LAHORE - Ajoka theatre presented a special show of evergreen play Bullah at Lahore Arts Council last evening. The play was inspired by historical events occurred in the era of great Sufi Poet Baba Bulleh Shah and highlights the message of peace, tolerance and religious harmony. People from all walks of life attended the play and gave standing ovation to the actors.

Bulleh Shah (1680-1758) lived in the times of the downfall of the Mughal Empire, characterized by internecine conflicts, rebellions, civil and religious strife and total ideological and political chaos, times essentially not much different for the present day South Asia.

Bulleh Shah was a beacon of hope and humanism, His powerful voice called for tolerance and love, while there was bigotism and hatred all around.

 He prompted a relationship with God which was non oppressive and enabled people to be religious and yet respect other people’s belief.

He wrote about common people, their sufferings, and their hopes. He did not see any conflict between his mystic beliefs and his devotion to music and dance.

The play “Bullha” is a tribute to the great mystic. It is broadly based on the events of his life, as communicated through his poetry, historical records and popular myths. And there is no dearth of dramatic episodes in the life of Bullha Shah. His search for truth, his devotion to his mentor Shah Inayat, his opposition to the wars and bloodshed in the name of religion-all are incorporated as powerful scenes in the play. The play is also about the times of Bulleh Shah and has some lessons for the present-day Pakistan. It is a strong plea for love and peace, and an indictment against intolerance, violence and hatred. Although Bulleh Shah and Banda Singh Bahadur lived in the Punjab in the same period and responded to the tyranny of the rulers in very different ways, there is no historical reference that they ever met. However in the play, they do meet. The writer has taken this liberty in order to present their two divergent world views.

Directed by Ajoka’s artistic director Madeeha Gohar the play gave an insight about life events of Bulleh shah as communicated through his poetry, historical records and popular myths. Bulleh Shah (1680-1758) lived in the times of downfall of the Mughal Empire, characterized by conflicts, rebellions, civil & religious strife and ideological and political chaos.

The play reveals all such historical references and Bulleh Shah’s famous poetry have also been used to enrich the production. The play has widely been performed in Pakistan, India, Middle East, Denmark and other countries as well.

Ajoka executive director Shahid Nadeem who has written the play said that Ajoka have always projected the message of peace and love through its productions, this performance is part of Ajoka’s struggle for revival of socially relevant and meaningful theatre in Pakistan. It’s also Ajoka’s tribute to mystic legend whose became beacon of hope and humanism in his respective time span, he added.  The cast of the play includes veteran artist Asim Bukhari, Usman Raaj, Kamran Mujahid, NayabFaiza, Usman Choudhry and Usman Zia. The performance was organized in collaboration with the Lahore Arts Council.