by M RAFIQUE GORAYA
WEB DESK:A 40-member Ajoka Theatre team of actors and technicians crosses the Wagha Border on Friday to participate in the first-ever festival of Pakistani theatre in India, ‘Humsaya Theatre for Peace Festival’, which would open on Monday in Delhi.
The festival will feature four of Ajoka Theatre’s plays including ‘Bulha’, ‘Dara’, ‘Kaun Hai Yeh Gustakh’ and ‘Lo Phir Basant Aee’. The festival is being held by Ajoka in collaboration with a Delhi-based peace organisation Routes 2 Roots.
In view of the current tensions between the two governments and the on-going talks between border security chiefs, the festival has already gained huge media interest in India.
All major newspapers and news agencies including Times of India, Indian Express, Hindustan Times, Statesman, Deccan Herald, Hindu, Naubharat Times, Asian Age and Mail Today have run the stories with interviews of Ajoka’s Shahid Nadeem and Madeeha Gauhar.
The four-day festival will be followed by a seminar on ‘Theatre for Peace’ being held at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University. The speakers at the seminar include Pran Nevile, Usha Ganguli, Bansi Kaul and Kewal Dhaliwal from India and Asghar Nadeem Syed, Madeeha Gauhar and Shahid Nadeem from Pakistan.
Ajoka’s Executive Director Shahid Nadeem said, “We hope that the border chiefs’ talks in Delhi would be successful but irrespective of that, we are crossing the border with the message of peace and goodwill from the people of Pakistan and we are sure our festival will be a big boost for the peace process”.
He regretted that in spite of making promises to facilitate cultural exchange, the governments on both sides have made the visa processes more complex and tedious.
Ajoka’s Artistic Director Madeeha Gauhar said Indians and Pakistanis were bound by history, culture and geography. She said plays to be performed at the ‘Humsaya Festival’ include ‘Bulha’ based on the life and works of Baba Bulleh Shah, story of Mughal Prince ‘Dara’ who was a Sufi, a poet and a believer of religious harmony, a play on the life of Saadat Hassan Manto, ‘Kaun hai Yeh Gustakh’ and ‘Lo Phir Basant Aee’ about the killing of the popular festival of Basant.
“We are taking this high quality Pakistani theatre for the Delhi audience and we are sure they will respond with warmth like they did before,” she added.
Source: Business Recorder