Not a single eye was dry among the 200-strong audience at the Gandhi Smriti auditorium in the Indian capital when a Pakistani troupe performed a dance drama – bringing a message of peace and friendship.
The programme started with a tribute to the victims of the Mumbai serial blasts, and showcased a feminist drama Jang Ab Nahi Hogi (There won’t be a war now), directed by Sheema Kermani and Anwer Jafri from Tehrik-e-Niswan (a women’s movement) based in Karachi.
“It is an attempt to bring peace and stability in both the countries. It spreads the message of love and serenity by sidelining war,” said Kermani, a classical dancer, teacher and drama artist.
The programme kicked off with Kermani’s gut-wrenching fusion of dance, a performance based on poems by the famous Urdu poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Punjabi Sufi poet Bulleh Shah. The fusion was followed by the play, an anti-war drama based on Aristophanes’ Greek classic Lysistrata.
The story revolves around the conflict between two tribes – Khaebani and Phool Machhi. The women of the two tribes, fed up with the conflict, work together to bring peace, underlining the central theme – the destructive nature of patriarchy.
“Such programmes are needed at this time by society to spread peace and harmony. They dispels destructive notions like war and terrorism, and send a positive message to both the countries,” said Tara Gandhi, president of Gandhi Smriti – a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi.
Meera Singh, a 34-year-old housewife who came to watch the play, said, “It is surprising how a play written thousands of years ago is still so relevant. We were spellbound and appreciate this effort to promote peace.”
Meanwhile, echoing the message of peace, Jafri, co-director of the play, said that India is like a second home for Pakistanis.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2011.