The city’s older residents enjoyed a night out on Monday when they gathered for a reunion at the Pak-American Cultural Centre (PACC).
The echoes of laughter rang the hall as excited old men and women took their seats for a screening of Taleem-e-Balighan, a classic social satire that was aired on Pakistan Television (PTV). “We keep organising such events for women, children and senior citizens,” said PACC president Rafiq Tabani. “It is a platform for all of us to enjoy some moments together.”
According to Tabani, PACC has been promoting culture, literature, music and the performing arts for the past 55 years. Its contributions towards shaping our society and spreading smiles are hailed in cultural clubs across the world, he said.
Haider Imam Rizvi, a former PTV producer, recalled the time he spent at the centre. “I came here after a long time but I have lots of memories of this place,” he said. “I have become old now, but I feel like a young man at this place.”
Organisers hope to arrange similar events for all age groups. PHOTO : AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS
The organisers hoped to continue to hold such events, by catering to all age groups, said programme organiser Nasir Saleem.
There were, however, people in the audience who wanted the PACC to play a more productive role. “If you want to do something for senior citizens, establish homes for those elderly persons who cannot take care of themselves,” suggested A Rashid Pai, an audience member. He felt that organising drama screenings does little to help those senior citizens who are in real need.
“Almost every city and town in the West has such homes, both in the public and private sectors,” he said. “The challenge our society now faces is to find ways and means of providing adequate care to the elderly within the cultural and traditional patterns of our family structures.”
After the screening, the audience spent some time playing musical chairs. The evening ended with some tea and cakes as the elderly residents chatted about the city situation.
Taleem-e-Balighan back on screen
The main attraction for the evening at PACC was the screening of Taleem-e-Balighan, written by Khawaja Moinuddin. The drama was originally written in the 1950s, but it was telecast later on PTV.
It has been almost five decades since the drama was aired but it still applied to the rough times the country is going through. Based on the Quaid-e-Azam’s principles of unity, faith and discipline, the story revolved around a madrassa of Taleem-e-Balighan, an educational centre for grown-ups where a teacher educated his students on what he had learned from his teacher. His students were not allowed to ask questions as a sign of respect.
The auditorium burst into fits of laughter when the teacher explains that faith has broken its neck and that quick action must be taken if you want to avoid the same fate for discipline.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2013.