashion designers’ recent collections.

This ‘phenomena’ is easily understood by a well-known psychology model, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. When basic necessities like food and security are not met, appreciation of culture is not exactly the priority of people. It’s really as simple as that.

But hey, who cares. Here’s to rowdy concerts and snooty fashion catwalks doing away with myriad problems like poverty, target killing, lack of justice, et cetera.

najwat rehmanby Najwat Rehman

While he wears many hats, Najwat is a design thinker at the core. He loves anything and everything to do with design and has a special interest in branding and user interaction/experience design. He is also the Founder & Editor of The Desi Design.