There are occasions, trying and testing events and circumstances in ones life which can push them to the brink. But then one must remember that we are never given more than that we can handle.
Junoon – the musical play recently staged at the Arts Council Karachi attempts to deliver precisely this message. The story of a ‘Disabled’ child who rose above her difficulties to not only excel at education but also her career was the inspiration behind the play, behind the NGO ‘Show You Care’ and behind the motivation for everyone involved to work towards this. The girl being Farhat Rasheed. She is a graduate from IoBM, graduated with a gold medal, took part in social clubs and activities of the college, was an excellent student in her school years as well and went on to work for Unilever for 4 years before joining the family business with her father. Her is truly an inspiring story. And what’s more is that she is the force behind the NGO ‘Show You Care’ as well. Because as it was said ‘It is not enough to just say you care, you have to show you care’.
The play was simple and transcends theatre in Karachi to something beyond entertainment – a platform for a social message. A call to action for all to play an active part and to show they care about making it a more friendly, caring for all society. Honestly apart from the Anwar Maqsood and Dawar Mehmood Pawnay Chauda and Sawa Chauda plays I can’t remember any other play being anything other than entertainment. Carrying any sort of social message. Giving any sort of food for thought to the audience. Taking nothing away from those plays either (there have been some very good and very entertaining plays with fantastic performance over the years). However like Pawnay and Sawa there was more to Junoon then just being entertainment for a specific segment of society. It was about giving a message. About wanting people to realize that yes there are individuals in our country, society who need a little bit of help, a little care, who are not blessed with complete normal physical abilities. Who are handicapped. And the message isn’t about bringing them into the scope of your thoughts and taking pity. No.
The message was simple and it was for the disabled and for the society at large – our society. No matter what the difficulty, you must have the will and courage to rise above it and always remember that God is always with you. To the society – a call to action to ensure that we promote equality, accessibility for all. To make it a more handicap person friendly society. In terms of the constructions of public buildings and places. In terms of accessibility and ease of use of various services. And it is about remembering that encouragement, sincere care and attention to boost one’s morale and hope can go a long way. Farhat Rasheed and her parents are an example of this in the manner and the place where Farhat is today. She can proudly say she has risen above her handicap/ her physical disability and has actually gone on to achieve her goals. And she wants others like her to be able to do the same. To value their dreams and not let anyone or any circumstance tell you otherwise.
Junoon the Musical was primarily a dance and music based play and ran from 21st November to 25th November. It wasn’t very long and not complicated. Kept simple and I think given the ultimate goal of the play was the right direction to go in. Written and directed in a short span the actors and dance performers had even lesser time to prepare but they delivered. Brekhna and her compatriot continue to make a name for themselves in the theatre industry. I keep coming across their names in most of the plays with any sort of dancing involved. The dance performances were fantastic and the credit must go to the choreography duo and their team and the performers.
We need more such plays – which go beyond just making people laugh or smile or evoke other such emotions as are associated with various kind of stories. I have long been a fan of theatre and how it has picked pace in Pakistan in recent years but now it is time for it to take another step and become and active platform to drive social change in a positive, less ‘Protest-March-Hartaal-Political’ sort of way.
Kudos to the Junoon team, the people of Show You Care and Farhat Rasheed – inspiration for others truly you are.
As she says ‘People aren’t Disabled – they are just differently abled’.