Thatta Kedona

Culture is a Basic Need

Travellers view

One of the first places I came to know after settling down is a village Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka near Okara. The unique claim of the village to international fame is the dolls and toys made by village women that are collectors delight all over the world. Dolls made in the village have travelled to International Dolls Museum in Amsterdam and also have been put on display in the "Themepark" at EXPO 2000 in Hannover (Germany) as one of the 767 worldwide projects - an example of thinking for 21st century. Earlier, the dolls participated in International Toy Fair in Nuremberg. These dolls show how culture goes beyond simple work of art and becomes collaboration among applied and natural sciences as well as other forces that affect our lives.

The murals are painted on the parameter mud walls in the village where doll collectors and people interested in sustainable development and rural heritage from different initiative groups come and stay as paying guests. The village folks still consider cooing crows as symbol of the arrival of the guests. Architectural competitions are held annually when best mud house is selected. The Chief Harappan Explorer Dr. Mark Kenoyer had the place on the jury in competition held last July. Two full time German volunteers, Dr Norbert Pintsch and Dr Senta Siller, and village people are working together to change the life and out look in this peaceful hamlet. Whenever I visited the village, I saw something new, something different, which the villagers do to make difference in a place where they belong.

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posted by Omar M. Ali @ 8:53 AM, , links to this post

Project with purpose

History
The MHP was initiated through SPARC (local NGO) in 2010, but it has a history, which began in 1990 in a village development project (Thatta Kedona) in the district of Okara (Gogera) in southern Punjab.

The mud construction has a long tradition (Harappa) in this region and it is still used extensively in the rural areas. However it has not developed further due to the influences of the city culture. Double storeyed mud constructions are however found very seldom. This although mud housing has many positive-construction biological properties and it is much more energy efficient than constructions of baked bricks and steel concrete.

Purpose of the Project
Purpose of the MHP is to emphasize the usefulness and importance of mud construction in city development.

Usefulness
An attempt is being made in cooperation with architecture students of PU, COMSATS, BNU, NCA and a constructor (Thekedar) from Harappa-Museum to develop solutions on the basis of a traditional mud hut, which would ultimately lead to a change in urban development strategies.

Implementation
As a start, construction was started at the premises of the Peersada Cultural Complex; the mud construction serves as accomodation for the handicraft workers.

In cooperation with SPARC and the DGFK (german NGO's), support through the SES (Senior Expert Service) in Bonn and the German embassy in Islamabad was obtained.

Current Importance
The MHP has gained additional importance due to the consequences of the recent floodings in Pakistan.

Short term aims
Help is necessary. Financial means are to be used effectively, local solutions are to be found, the daily requirements (e.g. hot water, cooking, etc.) are to be considered. Possibilities of using Appropriate Technology are to be explored.

Long term aims
The MHP should be understood as the initial flame and its aim to urgently establish a facility for experimental construction, which requires availability of suitable piece of land.

For various reasons, the implementation has to done in steps. The first steps have been taken.

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posted by Omar M. Ali @ 11:01 AM, , links to this post


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