Exotic Mujra dance at Pakistan’s Independence day event triggers controversy


Lahore — Pakistanis celebrated 76th Independence Day on Monday with the exotic Mujra dance performance with obscene moves, which has ignited a heated discussion about cultural appropriateness of the ‘Islamic Republic’.

In the video, it is claimed that the Mujra dance performance took place in the presence of huge pictures of General Asim Munir and Pakistan’s founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, as depicted on the stage.

The caption accompanying the video by Major Gaurav Arya reads, “I am informed that Pakistanis celebrated the creation of an Islamic homeland with a Mujra as Jinnah and Gen Asim Munir looked on, approvingly. This is Riyasat-e-Madina 2.0 Pakistan style”.

The video has triggered a broader debate about the preservation of cultural heritage and the evolving nature of national celebrations. Supporters argue that Mujra dance has an integral role in Pakistan’s cultural history and should be celebrated as part of the nation’s diverse traditions. They believe that cultural expressions should not be suppressed in the name of religious or moral values.

On the other hand, critics argue that the event undermines the sanctity of the occasion and sends conflicting messages about national identity.

Originating during the Mughal rule, Mujra was performed in mehfils (gatherings) and special houses known as kothas. In cities like Delhi, Lucknow, and Jaipur, this art form flourished and became a cherished tradition, often passed down from generation to generation.

During its heyday, Mujra was considered a family art, with knowledge and skills transmitted from mother to daughter. 

In the historical Heera Mandi neighborhood of Lahore, which thrived during the Mughal Empire, the profession of Mujra was a unique blend of art and exotic dance. The performers of Mujra often had the honor of serving as dancers among Mughal royalty and wealthy patrons.

In Pakistan, modern Mujra dancers are commonly seen entertaining at various events like weddings, birthday celebrations, and bachelor parties. 

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