Archive for March, 2012

Performing Seva Winning Hearts:Pakistan’s Depty AG cleans shoes & utensils at Golden Temple


Pakistan's Deputy Attorney General Muhammad Khurshid Khan


Nothing wins hearts more than True Humility….. Saanjh.wordpress.com
Performing Seva Winning Hearts:Pakistan’s Depty AG cleans shoes & utensils at Golden Temple
By Neeraj Bagga

Pakistan’s Deputy Attorney General Muhammad Khurshid Khan polishes shoes during a visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar on Tuesday. photo: vishal kumar

Amritsar, March 27
He polished shoes for peace. Pakistan’s Deputy Attorney General Muhammad Khurshid Khan believed that selfless service can work wonders. Even that can melt the differences across borders.

Paying obeisance at the Golden Temple and wishing for harmony and peace between India and Pakistan, Khan denounced violent activities in the world.

True to his popularity in doing sewa at Sikh shrines in Pakistan, Khan dusted and polished shoes of devotees at the Joda Ghar at the Golden Temple.

A part of a Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association delegation, which arrived in India on March 21, Khan today arrived here from New Delhi. “During me stay in the holy city, I will do sewa at Joda Ghar (volunteer service of cleaning shoes) at the Golden Temple daily. Besides, I will visit Durgiana Temple tomorrow, a church on Sunday and Mosque on Friday,” he said.

Khan has been involved in volunteer service in various gurdwaras in Pakistan and India to oppose the kidnapping of three Sikh men by Taliban militants in Peshawar in 2010.

Of these abducted Sikhs, one Jaspal Singh was murdered. “It is not limited to atonement and purging for sins of my community members, but it’s the way to spread communal harmony,” he added.

“Being a Pakistani, a Mohammedan and a Pathan, I feel it is my duty to remove the misconception of terrorism tag attached to these names,” he said.

He added that inhuman actions of some frenzied people in the name of Taliban had damaged and tarnished Pakistan’s “pluralistic” heritage where Christian, Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities live together with the Muslim community. He said it was unfair to tarnish a whole community for the sins of a few.

Reluctant to form any kind of organisation to spread the message of peace, he believed that anybody from India and Pakistan could join him. He said his objective was to continue the tradition of paying obeisance at Sikh shrines which started from Peshawar’s Gurdwara Bhai Joga Singh two years back.

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BETWEEN AMRITSAR & LAHORE by Dr. Manohar Singh Gill MP Rajya Sabha


When I was a little boy in Tarn Taran, a doggerel known to every Punjabi was oft quoted: “The man who has not been to Lahore, is not born”. A second lesser known, but often said in verbal jousts ran: The Donkey has been to Lahore, and now puts on airs.

I hadn’t been to Lahore for many years, and thought mid-February the perfect time to visit friends. A night stay at the Guru Nanak University was a pleasure. A better kept campus with rich plantation, can hardly be seen anywhere else. A visit to the Golden Temple, in the mid-day warming sun, was as always exciting: plenty of people from every corner of India, and queues, to get in over the narrow causeway. I talked to many in the Parikarma. Even I was astonished, at the presence of all of India. I met Tamils, Andhrites, families from Odisha, others from Bihar and Bengal. This was just a sample. Everything sparkled in the bright sun and clear air, and the mood was one of joy.

Manohar Singh Gill, Member Parliament

The drive to Attari-Wagha was interesting. The many laned road is perfect. Just out of Amritsar, was the bronze statue of Sardar Sham Singh Attariwala. Thirty years ago as a young Commissioner, I dreamt of putting up such monuments, but the time was not ripe. On both sides of the road, I saw excellent wheat, and the yellow mustard of Mulk Raj Anands’ short stories.

