LAC stages tragedy of Meerwala rape
By Anjum Gill
LAHORE: The Lahore Arts Council’s performing arts academy staged ‘Mera kya kasur’ on Wednesday, a play based on the true story of the infamous Meerwala rape case when Mukhtaran Mai was handed over by a panchayat (jury of elders) to be gang raped by influential men.
The Punjabi play boldly questioned whether being a woman, and a poor one at that, was a sin in our society. Rabbia, a young actress, played Mukhtaran Mai. The character was named Zulaikha in the play.
The story starts with the daughter of a feudal lord (the Malik) falling in love with an educated man who is a peasant’s son. One day, the girl’s brother sees her holding the young man’s hand. He calls up the panchayat, which decides to give the young man’s sister to the feudal family, simply because her brother was seen holding the hand of the Malik’s daughter.
Amir Nawaz, who also wrote the play, played the young man. He loses his senses after his mother and sister commit suicide. He too commits suicide in the end because he does not get justice. “Justice is always late in our society,” Mr Nawaz told Daily Times.
The role of the media was appreciated for bringing the brutal incident to light. The play contains a message urging the media to play its role in other cases where women are brutalised by ancient traditions and customs. The play ends with some stirring questions. Zulaikha asks, “Will arresting the culprits return my honour? How many Zulaikhas are there?”
CM Munir, in charge of the academy’s drama class, directed the play assisted by Qaiser Javed. The cast included Kashif Khan, Amir Ali, Rabia, Amir Nawaz, Furqan Majeed, Qaisar Awan, Mahim, Mohammed Sohail, Ali Haider, Rafaqat Khan, Amir Chaudhry, Abid Hussain, Asif Ahmed, Faiz Ahmed, Mohammed Ishaq, Nasir Naz, Khadim Hussain, Mukhtar Ali, Ghufran Ullah and Rashid Gul. The audience particularly appreciated the performance by Mr Nawaz, Rabbia, Kashif Khan and Amir Ali (the feudal lords).