Ajoka replicates Aurangzaib-Dara conflict at NAG
By: Sohail Rashid
ISLAMABAD, November 1, 2010: The conflict between Mughal king Aurangzaib Almgir Khan and his brother Dara Shikoh was successfully replicated by Ajoka Theatre at National Art gallery (NAG) on Sunday evening.
Ajoka theatre took audience 300 years back somewhere in Mughal Empire with the stunning performances of artists, featuring Aurangzaib-Dara conflict over monarchy and their ideological differences.
It was the series of dramas titled ‘Virasat theatre’ festival that was started on 29th October at Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA). After thrilling shows of Raja Rasalu and Bullah, Ajoka theatre winds up its journey to Islamabad by staging ‘Dara’, another most popular play. It was about the less-known but extremely dramatic and moving story of Dara Shikoh, eldest son of Emperor Shahjahan, who was imprisoned and executed by his younger brother Aurangzeb. Dara was not only a crown prince but also a poet, a painter and a Sufi.
There were four major characters in the play. Aurangzaib Almgir Khan, Dara, famous Sufi poet Sarmad Farsi and Emperor Shahjahan. The story was tilted towards Dara as he was shown as a liberal person who wants religious harmony in India while Aurangzaib was portrayed as a brutal King who killed Dara, his elder brother by alleging him of having non-Muslim ideology but actually he wanted to save his monarchy and he thought Dara as an obstacle in his way.
The purpose of the drama was to promote religious harmony and to spread the message of the peace which is the actual purpose of Islam. Shahid Nadeem, the writer and director of the drama while speaking to the audience before the play said “Currently our country is facing a worst time as terrorism has engulfed our Pakistan. So it is the prime requirement of the time to promote religious harmony and the message of peace as suggested by saints. Dara is also an example who had sacrificed his life for this purpose. Unfortunately, in our country, establishment and governmental historians have been trying hard to mutilate the genuine history and his sacrifice”.
However, beside the historical upheaval, it was a great fun on a finely designed set. Gallery was over crowded with the audience but there was a pin drop silence during the two-hour long play because of thrilling performance by actors. The character of Sarmad Farsi was highly appreciated by the audience.
The set of the play, relative play back Sufi musical effects and then the stunning performance of the actors were some other key factors that adds more beauty in the direction of the play. Famous Urdu writer Iftikhar Arif had also greet the occasion with his presence.