Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) In an effort to honour, a brave son of the soil, Ajoka theatre is holding a dramatic reading of historic play “Porus the Great” on Saturday 20th February. The play highlights the heroic resistance of legendary Punjabi ruler Raja Porus against the western invader emperor Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great is remembered as one of the greatest conqueror of all times who never tasted defeat during his decades of wars in Europe, Africa, Middle East and Persia, until he was stopped at the Jehlum (Hydespes) River by valiant Raja Porus, in 327 BC.
The play was originally written by Jean Racine, a major 17th Century French playwright, on the historic battle between Alexander and Porus. Unlike other Western writers and historians, Racine takes a balanced approach to the clash of these titans and Porus emerges as the patriotic and gallant hero in the play. The cast of the play includes Usman Raja as Porus, Omar Bhatti (Sikandar), Aisha Khan (Akshiana), Anam Jalil (Cleophila) , Zubair Sajid (Raja Ambhi) and Rizwan Riaz (Hipvestian). The set and lights have been designed by Nadeem Mir.
While sharing the details of the play, Ajoka Executive Director Shahid Nadeem revealed that “for us in Punjab and South Asia, Porus is the heroic figure of resistance to Western invaders and the first and foremost legendary freedom fighter. His towering personality, his brave forces and his sense of national pride make him a source of inspiration for the present-day Punjabis and Pakistanis. Ajoka has tried to honour and reclaim its heroes through its plays like Dara, Kabir, Bulha, Raja Rasalu and Bhagat Singh. “Porus, The Great” is another milestone in this journey of discovery of our roots and honouring our national heroes.
He added that play is also a tribute to Jean Racine for presenting Porus as he was and not as the Western historians painted him. He said Ajoka acknowledges Noor Ilahi Mohammad Omar the early 20th Century writer, who translated the play into Urdu and also thankful to Farrukh Sohail Goindi, the devoted Porus fan, for providing the Urdu version of the play with a forward by Humaira Ashfaq.