Danka is a free cultural guide and network in Pakistan, and a strong and independent tool to organize the communication of the cultural events in order to inform the public and establish the essential link between cultural life and public.
The name “Danka” has been derived from a word in Urdu and Hindi meaning drum used for announcement, usually used in the context of announcing something with a drum. In older days, the kings’ messengers used to make a public announcement by gathering people at one place by beating the drums.
Danka aspires to develop a cultural networking spirit, i.e. active co-operation between artists, organizers and the public and cultural management to improve quality of the events, their communication and their organization. From the beginning on it has been an objective to provide the widest range of cultural activities in Pakistan.
The cultural platform, Danka was founded in 2005 as not-for-profit social initiative within the circle of the cultural center “Lahore Chitrkar”, a famous meeting point for artists and musicians back then. It was started with support of the Austrian NGO “proLoka” which designed it as a volunteer project and has been accompanied since then by the same organization.
Danka is mainly a volunteer effort, and depends on the contribution of people sharing the same objectives. As such almost a hundred Danka volunteers have joined Danka since the start. Some of these volunteers were from abroad, some even came especially to Pakistan to work for Danka. Danka has a tradition of employing civil servants from Austria’s auslandsdienst.at
As such the platform was not limited to event-listing only, but also of locations where the events take place and the artists performing and it quickly became a networking and management effort dedicated to assist the cultural organizers and artists in their needs.
In 2011 proLoka developed an entirely new Danka portal, replacing the original website that had grown piece-by-piece, through contribution from volunteers, over the years. The new portal reflects Danka’s strong networking approach where the events uploaded are automatically linked to the venues were they take place and the artists’ pages list upcoming performances as well as their past events.
Today Danka’s activities range from event management, cultural restoration, exchange programmes, performing art classes and technical assistance to consultancy and marketing.
In 2011, Danka employed a more proactive approach by launching new projects supported by Danka itself i addition to - as so far - focusing on the communication and promotion of events.
Danka Trips Danka Trips is a platform that offers a chance to experience the rich culture of Pakistan by visiting various culturally significant spots in person. The project facilitates guided tours to different cultural centres within Pakistan, at subsidized rates, with an aim of cultural restoration and promotion at a collective level.
Women in Culture Women in culture seeks to facilitate the involvement of women in cultural activities through a two-pronged strategy aiming to increase the number of women participation as the audience of art and cultural events as well as to develop and promote the profiles of female artists in Pakistan.
Danka Scholar Danka is working on the launch of another project, Danka Scholar which will provide a platform for people from all walks of life to get an expertise in various performing art forms, at subsidized rates, under the tutelage of renowned musicians, dancers and artists who have been acknowledged as the gurus of the performing arts for many years.
Since the introduction of these new activities, it became more common to refer to Danka as “Pakistan’s Cultural Guide” instead of the previously used term “Pakistan’s Cultural Events Guide”.
While having a focal point in Lahore, its birthplace and the cultural center of Pakistan, Danka is operational all over Pakistan, with an added focus on the other two major cities of Karachi and Islamabad. Events are listed from any city in Pakistan and artist profiles are as diverse as Lahori Kathak Dancers to Painter vom Khyber Agency.