Pakistan (Qasim Ali)
Sikh delegates and civil services trainees attend Ajoka performance Lahore Shahid Nadeem’s book of Urdu plays “ Hum Dekhain Gae” was launched at a book launch ceremony held on the last day of the Pakistan Literature Festival. Alhamra Hall 3 was packed with drama and culture enthusiasts who listened to a distinguished panel consisting of Professors Shaista Sirajeddin and Asghar Nadeem Syed as well as the author himself. Professor Shaista, a highly respected scholar and former head of Punjab University English Department, in her opening remarks, talked about Nadeem’s transition from a radical student activist to an acclaimed playwright while eminent poet and playwright Asghar Nadeem Syed spoke about the repressive regime of General Zia ul Haq and establishment of Ajoka Theatre as a platform for dissent and democracy. Shahid Nadeem said all the plays in the collection have been performed in Pakistan and abroad and the purpose of publishing them was to make them available for those want to read, perform or research. Later, Shahid Nadeem signed copies of the book. The book includes internationally acclaimed “ Dara”, about Sufi Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh, recently adapted and produced by z London’s National Theatre; “Dukhini”, about trafficking of Bangladeshi women to Pakistan, which has been performed all over South Asia; “Dushman”, an adaptation of Ibsen’s “ An Enemy of the People”; “Dekh Tamasha” on religious extremism and “Saira aur Maira”, based on cases fought by the Late Asma Jahangir. The book is available from Ajoka Theatre and Sang Publications. Ajoka also gave a special performance of its famous play “Anhi Mai Da Sufna” at Alhamra. Written by Shahid Nadeem, the play revolves around stories of people who were separated from their loved ones during the 1947 partition. The cast included Razia Butt, Nadeem Abbas, Sarfraz Ansari, Mohammad Qaiser, Usman Zia, Fahad Hāshmï, Shehzad, Bilal, Rania, Rabil, Sumavia, Yusra, Haifa and Anish. A group of over 200 trainees of the Civil Services Academy and their faculty attended the performance as part of their sensitisation to meaningful art and culture. A delegation of about 45 Sikhs from California also attended the performance as special guests. Director of Civil Services Academy Ms Ayesha Tareen thanked Ajoka for the performance. Vicky Singh of Sikh Lens, California commended Ajoka artists for a meaningful and powerful play.
The play will also be performed on the opening day of the Faiz Festival on 17 February in Alhamra Hall2.