The Ajoka Theatre troupe performing a scene from Mera Rang De Basanti Chola — Photo courtesy Ajoka Theatre's Facebook page
The Ajoka Theatre troupe performing a scene from Mera Rang De Basanti Chola — Photo courtesy Ajoka Theatre's Facebook page

A 20-member Ajoka Theatre team comprising artists and technicians left for India through Wagah border on Wednesday to participate in a festival there, says a press release.

The six-day festival is being organised in collaboration with an Amritsar-based theatre group, Manch Rang Manch. During the festival, a total of six plays will be performed at two venues -- Virsa Vihaar cultural centre and Amritsar Art Gallery.

The theme of the festival is “Revisiting Partition” in view of the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Partition and independence.

“This is a declaration that artists reject politics of confrontation and hate and are determined to promote peace between the people of India and Pakistan.” — Shahid Nadeem, Ajoka’s Executive Director

Ajoka team will perform three plays -- Mera Rang De Basanti Chola, Kaun Hai Yeh Gustakh and Anhi Maai Da Sufna. All of the plays are based on real life stories and depict the anguish, pain and suffering of the era of Partition.

Two prominent Indian theatre groups Manch Rang Manch and Chandigarh’s Adakaar Manch will also perform Pul Sirat, Ik Si Manto and Amar Katha during the festival. A seminar on “Partition and Theatre” will also be held on March 20 at the Virsa Vihar. Eminent theatre personalities from India and Pakistan will speak at the seminar.

Before leaving for Amritsar, Ajoka’s Executive Director Shahid Nadeem said: “Holding of an Indo-Pak theatre festival has acquired more significance in view of the ongoing tensions at the border and antagonism between the two governments. This is a declaration that artists reject politics of confrontation and hate and are determined to promote peace between the people of India and Pakistan.”

The festival will be followed by Ajoka’s tour of Indian Punjab where the group will stage its play Anhi Mai Da Sufna (The blind old woman’s dream), which is about the generations separated by the 1947 Partition. The play will be performed in Jalandhar, Patiala, Chandigarh and Amritsar.


Originally published in Dawn, March 16th, 2017

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