Veteran actress, playwriter, director theater and women’s right activist, Madeeha Gauhar passed away in Lahore, on 25th April, 2018.
Born in Karachi, educated in English literature and theater from University of London and settling in Lahore after having completed her studies, she founded Ajoka theater alongside her husband. The theater elaborated on the oral tradition of Bhand and Nautanki and found a flourishing base in the area that overlaps the province of Punjab. She did not, despite her educational background, bound herself to classical Western theater techniques.
According to Gauhar, the promotion of a just, humane, secular and equal society is of the utmost importance. She used aesthetics and theatrical techniques to reflect the moral, social and political reality of contemporary Pakistan. As a feminist, the subject of women’s rights was a recurrent theme with her in this male dominant society.
Honored with major awards throughout her life for her hard work and achievements, and plays conducted to shine light on important matters such as sexual discrimination, intolerance and fanaticism, she also advocated peace among Pakistan and India. She faced many oppositions to her straightforward work, and after fighting cancer for over three years, passed away in Lahore.
Though her life came to an end, her cause, and what she worked for is something that will live on till the end of humanity, and serve as basis to move towards the right side.
Her presence and her personality will be missed. May she rest in peace.
For any art to flourish it is imperative that its roots be in the soil.