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At the Attari Border, I saw hundreds and hundreds of laden trucks, waiting to cross over. I questioned people. They were carrying many kinds of vegetables. I asked of the waiting time, and was horrified to know, that it is generally a week, sometimes even more! This is hardly smooth commerce, and I could imagine the suffering of the drivers in the cold, and the loss to the transport companies, in efficient utilization of the trucks. I enquired, if it was as bad on the Pakistani side. I learnt that they were better! Why was this so on our side? It appears that the perpetual Indian curse of distrust, and lack of common sense, leading to the filling of multiple forms, and many many useless enquiries. I am clear from my long experience, that most good policies and reforms, are reduced and sometimes nullified by bureaucrats, who see a devil under every bed, and think that form filling is the solution to it all. The robust Punjabis on the Lahore side, are inclined to use their common sense more, than big rule books. To cap it all, trucks pass from 9A.M. to 2P.M. after that the police on both sides, practice their evening aggressive parade. It is strange that vital commerce is allowed only for a few hours, the rest of the day being given over, to the promotion of aggressive parades and negative attitudes. The fact is both the police and the people are relaxed, and not with this goose stepping.
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I will give a parallel example. The Amritsar-Lahore bus, was started with great fanfare, many years ago. The day I crossed, the bus too had gone to Lahore, entirely empty except for the driver and the cleaner. It seems this happens all the time, and everybody is pretending, that a great confidence building action has been taken. I am from a Tarn Taran village. I had said publically many years ago that the bus will fail, unless there is a Pakistan Visa office in Amritsar, and an Indian one in Lahore. I think they existed, but were shut down after the 1965 war. The bus needs a man from my village, to come to Amritsar in the morning, get a 24 hrs visa stamped, go to Nankana Sahib, and cross back in the evening, dining with his family. Punjab people have to fill half a dozen forms, which are sent to half a dozen Ministries, mainly home and police agencies, and they are lucky if they get a visa in six months! All this to take a day trip to Lahore, 30 miles across the border. The system being followed is meant to nullify the initiative, no less. Strangely more then a thousand rupees are charged for this 30 mile trip.
I will also say, that the Lahore people suffer equally. I could quote numerous examples, of high dignitaries, and professionals begging around our embassy in Islamabad. Their request sometimes, for my help embarrasses me. Pakistanis get a visa to go direct to Delhi, and are not allowed to get down at Amritsar, to visit the Golden Temple, or for cheaper medical treatment, in a familiar Punjabi environment. The Delhi-Lahore bus too, zips through the Punjab, escorted at our cost, but no Punjabi can get on it! I wish somebody would explain the rationale to me.

On the Pakistan side, many people welcomed us, and we stayed with Cambridge friends. In 1974 Dr. Rashid Amjad, newly married, was doing a Ph.D. in Cambridge, when I was writing a book, on the Punjab Green Revolution Success. He is the only case that I know, who got married to a pretty girl, took her to Cambridge, and still managed to study other irrelevant matters, and somehow get a Ph.D.! Manzoor had worked with me in Nigeria for four long years, but never given up the Rishta. The Mall Road and the wide thorough fares were a delight. The Silk cottons, were already bursting into potential blooms, ancient plane trees touching the sky were everywhere. For centuries Punjabis have lived with invaders, and the doggerel is known to all of us : Khada Peeta Lahe Da, Baaki Ahmad Shahe Da. Eat and drink what you can, the rest belongs to Ahmad Shah Durrani. So every evening there had to be a massive meal hosted by a gracious lady. One evening we were taken to Andaaz Restaurant in Old Lahore, overlooking the beautifully lighted Badshahi Mosque, Ranjit Singh’s Tomb, and the Akbar built Fort.

Of course, I played a round of Golf. I could not compete with the idle of Lahore, distinguished high public servants they might have been, but I did not disgrace myself. In the pavilion Verandah, I found four old bodies, tucking into plates of fried eggs, tomatoes, toasts, cheese and mushrooms. I went across in a wicked mood to greet them. They tried hard to ruin my cholesterol levels, and were anxious to take me to dinner. Another golfer passing by, was introduced to me as a past Federal Secretary. He gave me a knee touching greeting, in honour of the Indian Election Commission’s past work. I had been there once.
In that society of the well to do, I suddenly spied, an Aam Aadmi, a peasant, sixtyish, white Punjabi Chaddar, and white Punjabi Turban in a jaunty village style, that I know. He had a broom and was sweeping tree leaves. He was looking longingly, at the only Sikh on the horizon. I walked across and greeted him. We soon learnt that we were brother Gills. All Punjabi peasants, are Gills, Chatthas, Waraich etc. We are a tribal people from the North, religious variations came to us later, and our past over rides all these. We hugged each other, and numerous photographs were taken. He said I had made his day. I knew that he had made mine.

