This week 50 years ago: Oldest craftsman, Rajput women and exhibitions.

IT'S been often said that our society is fast losing its pluralistic values. Some of us are not sure how true it is. But what can be said with a great deal of certainty is that not too long ago Karachi was known for celebrating its diverse sociocultural landscape. Here's a measure of it.

On the evening of Nov 20, as reported in Dawn on Nov 21, to greet the Hindu New Year through the language of song and dance, the Rajput women residing in Karachi presented an engrossing two-hour programme at Katrak Hall. Provincial Minister for Excise, Taxation and Industries Kassim Abbas Patel was the chief guest at the event, which was held under the auspices of the Shri Surti Meyavat Rajput Mahila Mandal.

The event opened with a rhymed welcome in Gujarati and a sprinkling of Sanskrit read out by Mangla Rupchand. Mrs Urmila Manji Parmar, secretary of the mandal, then delivered the formal welcome address. After the formalities, the function brightened up with Gujarati folk dance, Garbi. Mass Pushpa Yadav sang two patriotic songs in Urdu as well. A pop band was thrown into the mix to give a modern flavour to proceedings and a large number of youngsters in the hall received it with a good round of applause.

The next day, Nov 21, the oldest craftsman in the city, 67-year-old Sufi Mohammad Suleman, was invited to inaugurate the Pakistan Handicraft Shop set up by the Provincial Industries Ministry. He confidently cut the ceremonial tape, which was watched with interest, among others, by Mr Kassim Patel. The shop at Preedy Street had been renovated to attract more buyers. Sufi Suleman was known to be a wizard in woodcraft and inlay-work who had thus far trained about 200 persons in...

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