Beenish Saleem |
Madiha Gohar, a Pakistani actress, Playwriter, director of Ajoka theater and women rights activists passed away on 25th April, after battling cancer for three years… She died at the age of 61. No doubt, it is a great loss for Pakistan.
Madeeha was born on September 21, 1956, in Karachi. She graduated with a Master of Arts in English Literature… Ms. Gauahr, then, moved to England to obtain another Master’s degree, studying theater sciences at the University of London, before returning to Lahore in 1983.
She, along with her husband, Shahid Nadeem, founded Ajoka Theater in 1983, in Lahore, where social themes were depicted in streets and in public spaces. She had given performances with Ajoka in Asia and Europe, which has raised her popularity at international level as well.
The elder sister of the celebrated actress Faryal, Gauhar did not restrict herself to the classical conventional theatre, irrelevant of her educational background, and made sure to incorporate authentic Pakistani elements. The main purpose for her, behind directing theater, was to highlight the social issues prevailing in the society. She highlighted women’s issues in her staged drama and worked for the rights of women throughout her life. Madeeha Guahar not only fought for women rights but also, inspired many to follow their dreams.
I was 13 when you gave me the confidence 2 perform my first public performance in Saraiki. A play on female infanticide. The first of so many with Ajoka. You made an actor out of a lost child. There will never be another woman, director, mentor like you #MadeehaGohar
— Nadia Jamil (@NJLahori) April 25, 2018
Due her eminent work for social welfare in general, and women welfare in particular, she had received a lot of prestige from all around the word. Moreover, she was honored with a Prince Clause Award from Netherlands, along with winning the International Theater Pasta Award in 2007.Further to this, she was also nominated for Best Actress Drama Serial in a Supporting Role in the 1st Indus Drama Awards 2005 and, also, awarded coveted Pride of Performance by the President of Pakistan.
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She promoted an open mind and was not scared to speak her mind; play “Burqavaganza” Written and directed by her in 2007 led to great controversy and was banned by the government of Pakistan. The death of a woman who stood up for her passion and what she believed in, which is very much needed in Pakistan, is, indeed, a great loss for our society.
Pakistan is losing its gems and there’s no one to replace them. From Sabeen, Asma Jahangir to Madeeha Gohar etc- we are becoming poorer by the day. Who will carry on the very imp work they did?
— Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi (@Ali_Abbas_Zaidi) April 25, 2018
Beenish Saleem is an educationalist and an activist for education. The views expressed in this article are authors own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.