Interesting events during first week of February 2018
Women’s Action Forum event at PNCA, Islamabad.
On February the 1st was a program by Sheema Kirmani, she is owner of the Tehreek-e-Niswan which is in Karachi and performs all over the country. She was participating in an event by the Women’s Action Forum at the PNCA. All attendance was free and by invitation. (I’d really love to know how the financial logistics of such an event are worked out!) Sheema is such a personality and dancer that her name alone insures a packed hall. So, of course, it was a packed hall. My friend Nili Hafeez invited me for it, and even opted going earlier to ensure the best seats.
There was no classical dance as such. However, it was all about women’s rights and how much cruelty is ‘bestowed’ upon her through no fault of hers. Right from the time of her birth, when people get sad at finding out her gender, to the education where she isn’t given equal education to her brothers, to her wedding, when she isn’t even asked about the choice of a life partner.
The wedding itself where all her rights are usurped by the Qazi by cutting out her right to divorce; to the treatment of her by the society in case she does divorce her husband. The cruel ‘tradition’ of not giving a woman her rightful inherited property, nor her other rights given by her religion. When she goes out to work, she doesn’t get equal pay from her employers. On top of that, she is sexually harassed. These plays are acted out in small villages and towns around Karachi by the group. It was all in Urdu language, and started with a Qawwali by the group of women. Though they had a few men in their team, all of them spoke out about the appalling status of women in Pakistan, who are made to suffer at all socio-economic levels. There was song, and dance and mime, and entertainment, while throwing light on all these sad facets of our society. There was even a bit of humor. The acting was really good. Each actor was doing his or her bit with all her or his heart. There was complete stress on how a woman’s life in this area is a constant spate of injustice upon injustice at all levels in the society.
What I really liked was that while throwing light upon the various sad aspects of a woman’s life, the performance showed women how to fight for their rights at all levels and in all situations. It was definitely solution oriented. They showed women how to get out of their stigmatized roles in the society, by speaking out and saying a loud ‘No’ to the men in their lives. If a hand is raised to hit, then to catch and stop that hand, if her pay is being used up by the entire household she has to speak out against that also. So, I loved the performance and it reminded me of my father’s words: In our country we cannot afford ‘art for art’s sake’. We have to have each art performing a function and a purpose. Kudos to the whole team of Tehreek-e-Niswan, and Women’s Action Forum for makingthis memorable presentation at PNCA, Islamabad.
Kishwar Naheed was there too, and together with the CEO they remembered how on February 12th many years ago, in Lahore, they had even suffered being jailed and being tear gassed by the police for standing up for Womens’ Rights on the Mall road of Lahore.
One came out feeling good. Meeting Sheema Kirmani on the way out was a pleasure, she has agreed to be interviewed, on her next trip. She has assured us that she will perform her classical dance during her next visit in April.
Annual paintings’ exhibition of Generation Rahi at AQS on February 2nd 2018:
Generation Rahi is the group of artists in Islamabad who are students of Mansoor Rahi and Hajra Mansoor. Since 2014, they have been holding their annual exhibition at AQS gallery, every year. It is a grand show. This time 23 artists participated. Of course you know, I’m also a member of this group. We put up fresh work and the impact was even greater. It came on television also and the chief guest was High Commisioner of Bangladesh Tarek Ahsan. Here are some pictures from the event. I don’t think I need to say anything else now.
Last episode of Baaghi:
It was a very ambitious project. Considering the fact that the story of Qandeel Baloch is still fresh in people’s minds, to make a serial on her was a daring step. But the team was well equipped. Saba Qamar, Sarmad Khoosat, Irfan Khoosat and specially
Screenplay by Umera Ahmad, Direction by Farooq Rind, Written by Shazia Khan, Produced by Nina Kashif.
Each member of the cast and I mean each one of them absolutely surpassed all expectations. The production was high class. The detailed and sensitive way in which a very complicated and culturally mercurial subject was rendered, was executed in a very believable manner. One kept wondering when a single flaw would occur…. It didn’t. Saba’s acting wasn’t acting at all. She was Qandeel ! Yes, what I really appreciated even more was the fact that in spite of the fact that the actual personality did skip certain norms by wearing low cuts, Saba gave a convincing performance without giving in.
Words just fail me, when it comes to praising this production which has been another climax in Pakistani television dramas. It is another high! – Loved every episode of it. Though the way the killing was done, it showed other ‘would-be-killers’ how easily it can be done! The fact remains, it was a beautiful production and the cast and team can rest assured they have surpassed people’s expectations and produced a block buster.
Note: videos and photographs courtesy my friends Neeli Hafeez, Yasmin Aziz, Saleha, and rest of my group. Video of Baaghi and tv news coverage of our event courtesy YouTube.
I realize this blog should have been put up earlier, however, I was upset about the passing away of my dear friend Shahida Apa. Stay blessed my lovely ones. Life is precious and every minute counts. We have to remain positive in all circumstances. 🙂 And we must say a big Alhamdolillah to our Maker for making life worthwhile for all of us, in spite of the sad losses of our loved ones…