It was nice to see a good number of people turning up to see Tehrik-i-Niswan’s fine performance at auditorium number 2 of the Arts Council held to celebrate World Dance Day as well as to mark World Labour Day on Wednesday night.
What was even more praiseworthy was the fact that the show was dedicated to three outstanding women — Lala Rukh, Madeeha Gauhar and Fahmida Riaz — who are no more with us.
The event started off with a description of Tehrik-i-Niswan’s 40 years of service to the cause of women’s liberation. Then the host invited Prof Nagpal on stage to say a few words. He delivered a moving speech, talking about how one should be happy in life and try and become individuals such as Sheema Kermani (of Tehrik-i-Niswan).
He went on to point out how, despite being born as human beings with same attributes, we are divided and tend to hurt each other on the basis of caste and creed. Underlining Pakistani mentality (Pakistani zahniat) he said the authorities catch the falooda-wallah into whose account billions of rupees are transferred by someone, but don’t catch the person who has transferred them.
Then the show formally started. A short video of the three women, to whom the programme was dedicated, was screened first, highlighting their significance in society.
This was followed by an engaging dance drama, called 'Aao ay hum watano raqs karein', led by Ms Kermani. It was a very thoughtfully worked out piece strewn with narration, dance, poetry, video footage and plausible acting.
The singing voices of the likes of Tina Sani and Gulshan Ara added to the feel of the whole set-up. The narration told the story of the journey that women have undertaken in the history of mankind, and how they have passed through many difficult phases but now that won’t happen.
The use of poetry by Fahmida Riaz in particular was poignant and apt to convey the message that the show aimed to put across. Her poems were nicely woven into the plot, especially when a segment about the black chador was staged, which was swiftly followed by a video of the poem ‘Aseer Shehzadi’.
Both the dance performances that preceded it and the poem sung and insightfully shot video impressed the audience.
The event was organised in collaboration with the Arts Council of Pakistan.
Originally published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2019