The next day I went to Kartarpur, some distance from Narowal, two hours from Lahore. People think only of Nankana Sahib, where Guru Nanak was born. My take is different. The miracle child lived his first 15 years at Nankana, the next 15 at Sultanpur Lodhi in Kapurthala, working in the Lodhi Governors office. At age 30, he gave it all up, and became a Sufi Fakir in search of the ultimate. He travelled to Baghdad, Mecca Madina, Assam, Tibet, Sri Lanka and elsewhere. After 20 years of having sat with the Sants, Sadhus, and Sufis of the world, he came back at the age of about 50, set up a Farm on the banks of the Raavi, and spent the next 20 years preaching what he knew. Guru Nanak’s teachings are all from Kartarpur. He passed away there. Muslims and Hindus argued over burial and cremation. As the legend goes, they found only flowers under the Chaddar, and half were buried, half cremated. To me Kartarpur, from where a mature Guru Nanak preached Sikhism, comes first and his place of birth second.
Sadly, in 1947 Independence came to both countries, but marooned the Mecca-Madina of the Sikh people. For the last 64 years, we are allowed limited permission for a few thousand each year, by the Home/Police Ministries of the two countries for pilgrimage only to go to Nankana Sahib, Lahore, and Panja Sahib near Islamabad. Guru Nanak’s Kartarpur was locked away, and it fell into disrepair. Now, the Pakistan Wakf has repaired it, and opened it for limited privileged visitors. In 2004, I had gone to Dera Baba Nanak, a small township, where Baba used to come across the Raavi, from his right bank Ashram, to preach to the people: hence the name Dera Baba Nanak. I stood on the Dhussiband on the Raavi, and saw Kartarpur 2 kms across. I found that Sikh men and women came everyday, in their hundreds, to bow in the mud, cry a little, and go back home. They could only glance at Kartarpur with longing eyes. It is strange that the Sikhs are the only people in the world, who are denied free and liberal access to their Mecca-Madina. I believe that the indifference on both sides, has given this punishment to the Sikhs since independence.

In the early winter morning, we drove across wheat and yellow mustard fields, through the pleasant countryside, passing villages and small settlements. The agriculture is good but frankly could be better. I did not see too many boys, and particularly girls, on the road going to school. In our Punjab thousands of girls on cycles, rushing to lots of schools is a happy sight. I missed that. At Kartarpur we suddenly turned a bend in the road, and there was the Gurdwara, elegant and standing alone, in a vast green rural landscape. A large number of people were waiting to greet me. I paid my obeisance and climbed to the top to look across at the eucalyptus trees on the Dhussiband across the Raavi. So close and yet so far.

I had wanted to meet people, real people, peasants, the salt of the land. I had met enough of the upper crust in Lahore. A large number had come. We sat on Charpais. Deghs of Biryani had been brought. Everyone ate. Three leading singers from the area, were there. Each sang to his heart’s content, and my delight. They sang of Guru Nanak; Bulle Shah, Heer Ranjha and Farid. I then spoke to them, and made it clear, that Guru Nanak was for the people. Therefore for me to come, and do isolated prayers, and not meet the people, amongst whom he is still revered as a great Sufi, was not possible. The experience will live with me, as it will with them.

At Nankana Sahib, the next day, I found that the Gurudwara is much improved. The mud inner compound is elegantly marbled. There are many double storeyed rest houses for pilgrims and a Sarovar. There is also an excellent Guru Nanak School nearby, where a thousand students study. My wife and I had lunch, with the family of Haroon Bhatti. He is the 16th descendent of Rai Bolar, the Zamindar of the area in 1469, when Guru Nanak was born. Rai Bolar took to this miracle child, and Sikhs have plenty of stories of Rai Bolar’s great love for Guru Nanak. So do the Bhatti family. The family were gracious and kind, the final proof, Saag and Makki Roti in a big spread.

I went to Aitcheson College and spoke to the boys. I visited the Lahore School of Economics, set up by my friends, the two Chaudhary brothers, both Cambridge alumni. This outstanding school, is putting a thousand boys and girls into Pakistan society every year. Girls and boys were in equal numbers, the girls better dressed than our Delhi ones. There were many Libraries and cafeterias. They had tried to give a Cambridge atmosphere. I believe this school will impact, Pakistan’s future in a positive way. Someone on my side should have a look, and start something similar in the Punjab.

