Thursday, December 2

'Within the parameters of our culture'

The Executive Director of the Punjab Council of Arts Tahir Jamil gives an account of the changes being evolved

Tahir Jamil is the Executive Director of the Punjab Council of Arts (PUCAR), which is responsible for chalking out plans for the promotion of the performing arts. This organisation is looking after the affairs of theatres, which fall under its ambit. The PUCAR is a policy and advisory arm of the government. Following are some excerpts from an interview with him:-

"Under the recent plan presented to the Governor of the Punjab Lt-Gen. Khalid Maqbool, Troupe (performers of folk songs and dances, in the field for the last 20 years) would train the aspirant performers in the academies. A day in the village life from dawn to dusk can be one of the themes on which we can work. This excercise is also meant for all folk dances throughout Pakistan. There shall not be any restriction on the teachings of folk dances.

"The PUCAR would patronise and promote arts and crafts - provide infrastructure and hold competitions of dramas, paintings, music etc., identification and promotion of talent at district and tehsil levels within the parameters of our culture. This aims at bringing unity among divergent cultures through the exchange of troupes, which would help in promoting cultural activities. 40 programmes were held on August 14 and 304 programmes during six months on various occasions. Six shops have been purchased in Multan to preserve dying arts and traditioanl crafts. We do not want to restrict to Lahore only.

"We are watchful about theatres and if we are not convinced about their ethical working and violation of code of conduct. We issue notices, scrutinise scripts, watch full-dress rehearsals and go to see performances to ascertain whether the guidelines are being followed. No female dances would be allowed at any cost.

"Amendments in the Theatrical Performances Act 1876 have been proposed to make it compatible with the changed circumstances. But these would be very much part of our culture and traditions, and dances would not be allowed. The motto is: 'An academy to impart education in performing Arts consecrate with the contemporary requirements offering certificate and diploma earning courses.' Classes in painting, music, folk dances, calligraphy, drama, stage plays, and musical instruments would be held. The academy would promote an image of forward looking Pakistan."


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