Festival seeks to discover identity
KARACHI, Aug 12: A play titled Jinnay Lahore Nahin Vakhya kicked off the four-day Shanaakht Festival at the Arts Council here on Saturday. The festival will conclude on Independence Day.
Organised by the Citizens Archive of Pakistan (CAP), the festival features photo and art exhibitions, documentaries, plays and talks centred on the theme of identity.
Jinnay Lahore Nahin Vakhya, performed by Sheema Kirmani and the Tehreek-i-Niswan group, played to a packed auditorium. The story centres on a real-life incident in post-partition Lahore of a family who migrates from Lucknow.
After having spent several months in refugee camps they are allotted a house, which they later discover is occupied by the matriarch of the previous Hindu family that lived there. She refuses to leave and while she is there, the ownership of the house cannot be transferred to the new occupants.
The play sees them adapting to an amicable life together, but they are confronted with trouble from the neighbourhood thugs who object to the old woman’s presence on the basis of her being a non-Muslim.
The play was well-received and the cast and crew were given a rather long standing ovation.
On Sunday, the second day of the festival, documentaries such as The Last Days of the Raj and Beyond Partition were screened in the auditorium. A storytelling session by Hameed Aliani (grandson of the Jam of Lasbela) and Haji Isa was also held in the courtyard.
But the event that marked the second day was a talk held by Ayesha Tammy Haq, in which she invited six other guests, out of which five showed up.
What was heartening, other than the personal accounts of the guests themselves, was the participation of the audience towards the discussion where some asked questions and others shared their opinions on partition as well as other aspects related to it.
During the remainder of the festival documentaries such as Mark Tully’s Face of India and Stones of the Raj will be aired, while a storytelling session by Anwar Maqsood and Moin Akhtar will also feature.
Founded by documentary film-maker and journalist Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, CAP consists of Sarah Taher Khan, Omar Rahim, Amean Jan Mohammad, Durriya Kazi, Minal Rahimtoola, Sabeen Mahmud and Altaf Qureshi.