Filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy Presented with the Crystal Award

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  • Topic: Pakistan, Punjab, Punjabi language
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  • Published : January 31, 2013
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Academy Award winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy was presented the ‘Crystal Award’ by Hilde Schwab at the 2013 World Economic Forum meeting for her efforts in promoting human rights and women’s issues through film. The award was given at the official Crystal Award ceremony held at the World Economic Forum Congress Centre, Congress Hall in Davos, Switzerland. The World Economic Forum introduced the Crystal Award in 1995 to honour personalities who are highly regarded as both cultural leaders and global citizens committed to improving the state of the world in Alongside Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, the session awarded Charlize Theron, actress and founder of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project and Vik Muniz, artist and member Global Agenda Council, on the Role of the Arts in Society. The ceremony was chaired by Hilde Schwab, Chairperson and Co-Founder, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. Past winners include A R Rahman, Amitabh Bachan, Muhammad Ali, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Richard Gere. Speaking at the event after receiving her award Chinoy said, “I am humbled by the opportunity to represent Pakistan on such a prestigious platform. The Crystal Award embodies the sentiments that guide my work as a filmmaker, and I firmly believe that the pursuit of art and film can change the world by promoting dialogue and acting as a catalyst for change.” LAHORE: For decades, their practice ring honed the talent of Pakistan’s most famous wrestling family. Today, it is their graveyard, a fitting symbol of the decline of the sport traditionally known as ‘kushti’. IN PHOTOS

The Bholu brothers are buried next to a centuries-old Banyan tree to the side of their former ring. Sweepers clean the mausoleum, but otherwise the compound of a mud court, abandoned gym and small decayed garden is eerily quiet. Government neglect and poverty has helped consign the glorious feats of Pakistani wrestlers, locally called ‘pehlwan’, to fast-fading memory. Only a handful carry the torch for the next generation and few command the thousands of spectators of days gone by. From 1954 to 1970, Pakistan won 18 wrestling gold medals in the Commonwealth Games, five at the Asian Games and a Bronze in the 1960 Olympics. There was a gold at the Asian Games in 1986 and two in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, but apart from that, international victories have all but dried up. Rings that once thronged with thousands of spectators are now silent. “I can’t speak about wrestling, it hurts me,” said Abid Aslam Bholu, whose late brother Jhara was the last of the Bholu family to win titles. The legacy ended there, with Abid instead choosing a career in business as wrestling faded. “We’ve lost all the glory and it’s painful to recall the golden days.” The family were wrestlers since 1850. The golden generation – brothers Bholu, Azam, Aslam, Akram and Goga – practiced opposite the independence monument in the eastern city of Lahore and behind the shrine of a famous sufi saint. On the worldwide exhibition circuit, they were champions.

Bholu challenged American wrestler Lou Thesz and India’s Dara Singh – both world champions – in 1953, although neither accepted. In 1967, he offered 5,000 British pounds to anyone in the world who could beat him and that same year won the World Heavyweight Title fight against Anglo-French heavyweight champion Henry Perry in London. Aslam and Azam enjoyed victories against champions around the world in the 1950s while Akram was nicknamed Double Tiger in 1953 when he beat Ugandan champion Idi Amin. Jhara, who died in 1991 at 31, was the last big name in the family. Abid has a construction business, a money exchange office, a modern residential development on the edge of the Lahore-Islamabad motorway and an import-export firm and earns more than he ever could from wrestling. “There is no respect for the wrestlers now, there is no more money in the game, so why should one wrestle,” he told AFP. “Staying at number one is difficult. And when you...
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