Ajoka’s “Saira aur Maira”: a daughters’ tribute to their iconic mother

Ajoka theatre’s play“Saira aur Maira” which enthralled the audience this weekend, was in fact a tribute from Asma’s daughters to their mother, an iconic figure in Pakistan’s human rights movement. Sulema and Munizae, Asma’s daughters,  approached Ajoka’s Shahid Nadeem wit a request to write a play on the occasion of Asma Jahangir International Conference. Shahid and the late founder Ajoka, Madeeha Gauhar, were good friends and comrades of Asma, so he readily agreed. The play involved extensive research about Asma’s life and the landmark cases which she fought in and outside the courts.  The play was premiered on 19 October 2019. Asma’s family including husband Tahir Jahangir, son Jilani Jahangir and Silema attended the performance with participants of the conference and were visibly moved by the play. At the end of the end of the play, Tahir Jahangir (TJ) and Sulema congratulated the Ajoka team, which included a majority of first time actors, trained by Ajoka Institute, and remembered the friendship between Madeeha and Asma. Tahir embraced his double actor Omar Bhatty and Sulema hugged Elsa and Akifa, young Ajoka actors who played the roles of Munizae and Sulema. Ajoka Institute Director Nirvaan Nadeem highlighted the role of the Institute n training and grooming young talent

On Saturday, Government College University Vice Chancellor Professor Hassan Shah and President of the Government College Dramatic Club (GCDC)  Mirza Athar Baig, announced that the University Syndicate had unanimously approved institution Madeeha Gauhar Medal for Best Actress. They paid glowing tributes to Madeeha, an ex-Secretary of GCDC and  said she is role model for young women who want to change society through performing arts.  Ajoka’s Executive Director Shahid Nadeem thanked GCU and Professor Hassan Shah for acknowledging Madeeha’s contribution to theatre and women’s rights. The guests at the performance included European Union diplomats and international scholars and prominent lawyers.