SAHIWAL: Punjabi play Chog Kusambay De was performed at the Arid University, Burewala campus, last night. The one-act play was directed by theatre group Sangat, led by Huma Safdar, and it was written by Najm Hosain Syed who did the dramatic adaptation of Bulleh Shah’s Punjabi kafi Chog Kusmabay De, meaning picking of the petals of safflower.
The play, staged in collaboration with the Harappa Foundation, highlights women peasants’ social, emotional, financial and physical exploitation at the hand of landlords and revenue officials of the Mughal Empire.
The woman farm workers were pitched against a patwari and landlords who paid land revenue over possession of agricultural land to the Mughal Empire. Petal picking was used as a symbol of resistance showing peasants’ struggle in the form of resurgence from exploitative agriculture bondage.
The actors included Farah, Shamsa, Neha, Mamona, Kanwal, Arooj and Huma while Ayesha Ali, Shafqat Hussain, Hanif Muhammad and Naeem Ansari gave live music performance.
Bushra Asim, an educationist, and Munir Pehlwan, a veteran street theatre artiste from the Ziaul Haq’s martial law, were the guests of honour.
Pehlwan shared his memories with street theatre in Gen Zia’s martial law when he hosted Punjab Lok Rahs’ play Guddu at Vehari and the then city magistrate called it ‘anti-state’. He said a street play always depicted harsh realities and it was different from entertainment theatre. He termed street theatre a powerful medium to send messages across even in the era of digital media and social media.