19 Jan, 2022

Punjabi playwright, translator, political activist and founder of theatre group, Punjab Lok Rahs, Akbar Pasha, popularly known as Lakht Pasha or Pashi, breathed his last in Lahore on Monday.

He was laid to rest at Miani Sahib.

Pashi was critically ill for the last two months.

Born in 1946, he trained the youth, labourers and artists during his 76-year span of his life and transferred his left-leaning progressive thoughts to the generations younger to him through his study circles. He spent most of his life in Lahore but the last15 years in district Okara and Sahiwal.

Pashi completed his school education from the Muslim Model High School before moving to the National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore.

During his student life, he was inspired by Prof Mubarak Haider, Prof Eric Cyprian and Dr Naeem of the Philosophy Department of the Punjab University and his political mentor poet Najm Hosain Sayed.

Pashi used Punjabi language for street theatre starting in 1983 with the Punjab Lok Rahs. He believed the people’s theatre must be in people’s language. He was impressed by Safdar Hashmi’s progressive theatre group, Sehmat, that inspired young men and women of his generation due secular values.

Pashi was motivated by Major Ishaq’s struggle for the working class under Mazdoor Kisan Party (MKP).

Pashi translated Gorki’s novel, Mother, from Russian language into Punjabi. The novel is still seeing its publishing.

His famous plays performed by Punjab Lok Rahs included Haneray Da Pandh (A Journey into Darkness), Akhyan (Eyes), Hond Unhond (Being and Nothingness), Ghairat (Honour), Dakait (Dacoits), Ayanay (Kids), Parchi (Vote), Lakeer (Division), Bhulekha (Illusion), Bandiwan (Prisoners), Kurlaat (Screech), Kahani Wali Chri De War (The Story of a Sparrow), Saar & Vajog (Consciousness), Kattan Harray (Weavers), Sam Deo Tey Tael Shahzadi (Sam, the Giant and Oil Princess), Dharo (Injustice), Bati Dharain (Breastfeeding), Panjwan Chiragh (The 5th Lamp), Zanani (The Woman), Daroo (Medicine), Global Village, Rang Badrang (Colour and Colourlessness), Aik Probhera Akhar (An Alien Word).

The published works of Pashi include Punjabi translations of books of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and Alfred Adler.

His admirers are planning to publish his 100-page Punjabi poetry collection and anthology of 76 Punjabi plays.

Originally published in Dawn, January 19th, 2022