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November 6, 7, 8, 9, 2009
November 11, 12

SAARC FOLKLORE FESTIVAL was organized by the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature (FOSWAL) on 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12 November 2009, in Chandigarh and Shimla, with the aim of bringing together scholars, researchers and practitioners of Folklore in the eight countries of the region as part of a long-term plan to do a lot of research and exploratory work in the area.


The Festival was divided into two parts, Academic Seminar and Folk Performances.

Folk Performances were held every evening at the Tagore Theatre, Chandigarh as the main venue, besides several other venues (given below) during the day, where performances created a keen awareness of Folklore in all the eight SAARC Countries:

? MCM Girls College, Sector 36, Chandigarh
? Government College, Sector 46, Chandigarh
? Air Force Station, Chandigarh
? Shivalik Public School, Mohali
? HQ Western Command, Army, Chandi Mandir
? 3 BRD Air Force, Chandigarh
? DAV College for Women, Sector 36, Chandigarh
? Government College for Girls, Sector 14, Panchkula

The Festival was formally Inaugurated on 6th November at Tagore Theatre with LIGHTING of the INAUGURAL LAMP by Hon’ble Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana Mr. Justice T.S. Thakur. Other distinguished guests were : Excellency Mr. Azizuddin Ahmadzada, Director SAARC, SAARC Secretariat, Kathmandu who was sent by the Secretary General of SAARC Secretariat, Dr. Sheel Kant Sharma, to represent him in the Festival, Excellency Mr. Tariq A. Karim, High Commissioner of Bangladesh in India, who participated with his wife Naghma Karim, Prof. Shamsuzzaman Khan, eminent scholar, Director General, Bangla Academy, Bangladesh, the Representative of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Mohtrima Sheikh Hasina Sahiba, and Mr. R.K. Sharma, Attache SAARC, the Representative of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.

Excellency Mr. Azizuddin Ahmadzada, the Representative of Secretary General
of SAARC Secretariat, lighting the Inaugural Lamp.
H.E. Dr. Tariq A. Karim, Ambassador of Bangladesh joins him.

Arpana Caur being admired by the poet Manmohan Singh Mitwa,
Dr. Abid Hussain, Executive Chairman of FOSWAL, a great diplomat and scholar,
and Dr. B.N. Goswamy, the most renowned Art Historian and Intellectual

Mr. R.K. Sharma of the SAARC Division, Ministry of External Affairs, lighting the Inaugural Lamp.
Excellency Azizuddin Ahmadzada of SAARC Secretariat, Ambassador of Bangladesh and
Chief Justice of Haryana and Punjab High Court join him in the pleasant ceremony.

Prof. Abhi Subedi, eminent scholar, playwright, and poet from Nepal,
lighting the Inaugural Lamp.

Inaugural Event was appropriately the legendry
Baul Singers Shri Purna Das Baul’s group.

The Whirling Darveshs are not confined to Rumi’s Mazaar in Konya, because only they have been introduced to Indian audience.
It was a unique experience to watch the soul-lifting intoxicated dance of Whirling Darveshs, called Malangs, of Shah Hussain’s Mazaar, from Pakistan.
Their was no ‘system’ in their intoxicated madness, which comes only with true union with the inner spirit and with Allah, the Creator !

Excellency the Governor of Haryana Mr. Jagannath Pahadia
lighting the Inaugural Lamp.

Ms. Dolly Guleria, the talented daughter of the Nightingale
of Punjab Surinder Kaur, lost in the depths of Punjabi folk music.

The whole of Tagore Theatre almost overflowing with audience keenly
aware of the uniqueness of the event in their City, Chandigarh.

One of the greatest living Baul Singer Shri Purna Das Baul, and the Governor
Mr. Jagannath Pahadia lighting the Inaugural Lamp. The welcoming ushers are looking on !

The Chief Guest on the 7th evening, in Tagore Theatre were : Hon’ble Home Secretary UT Chandigarh, Shri Ram Niwas, IAS, and the Guests of Honour were the great Punjabi Singer Ms. Dolly Guleria, the leader of the Sufi singers’ group Janab Qadri Sahib, and the great Baul Singer Shree Puran Das Baul.

On the 8th evening, Ms. Ila Arun, Renowned Folk and Cine Artist was the Chief Guest.

On the 9th evening, His Excellency, the Governor of Haryana, Shri Jagannath Pahadia, was the Chief Guest.

The Home Secretary of U.T. of Chandigarh Mr. Ram Niwas lighting the Inaugural Lamp.

In Folk Performances, 23 teams from different SAARC countries participated in the Festival – from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal – and from different regions of India : from Kerala to Kashmir, and from North-East to Punjab, more than 200 Folk Artists, took part in the performances. Each team presented their vibrant, attractive and very colourful folk performance which kept several thousand spectators spell-bound on all the days at the ma