Since 2004, I have been campaigning at every level, for direct and free access to Kartarpur, from Dera Baba Nanak, without visas etc. The idea is simple. We can walk barefoot, two kilometers across a boat bridge over the Raavi, built post monsoon, do our prayers and come back. The path could be cordoned on both sides, with barbed wire, with police in attendance. Security will be satisfied, and the Sikh people of India, will have full access to their Mecca as all other faiths, have to theirs. In the 21st Century, it is time good and caring people in both countries, looked at this, to give comfort to the Sikhs.

Dr. Manohar Singh Gill
Member of Parliament
Contact No- 011-23792953
/ I thank Dr MS Gill for sending this write-up for Saanjh.wordpress.com… Regards Rashmi Talwar for Saanjh-Amritsar Lahore Blog

Bol- ‘Bold’ By Rashmi Talwar /Film Review/ Pak film Tops in India


Bol-'Bold' By Rashmi Talwar /Film Review /

Bol- ‘Bold’

By Rashmi Talwar

Bol is bold, brash and banshee … Every time one tries predicting; a new twist fevicols (glues) one to the seat. At the outset it seems just another stereotype sob-story but its inner mazes – wraps and unwraps- you in a blind-hole, wherein you search the light out of the mysterious tunnel.

Writer-Director Shoaib Mansoor’s second inning’s outstanding production after the much acclaimed Khuda Kay Liye, Bol rains questions on Pakistan’s society on retro practices, hollow honor, patriarchal modes and the sufferance of innocent humankind as puppeteer controlled dolls.
In flashback mode, Shoaib takes a dig at society’s claim on male heir, while queuing a dozen daughters to attain the elusive son. Told through a compelling narrative as Zainab (Humaima Malick) narrates her life history, to the watchful media, minutes before being noosed to death- the eldest of the many daughters of conservative Muslim family of Hakim saab (Manzar Zehbai) reveals all in her journey to death’s rope.
The elusive son-chase ends with birth of Saifee (Amr Kashmiri).

A storyline so amazing, no mumbo-jumbo to those of the Indian sub-continent but shocking for western farers, the film explores the depths of deep-rooted bias and exploitation born out of systemized centuries-old drilling, about the role and place of a woman in society. The scene of ‘currency–note washing and ironing’ to purify is an unmistakable gesture, worming from debased superstition.

Saifee’s artistic development, his closeness to his sisters is the mystery in the movie owing to its ‘queer’ storyline . However, Saifee being admonished by his protagonist sister for donning lipstick and wearing duppata et al, sees him raising a vital question ‘ Is being a man –Means to be stiff-lipped, beat women and treat family like scum?
Saifee’s eventual destiny is that which connects you the angst over something that human being is hopeless to rectify .

A murder twists the plot into a complete shredding of ideals and age-old pretext values and as they say –‘Allah’s rage looms large’- of father taking a complete dirt-road, out of his predicament.

Hakim saab’s trot to the house of Saqa Kanjar (Shafqat Cheema), a tout of Lahore’s infamous Heera Mandi –And then the ‘strangest agreement’ – –seen as money-spinner for Kanjar and Hakim’s sole face saver. Hakim hits rock bottom with his association with Heera mandi’s tawaif Safina (Iman Ali), who calls herself Meena after the legendary leading lady of Kamal Amrohi’s Pakeezah.

Safina’s or Meena’s role is a gem. Posturing, a simple conversation in Royal dialect, the next moment elapsing into true crass form of brothel dialect, throws one. Her eventual melting point is a peep into motherly emotions winning over in contrast to her environmental pressures.
Sets and acting of each character including Kanjar’s slurping – dipping finger licks, Punjabi abuses of Meena or that of Kanjar’s wife, the wandering chicken in courtyard, Lahore’s signature trucks makeover into bridal-like contraptions, narrow watchful streets, old family haveli, four-poster antique beds, true-blue lahori dialect and occupations to match, dialogue delivery and gestures, all point towards a piercing eye to detail and authenticity.
I could compare the details of Bol to ‘Tere Bin Laden’ another movie set in Pakistan, though shot on sets in India, which too entrenched the same quality unlike top of the charts film ‘Veer-Zara’ of Yash Chopra which lost out on vitals of lifestyle, language , décor and many other aspects.

