The country’s top playwright and a name synonymous with television, Haseena Moin, was showered with tributes in all their profusion at the Arts Council on Tuesday evening.
The programme titled, “An evening with Haseena Moin”, was meant to celebrate the life and achievements of the playwright who came into prominence as a TV playwright in 1975.
Speakers paid glowing tributes to her for her plays which, they all said, were highly profound and poignant comments on life and society. They said her plays were a reflection on life in all its colours, and a touching portrayal of human situations “which normally we don’t stop to give any thought to”.
Well-known TV star Sajid Hassan, in a speech interspersed with quips and witticisms, said he really had learnt so much from Haseena.
Qudsia Akbar narrated her long association with the playwright dating to their student days. It was a sentimental trip down memory lane that catapulted all those present there back in time. She recalled their days together when they indulged in hobbies like music and drama. “Those were peaceful days when things like mayhem, blood spilling, and riots which now were such a prominent aspect of the city, were simply unimaginable,” Qudsia said in a tone of nostalgia mingled with sadness.
She said Haseena’s plays most vividly reflected her personality — soft, sensitive, and tender-hearted. Qudsia’s bell-like, melodious voice and her profoundly mellow tone made the narration all the more poignant.
Referring to Haseena as a soft-hearted, affectionate person, journalist Khursheed Haider talked about Haseena’s play, Parchaiyaan, which shot her to fame, and regretted that the atmosphere that made people so creative and icons of intellect did not exist any more. She lamented that the changes occurring now were not conducive to the kind of intellectual advancement that there was in the days when Haseena’s career was on the ascendant. She recalled how her plays brought about an intellectual revolution.
Noted poetess Fatima Hassan said that what she admired most about the playwright was that she portrayed women from a pedestal of dignity, which was something very rare for other playwrights who just projected women from a perspective of victimization, submission, and inferiority.
Noted journalist and former Managing Director, PTV, Farhad Zaidi, in his tribute to Haseena, said that what was most praiseworthy about her plays was the theme of women’s empowerment which was so very obvious in her plays.
Winding up, Faisal Subzwari, Sindh minister for youth affairs, endorsed Zaidi’s views and said that among all the redeeming features of Haseena’s plays, the theme of women’s empowerment was most significant.
He said this empowerment was the need of the hour today when “we are seeing women being made the target of all kinds of humiliation and their lives are being made a living hell through strange, selfish feudal customs, like marrying them off to the Holy Quran” just to make sure that the property would go into the hands of outsiders, customs, which, he said, were simply atrocious.
“We all have to empower women if we are to progress as a nation, as a society,” Subzwari said. He too praised Haseena’s intellectual acumen, which, he said, was reflected in her plays.
Others who spoke and paid glowing tributes to the playwright were Raana Sheikh, who advocated refreshers’ courses for TV artistes to arrest falling standards, Bajia Fatima Surrayia, Azhar Abbas Hashmi, Ghazala (Haseena’s younger sister, Sakina Samoo, Salman Alvi, Munawwar Saeed, Mustafa Mandokehl, Rajoo Jamil, Misbah Isshaq, and Ali Rizvi.
Prior to the speeches, a documentary, Hamari Haseena, highlighting the life and works of Haseena, produced by Kazim Raza, showing clips from the playwrights earlier plays, mostly from the decade of the ‘70s, was screened. It again was a sentimental journey back into the good old days, as it featured stars like Shakeel and those who are not in our midst any more like Azra Sherwani, Jamshed Ansari, Qurban Jilani, and others. Iqbal Lateef, Chairman, Drama Committee, Arts Council, compered the function.