Tue January 16, 2018
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!


Anil Datta
March 21, 2017



A society where the unfortunate are scorned

A society where the unfortunate are scorned

In every capitalist society, the poor are scorned and their privations preyed upon by the rich to satiate their lecherous pleasures.

This was precisely the theme portrayed so precisely by the play, ‘Gardish-e-Rang-e-Junoon’, staged at the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) on Monday evening as part of the ongoing theatre and music festival.

The story is about a mother (played most adroitly by Najma Kifayat) whose 12-year -old daughter is raped by two wolves who are actually teachers in a religious seminary where children are supposed to be taught all about religion. 

The mother is besides herself with anger and anguish. She has a ‘panchayat’ (gathering of village elders) summoned to trace and punish the culprits but the all-male ‘panchayat’ makes no secret of its scorn for the woman and accuses her of having the respect of the whole village mingled with the dust.

Even the head of the ‘panchayat’, mostly deftly portrayed by Akbar Islam, has an undisguised hostility towards the poor, wronged woman.

The two religious teachers, who turn out to be the culprits at the end of the play, shout their throats hoarse accusing the woman of lying and blackmail. 

The poor woman is besides herself with anguish and goes into hysterics but that seems to least move the all-male ‘panchayat’.

Ultimately, her daughter meets her end, having been violated by the two religious teachers, Nazir and Qadir. 

The poor mother’s efforts to trace the culprits and have them duly punished are sabotaged at every step by those very people who are supposed to see to it that justice is dispensed to the aggrieved. 

She goes to a policeman for the redress of her grievances but he, instead, first expresses his inability to help on the grounds that calling the ‘panchayat’ was a legally wrong thing to do.

Later, he moves onto making amorous advances to her. 

When she refuses to capitulate to his romantic overtures, he just tells her to get lost. The mother gets a medical certificate from a lady doctor to certify that her daughter was violated but that fails to move the police officer who is just obsessed with the fulfilment of his lecherous instincts.

Ultimately, she goes into a fit of hysterics and smashes all the pottery in the house and takes a sickle and goes out of the house. She is advised by another woman Sakina, played by Asma Noor, to go and apologise to the clerics and “confess” that she lied. 

She takes a sickle and goes to the cleric to apologise but then in a fit of anger thrusts that sickle into the man’s body and he confesses that he was one of the rapists. 

Ultimately, like all plays and movies in the subcontinent which staunchly adhere to the “All’s well that ends well” formula, the culprit confesses his guilt to the lady and is killed by the head of the institution, played by Akhtar Hussain.

While the wronged woman may have been vindicated, it was just confined to the play as thousands of such cases occur in our society so often and the culprits go scot-free till their dying day.

The play was a profound commentary on the injustices of our social setup, one that is controlled by immoral weaklings to whom justice is anathema.