The plot, spins, twists and turns lend a very authentic storyline to Bol. The Film’s narration, cinematography is brilliant.
A whiff of soft music that doesn’t necessarily gel in the story, by Atif Aslam otherwise adds lightness in his signature style ‘Hona tha pyaar..’ and proves a breather in the haystack.
The question at the end by the protagonist daughter is at seen as throw on burgeoning population in a mad race in her country “If it is a crime/sin to kill, then why is it not a crime/sin to give birth?” leaving one with a lingering feeling of children as a head-count or herd gathering mechanism .
Overall the film leaves one thoughtful, enthralled and in complete wonderment.

The Hindu : Cities / Delhi : A tale of two cities


The Hindu : Cities / Delhi : A tale of two cities.

Rashmi Talwar -Saanjh- Amritsar -Lahore , Bonding the two cities @saanjh.wordpress.com

A tale of two cities

PARUL SHARMA SINGH
SHARE · COMMENT (1) · PRINT · T+

A NOBEL DESIRE: Rashmi Talwar wishes to give a fillip to one-on-one interaction between India and Pakistan.
Rashmi Talwar’s blog ‘Saanjh’ on Amritsar and Lahore highlights the heritage and culture the cities share

Much before Doordarshan entered their homes, Rashmi Talwar and her friends were already hooked to shows on the Pakistan Television (PTV) network. Growing up in Amritsar and brought up on stories about Lahore — the erstwhile cultural and political capital of undivided Punjab — over 40 kilometres from here, she naturally followed everything happening in the neighbouring country with utmost zest.

While travelling to Pakistan in 2005, this journalist-turned-blogger felt a “personal initiative” was needed at a local level to highlight the centuries-old shared heritage and culture of Amritsar and Lahore. This maiden trip gave birth to her blog ‘Saanjh- Amritsar Lahore: Bonding the Twin Cities’, where she posts about people, things and events that would fascinate the denizens of both the border cities.

“Saanjh means togetherness. I want to create awareness between the peoples of these two cities and bring them together. I wish to give a fillip to one-on-one interaction between the citizens of India and Pakistan so that all misconceptions and mistrust is washed away,” says Talwar. “There is so much in common in both the cities, which we need to understand and cherish. People in Lahore are always so keen to know what is happening in Amritsar,” she adds happily.

During her past four trips to Pakistan, Talwar observed while people in Lahore are culturally pro-active with a keenness for heritage, art, culture, theatre and environment, their counterparts in Amritsar lacked the passion for “such finer nuances of life”. Through her blog, she is trying to eliminate this “apathy” on our side of the border.

“When I visited Pakistan for the first time, I was surprised to see how many men and women were so culturally aware, while in Amritsar women were whiling away time at parties,” rues Talwar, who later organised a Lahore trip for an all-women delegation comprising her school alumnae in May last year.

“The day I was to collect the visas for the ladies from Delhi, Osama bin Laden was shot dead by the US forces in Abbottabad and I thought our trip would be scuttled as no one would issue us visas at such a juncture. But we were lucky!” she reminisces.

While Amritsar is her old turf enabling her to write extensively about the city, along with her own journalistic pieces, her Pakistani friends also provide her inputs for stories emanating from Lahore for the blog. Some of her blog posts are quite interesting too! For instance, the educationist father of the Pakistan governor Salman Taseer, who was assassinated last year, was from Amritsar and met his English wife in the holy city. In fact, the nikah was solemnised by none other than Sir Muhammad Iqbal, who had famously penned “Saare jahan se achha…”

Incidentally, the younger sister of this English lady later married great Urdu poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz, after meeting him in Amritsar, before they left for Pakistan post-Partition.

Talwar who is now planning another Pakistan-trip next month, hopes the visit would result in more friendship, more camaraderie between the two nations, and, of course, more enlightening posts for her blog.

