Dozens of Baloch from across Sweden flocked to Stockholm on Saturday to celebrate the Baloch culture with dance performances, singing, exhibition of traditional artefacts, and children tableaus.
The event, initially planned to be held on March 2 to correspond with the Baloch Culture Day, is the first of its kind in Europe.
“It’s going to be an annual thing. We’ll try to hold it on March 2 next year,” said Sara Lashkarzehi, a young official of Pendol, a newly-formed cultural group that organized the event.
Sara and other Baloch youth formed Pendol in 2007 to keep Balochi language and culture alive among the sizeable Baloch community in Sweden.
“We’ll have more time and experience for the next year’s event. It’s going to be bigger and better organized. We’re hoping Baloch living in other European countries will attend too,” Nasreen, another official of Pendol, told Balochistan Times.
The show began with a short speech by linguist Carina Jahani, who urged the audience to speak, read and write in Balochi.
“Language is one of the strongest representations of culture. If you want to keep your culture alive, keep your language alive,” she told a cheering audience.
A professor of Iranian languages at Uppsala University, Carina Jahani has been researching on the Balochi language for over three decades.
She also showcased two children story books in Balochi recently published by the Uppsala University.
The writer of the books, Pemana Mullazehi, also enacted one of the story books along with children beaming with excitement. Baloch singer Rostom Lashari stood in a corner smiling with awe as he watched children singing Balochi poems in chorus.
The liveliest of performances came when six young men and women took to the stage for an electrifying dance performance to the traditional dou chapi beat. Audience clapped and ululated to the point of exhaustion.
The event ended with a buzzy musical performance by Lashari and his Golbang band.