Banning of Basant the Most Damaging Degradation of Cultural Events
Columnist Hamid A Rashid describes the importance of pluralism through cultural integration in the society by celebration each other’s festivals. He writes:
Basant is significant for many reasons, not least that it is a centuries-old cultural tradition of Punjab that cuts across all lines of society, religion, caste and creed. In many ways, the universality of the festival makes it symbolic of the culture of tolerance and diversity that the subcontinent was once known for. The upkeep of this festival is particularly crucial for Pakistan and Lahore specifically. Consider: in a
society as polarised and fragmented as ours, the need to focus on events and issues that bind us together is not just important, it is an existential imperative. Since there is no counter-narrative either in the form of media outreach or social events to which the majority of the populace subscribes, the country remains mired in a cycle of conservatism with no credible cultural opposition. And while Basant has been banned ostensibly for security reasons, its banning will undoubtedly strengthen the lunatic fringe that considers the festival a Hindu/Un Islamic event and our culture as a mere extension of their version of Islam.