Keywords: Saanjh, Rashmi Talwar, Pakistani culture

Play:‘Ghair Zaroori Log’Jammu Theatrics enthrall ‘8th National Theatre Fest’By Rashmi Talwar in Amritsar


Play: ‘Ghair Zaroori Log’

Jammu Theatrics enthrall ‘8th National Theatre Fest -2011’ in Amritsar

By Rashmi Talwar

‘Ghair Zaroori Log’– …A play based on the lives of commoners that have little or no bearing on society, yet left a huge impact when woven into stories, was the theme on which the collective memory of characters of ‘Saadat Hassan Manto’s’ urdu stories was mentored to form this abstract presentation.

An apt choice for the last fall of curtains on the ‘8th National Theatre Festival’ held in Amritsar in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, GOI; North Zone Cultural Center, Patiala and Punjab Naatshala, the play, written by Shahid Anwar and directed by Mushtaq Kak drew pivotal characters from popular urdu stories of Manto, was staged by the ‘Amateur Theatre Group, Jammu’.

That most of the characters were from the basest profession of prostitution prevalent much before partition, made them as much human, as the one on the street earning his living as the so-called ‘honorable’ daily wager.

Slick, quick-paced and gripping, the entire spectrum of stories weaved by the director and writer, cast a spell on the audience making the characters creep out of the stage unannounced yet evolving right there with retorts naturally spewed forth, owing to changed circumstances, in the back-drop of the ongoing tearing partition between the two countries.

Be it the most popular character the ‘heavy-legged’ (from 15 years of standing upright), mentally challenged Bishan Singh in Manto’s story of ‘Toba Tek Singh’ or ’Saugandi’-a prostitute, turning venomous on her benefactor or the Sardari Begum of ‘Mummy’ an old “harlot” compassionate and motherly, whose inner purity remained intact despite touting girls into the flesh trade; Each of the characters stood tall in the narrative through ‘Hamid Jalal’s character as Manto’s nephew played by Rahul Kumar in the presentation.

Of gripping interest were the characters of army men a Sikh and a Muslim who once worked together and now train their guns on each other as enemies after partition of 1947 in “Akhri Salute”; Irrespective of their newly-turned enemy positions, their friendly banter even about such sensitivities like Kashmir, could not be stolen by the separating lines of nations, not even by death.

The ‘Babu Gopi Nath’ episode of a lover turned father, who does not allow anyone to insult or hurt Zeenat, a young girl under his wing, arouses compassion for the oppressed.

The Play interspersed with familiar music by Ifra Kak enveloped the audience in the situational tales drawing out the essence in both pain and pleasure. “Innhi logon ne le li na dupatta mera..’ from film Pakeeza added to the plight of the innocent Zeenat in Babu Gopi Nath’s tale. Similarly ‘Aye Watan , Aye Watan …”; …”…. “Ramiya vasta vaiya….” served to link the familiar with the unfamiliar, making the complete amalgam a pleasure to watch.

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Saadat Hassan Manto –

Hugely popular writer even-with post partition population in both the countries, boundlessly loved, irrespective of boundaries; who struck hard on social prejudices and elevated the stigmatized, through his vast repertoire of urdu short stories.
Based on characters and topics drawn from the socio-economic backgrounds, prevailing in pre- and post- colonial subcontinent, to the more controversial topics of love, sex and dhokha and the ‘traditional’ hypocrisy of a sub-continental male.

In dealing with these topics, Manto is known to conceal nothing. Raw and banal it comes across as the true state of the affairs, imbued in reality.
The stories even though intricately structured, with vivid satire, holds surprise elements of backslap humor that crackles incessantly, drawing nods or nays.
In his own words Manto had retorted to his detractors, “If you find my stories dirty, the society is dirty! With my stories, I only expose the truth”.

