Conference 2013

CULTURAL ROOTS OF ART AND ARCHITECTURE

OF THE PUNJAB

The Indus Valley, our home, has a living history since the end of the last Ice Age and the beginning of Human Civilization. As the Ice receded and the Earth warmed, about 20,000 years ago, pockets of varying climates were generated wherein humans had to congregate around water sources, usually rivers, and evolve a new social contract to guide their continued survival. The successful experiment of harnessing of natural resources of land, water and fire, through agriculture, attracted other people living in more harsh pockets and the population swelled. Similar instances of people living together creating their own social contracts were generated in China, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Central America.

 

The Indian Sub-Continent at the time, 10-15,000 years ago, comprised three distinct regions i.e., (a) the very large and dense mass of forests covering Ganga Jumna valley into which poured the Brahmaputra from the east and then drained into the Bay of Bengal; (b) the Deccan, drier than the Ganjetic Valley, heavily forested cut up into series of valleys watered by the Narmada, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri rivers with only the coastal strips along the two sides of the peninsula that continued around to the island of Sri Lanka, having ocean-trade-based cultures of sizeable population; and (c) the western region, the Indus Valley, comprising two main rivers, Indus and the Hakra, running parallel with a number of tributaries in the north. The Indus Valley drying faster than the rest fostered the earliest large scale agglomerations to give rise to a unique civilization. Another such area was generated around the River Helmand in the present day Afghanistan which for many centuries was a bridge between the Indus and Mesopotamian centers of culture. In Persia, at the period there developed a number of fertile valleys housing people with their own distinct culture.

 

The Indus Valley attracted vast numbers from all directions who mostly came to settle, avoiding any large scale violence and found enough room and resources to flourish and develop. The Aryans, a people of the Central Asia, escaping the more rapidly drying regions, migrated to India, Iran, and Europe. In India, having settled in the Punjab for a few centuries, they led the march into the Ganga-Jumna valley using fire to clear the forest to create arable land. They also gave birth to social organizations to better exploit the difficult environment which over centuries congealed into the Caste System. The word Punjab ( a Persian word meaning Five Rivers) came into use during the Medieval Period to denote the northern regions of the Indus Valley comprising the areas watered by Upper Indus, Kabul, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej, and Bias, accurately described in the Rig Veda as the Sapta-Sindhu(seven rivers).

 

Comparatively speaking, the Punjab was rich in terms of agriculture produce and cattle, and therefore also attracted invaders and violence. The earliest invaders came from the relatively drier lands of the west, present day Persia, Afghanistan, Central Asia, followed by the Greeks who retreated in face of resistance. The Punjab stopped being the perennial host and began to resist the new comers. That was a major change. Henceforth, the Punjab became a battle ground, yet allowing merchants and travelers in and out of India. They also found time to sing, laugh, read and write to develop a cultural identity of their own.

 

The Punjab has been indeed the melting pot of people and ideas. The native culture was influenced, modified, and developed as a continuous and a linked phenomenon. The Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Sufis, Turks, Afghans, Kashmiris, Brahmins, Rajputs, and merchants of Gujrat and Deccan, contributed to the social ethos of the Punjab. Thus a synthesis of the foreign and local traditions of cultures, started centuries ago has continued to influence, modify and develop the indigenous society of the Punjab. Colonization by the British changed the continuum in a profound manner to leave us as we are today.

The big question therefore is What are we then? What are the Cultural Roots of our Art and Architecture?

 

CONFERENCE BRIEF

FOURTH INTERNATIONAL THAAP CONFERENCE 2013

 

Conference Theme:

People’s History of Pakistan

Held on Dec 06-10, 2013 at 43-G, Gulberg-III, Lahore & University of Gujrat, Pakistan

 

Abstracts Received:

59

 

Papers Presented:

25

 

Publication:

The peer-reviewed research journal ‘Cultural Roots of Art & Architecture of the Punjab’ was published in Nov 2014. Prof. Pervaiz Vandal is the Editor.

 

Additional Information:

Fourth International THAAP Conference was held in collaboration with HEC, University of Gujrat and THAAP in which scholars from Iran, India, Sweden, U.K., U.S.A. and Pakistan presented their papers.

A 5 day conference with supporting events was held as follows:

 

- Art Exhibition at Gallery 39K, Lahore and Dinner.

- Faculty Art Exhibition at College of Art & Design, University of the Punjab, Lahore with exhibition opening by Vice Chancellor, University of the Punjab, Musical Evening and Dinner.

- Students Exhibition at Department of Architecture, University of Engineering & Technology, Lahore and a Dinner.

- City visits to Gujrat and Wazirabad on 4th Day with talks and Lunch at University of Gujrat, organised by Vice Chancellor, University of Gujrat.

- Musical Evening and Dinner at NCA Lahore.

