Founder of Ajoka Theatre, Madeeha Gauhar remembered as icon of theatre

Zubair Qureshi

Drama fans, friends and colleagues of the co-founder of the Ajoka Theatre and renowned activist and artist Madeeha Gauhar turned up at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) here on Thursday to remember the great artist and paid her rich tributes for humanism she evoked in the masses in Pakistan as well as the world.
They were of the view that she fought bravely about three years against the cancer she was suffering from with all courage and patience before to bow down to her death.
Well-known poet and women rights’ activist Kishwar Nahid who was the chief guest on the occasion said Madeeha Gaughar started theatre in the era of worst dictatorship when even making the sigh of victory was sin. When there was ban on the speech she staged theatre on meaningful subjects that induced the bravery among the activists. She was a brave soul determined to bring about social change.
Director General PNCA Syed Jamal Shah said Madeeha Gaughar’s death is not the end of her life. Her work in the form of meaningful theatre would be continued in many forms across different cultures. She has been the agent of social change and groomed several to bring a light of hope for the society.
Jamal Shah said Madeeha was engaging, creative and innovative in her work to spread the message of peace and cultural harmony. Her contribution in arts would continue to inspire the coming generations.
He also announced best theatre play award in her name from the coming National Theatre Festival. Shahid Mahmood Nadeem said Madeeha Gauhar’s all life was a celebration of stuggle. I never saw her gloomed or dejected. Even in her testing times, Madeeha Stood stern against the odds and tyranny of the martial-law.
Shahid Nadeem said, She was not only hard-working but she also used to push others to work hard. My all plays would have not been written if Madeeha had not been there, and many of the present day actors had not been well-groomed and trained actors. She encouraged everyone to be part of the Ajoka teams whether he or she had any talent or not.
Savera Nadeem said all firsts of my life were due to Madeeha and every big moment was culmination of her contribution. Madeeha introduced to me art, theatre and the actualities of life.
Kanwal Naseer termed Madeeha Gauhar’s work as precious contribution to strengthen the theatre tradition in Pakistan. Before she launched Ajoka and started staging her plays, theatre was a below average art with a disappointing content. She changed the ordinary theatre to piece of art to promote peace. Dr Fauzia Saeed said Madeeha was down to earth person with multiple talent.

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