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Mushtaq Kak
‘Mushtaq Kak is one of the major theatre directors, to have emerged from the arc lights of Jammu stage to establish as a creative director-actor respected by the connoisseurs of theatre across the country’.
Actively associated with the theatre in Jammu, and later in Delhi , Kak worked hard as the Artistic Director of Shri Ram Centre for Performing Arts for 10 years, he is credited with his contributions as a faculty member of – Young Theatre Workers and Artists’ Workshops- in varied regions nation-wide; by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, Delhi,

Having directed more than 100 plays, few are:
•‘Dilli-6’(named after a pin code of old Delhi )
•‘Manto Baqalam Khud’ based on urdu short stories by Saadat Hassan Manto,
•Anton Chekhov’s ‘The Cherry Orchard’,
•Jean Paul Satre’s ‘Men without Shadows’,
•Pirandello’s ‘Six characters in search of an author”,
•Checkhov’s ‘Seagull’,
•Krishan Chander’s ‘Ek gadhe ki atmakatha”
•And its sequel ‘Gadhe ki waapsi’
•Mahesh Elkunchwar’s ‘Holi’
•Vasant Kanetkar’s ‘Kasturi Mrig’,
•Moti Lal Kemmu’s ‘Nagar Udaas’,
•Federico Gracia Lorca’s ‘The Blood Wedding’
•Meera Kant’s ‘Ihamrig’ ‘Kaali Barf’ and ‘Ant Hazir Ho’
•Premanand Gajvi’s ‘Mahabrahmann’ and ‘Gandhi Ambedkar’,

Kak is a recipient of the best director awards for his plays ‘Andha Yug’, Mallika and Pratibimb conferred by the Jammu & Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages Jammu, and awarded ‘Pt Kseminder Raina Memorial Award-2009’ for his outstanding contribution to the field of Theatre. He was recently seen in the film –‘Mausam’ as a father of the Kashmiri girl played by Sonam Kapoor.

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AMATEUR THEATRE GROUP, Jammu

A Jammu based Theatre Artists Group by Kak, formed in 1980 by the enthusiasts who had joined hands under the stewardship of Ratan Kalsi, an experienced artist. Kak describes the group as a laboratory of theatre activists from various professional and artistic backgrounds of painters, musicians, actors, film makers and writers. It emerged as one of the few groups from this region to reach the stature of International, National, and Zonal Festivals by Sangeet Natak Akademi , Sahitya Kala Parishad ( New Delhi ), West Zone Culture Centre, Punjabi Academy, Delhi , with its most recent production being Shahid Anwar’s urdu play “Ghair Zaroori Log”

Major productions of group include
•Sach-ki-hai
•Bhukh-hi-bhukh
•Toba Tek Singh,
•Garakh Ho Riha Manukh
•Sawaa Ser Kanak,
•Devyaani,
•Marakhey (based On Suraj Ka Saatvan Ghoda),
•Daak Ghar,
•Macbeth,
•Ashad Ka Ek Din,
•Ala Afsar,
•Jasma Odhan,
•Aadhi Raat Ke Baad,
•Lotan,
•Evam Inderjeet
•Andhaa Yug.
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Pakistani lady Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy gets Pakistan its first Oscar !


Pakistani filmmaker and first-time Oscar nominee Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy won an Academy Award on Monday for her documentary about acid attack victims, a first for a Pakistani director, firstpost.com reports.
Her victory shines a spotlight on a subject, which affects thousands of women in Pakistan and elsewhere, but is seldom discussed at home. Chinoy dedicated the award to the women of Pakistan.
“The women’s bravery and resilience in the face of adversity inspires me every single day,” she said. “They are the true heroes of Pakistan.”
‘Saving Face’ chronicles the work of British Pakistani plastic surgeon Muhammad Jawad, who performed reconstructive surgery on survivors of acid attacks in Pakistan. Co-director Daniel Junge said he had the idea for the film after hearing about Jawad, and asked Chinoy to work with him. He has been previously nominated for both an Oscar and an Emmy.
“To win and with such a subject — it’s such an honour,” he said.
More than 100 people, mainly women and girls, are disfigured in acid attacks every year in Pakistan, although groups helping survivors say many more cases go unreported.
Pakistan is the world’s third-most dangerous country for women, after Afghanistan and Democratic Republic of Congo, based on a survey conducted last year by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, with acid attacks a common means of punishing alleged transgressions.
Victims are often permanently blinded, and their scar tissue can become infected with septicemia or gangrene.
“The women who decided to be a part of the documentary did so because they wanted to make their voices heard and wanted to bring attention to this form of assault,” Chinoy also said, speaking before she won the Oscar.
“The main reason that they are in ‘Saving Face’ is to make their stories heard and have an impact.”