Sang e Mar Mar: The sorry tale of honour in Pakistan

What’s brilliant about the play is that it uncovers the social connotations that go into the construct of...

Mahwash Badar October 18, 2016
Pakistani dramas have always attracted massive audiences. Their quality and subject matter has always been above par – especially if we consider the dramas that have been produced by our Indian counterparts and compare them with the likes of our classics such as Ankahi, Dhoop Kinaray, Aanch, Tanhaaiyan, Dhuwaan, Alpha Bravo Charlie, Uroosa, Parosi and many more. Since our entertainment industries have always been in some sort of a competition, it is safe to say that India wins with Bollywood and Pakistan wins with its dramas.

Armed with strong scripts, excellent performances, crisp production value and acute directorial skills – Pakistani dramas make an impact on the audiences like no other. Recently, I’ve been seeing a play called Sang e Mar Mar that is set in Swat Valley – it follows the story of two warring clans and touches upon the subject of honour killing.

Mikaal Zulfiqar as Aurang.Photo: Screenshot


What’s brilliant about the play is that it uncovers the various social connotations that go into the construct of ‘honour’. The play doesn’t offer judgment but humanises characters and shows just how powerful the effect of revenge can be.

Kubra Khan as Shireen.Photo: Screenshot

The story also highlights how the jirgas and tribals settle these feuds is beyond the law of the land. For audiences such as myself who were curious to know more about the way these cultures function and what leads to men killing other men and women over honour – it’s a fascinating peek into that world.

Noman Ijaz as Gulistan Khan.Photo: Screenshot

Given the recent events, such as the gruesome and cold-blooded murder of the social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch, by her brother in July 2016, and Pakistan passing an anti-honour killing bill – this drama bears importance and relevance. It shows the audiences just how unfair and one-sided the argument about honour is. It also contributes to the conversation about how the first response to honour is always death or violence.
Mahwash Badar
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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Humza | 3 years ago | Reply | Recommend I agree that Pakistani dramas are not only entertaining but they also provide insight into the nature of our cultures. What I find unusual is when you feign confusion about cultural practices in Pakistan, "For audiences such as myself who were curious to know more about the way these cultures function..." I know you are on record for saying that you think that you are against Pakistan's founding and that you wished your family never moved from India. You are entitled to your opinion in a free society and media but do you not have any idea about honour or rather shame killings in India? Why is India known as the rape capital of the world? Muslim societies including Pakistan worry about unmarried women tarnishing the family name but in India you have the added dimension of caste. There are untold instances of honour killing related to caste issues which is another spin on this problem. Unique to India are the stories of Dalits being killed for speaking, dating or eloping with another caste. For example a Dalit man, Sankar was hacked to death this year in broad daylight as he walked with his higher caste wife in India. Dating itself may not be as much an issue in Indian culture but caste dating is important. An Afghan in North America killed his three daughters and wife in an illegal polygamous marriage for having boyfriends in 2009 which brought the issue to the new in North America. There was no issue with caste or status but the issue of premarital sex and cultural mores. While I agree that Pakistani society needs to do more to stamp out violence carried out in the name of honour, you are mistaken if you think that this violence and more is not there in Indian culture.
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