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where fashion meets history: A taste of Haryana in Shahput Jat

New Delhi: Sixty-year-old Balkishan was thrilled to watch the folk music and dances from his home state performed at a park right outside his residence in south Delhi’s Shahpur Jat.

Seated along with his four-year-old grand-daughter Saturday evening in the audiences’ enclosure of the park, which was decked up with colourful lights and banners, the retired Delhi Development Authority official said, “I am very excited to watch the ‘nagara’ (a large one-sided drum popularly played in Haryanvi festivals) being played and the Haryanvi dance performed,”

Balkishan was one among many Haryanvis present at the two-day-long Shahpur Jat festival which began Saturday, with events highlighting the history and culture of the state. Shahpur Jat has a 900-years-old history, with roots in Haryana. “Delhi has about 359 villages which have been urbanised, and Shahpur Jat is one among them. Since their agricultural land was taken away after independence, there is a need for the government to think about the people of these villages,” said Saurabh Bharadwaj, MLA from the Greater Kailash constituency.

The tagline for the festival is “where fashion meets history.”

“Through this festival, we want to promote Shahpur Jat as a hub of fashion designers, restaurants and cafes, as well as highlight the legacy of this village which has monuments that are more than 700-years-old,” added the MLA.

The festival has events such as heritage walks organised by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, and walks showcasing the fashion stores in the locality. Folk dances from Haryana, Haryanvi raginis (classical songs), wrestling competitions and performances by neighbourhood children are also part of the festival. Entry is free for all.

One of the highlights of the festival is a fashion show to be held Sunday where village elders will walk the ramp in their traditional attire.

“Apart from those from Shahpur Jat, village elders from Sheikh Sarai, Jamroodpur and Chirag Dilli will walk the ramp wearing the turban that is unique to their village. The idea is to encourage entrepreneurs to invest in these villages,” said Bharadwaj.

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