- A visit to Archaeological Site of Harappa, with cultural program organised by Punjab Lok Sujag and Punjab Lok Rahs.

Closing Session at 43-G, Gulberg-III, Lahore and Dinner sponsored by JERS Engineering Consultants Lahore.

 

List of Paper Readers

India

1.  Dr. Amit Ranjan

 Culture and River: A Symbiotic Dependence.

 

2.  Prof. Jasleen Dhamija Phulkari & Bagh

The Punjabi Women’s Creativity

 

3.  Prof. Rajmohan Gandhi

 Clash vs Common Sense

 

4.  Prof. Dr. Balvinder Singh

Head, Guru Ramdas School of Planning, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar

 Historic cities as cultural roots and routes for future:

Experience of an Indian walled city Amritsar

 

5.  Ms. Eesha Thaker

PhD / Research student

Department of Museology

Faculty of Fine Arts

The Maharaja Sayajiroa University of Baroda – Vadodara (Gujarat – India)

 

Ms. Neha Babi

Gujarat, India  Interpreting Culture through Museums: What’s Disappearing? What’s Evolving? What’s to come?

 

Iran

6.  Dr. Taranah Yalda

 Panjabi and Irani Arts and Crafts: Shared Origins for Similar Life Styles in the Same Region of the Eastern World

 

Sweden

7.  Prof. Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed

Who are Punjabis and what is Punjabiyat?

 

USA

8.  Prof. Dr. Rafique Mughal

Professor (South Asian Archaeology & International Heritage Management and Preservation), Boston University, Department of Archaeology

Boston The Origins of the Harappan Civilization: New Evidence from Bahawalpur, Punjab

 

Pakistan

9.  Prof. Aisha Asim Imdad

Artist/Associate Professor, CIIT Islamabad  The Roots of Decorative Motifs of Cholistani Crafts: An Analytical Study

 

10.  Ms. Beenish Tahir

M.Phil-Art History

Textile Design Department, College of Art and Design, Punjab University. Lahore Tentage in Lahore: Continuation of Mughal Tradition

 

11.  Ms. Fakhra Hassan

Thaap, Lahore  Debunking the Third World Woman and Reviving the Indigenous Feminists: A Transnational Feminist Discourse on the intricacies and evolution of Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Punjab – past, present and the hereafter

 

12.  Dr. Ghafer Shahzad

 Stupa vs Sufi Shrine: Legacies of the Buddhist Architecture in Punjab

 

13.  Mr. Husain Abdul Rehman Qazi

 The Grand Trunk Road in Punjab

 

14.  Prof. Dr. Kanwal Khalid

 City of Lahore and Its Cultural Roots during Ghaznavide Period

 

15.  Ms. Mamoona Khan

Head, Department of  Fine Arts,

GPGCW, S'Town Rawalpindi Ashlars Masonry in Puthūhār, and the British Rāj: A Study of the Monumental Edifices

 

16.  Ar. Zahra Ashraf

Chief Architect,

C & W Dept. Lahore

 

Prof. Dr. Neelum Naz

Chairperson/Professor,

Dept. of Architecture, UET, Lahore The Ancient Silk Route: A Cross-Cultural Bridge between Central Asia and Punjab

 

17.  Ms. Sadia Pasha Kamran

Visiting Lecturer Kinnaird College & BNU, fellow research centre, Punjab University, Lahore   Tracing the Development of Bahawalpuri Kundan

 

18.  Ms. Sahar Saqlain

Interior Designer, Lahore An evaluation of timber techniques practiced by the Artisans of Chiniot & Gujrat

 

19.  Prof. Samra Mohsin Khan

Associate Professor,

Department of Architecture & Design

COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad. Tale of the Bazaars; Impact of Cultural Change on Tangible and Intangible Heritage

 

20.  Prof. Dr. Ali Akbar Husain

IVS Karachi  Cultural Attitudes To Nature In Lahore: Pre and Post-Colonial Lawrence Gardens

 

21.  Ar. Bazla Manzoor

Eng. Aqsa Yasin  Evolution of Courtyards in Central Punjab

 

22.  Ar. Taimoor Khan Mumtaz

 The Sacred Roots of Culture in the Punjab

 

23.  Ms. Aiman Chughtai

 Mazaars as Mosaics: An evolution of Islamic Geometric Motifs and their application on the Shrines in Multan

 

24.  Prof. Syed Faisal Sajjad

Associate Professor

Department of Architecture

National College of Arts, Lahore  Public space as a cultural palimpsest

(A case study of Lahore)

 

25.  Mr. Abdullah Qureshi

Artist  The tension between abstraction and representation in Pakistan

 

26.  Ar. Ali Arslan Pasha

Moulding the Red Earth

 

27.  Mr. Osama Ahmed

Punjab’s Architectural Transformations: Indo-Greek Classicism to British Colonial Neo-Classicism