About the Play:
The play was specially written under the scheme of exploring new indigenous forms in theatre for the Natya Samaroh – 1988, North Zone Theatre Festival of Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, held at SIMLA. The source of the play is a Kashmiri fable story available in verse genre comprising of couplets viz: the Mastnavi or in other words “Daastaan” – the poetic narration, written by many Kashmiri mystic poets viz: Bahadur Ganaie (1420-1470 AD), Ramzan Bhat (1787-1918 AD), Bismil Kashmiri (1904-1948 AD), Samad Mir (1894-1959 AD), and Ahad Zargar (1907-1983 AD); whose scripts are printed and which remained in my study. These poets have used it as a symbol for the expression of their mystic and poetic experience and to every one its intricate and abstruse macabre has according to their own enlightenment and self realization been suit to them through centuries.
It is apt to remark that there are no historical evidences to the fact of the story but vary in many aspects from poet to poet and legend to legend and thus, as a playwright, I have tried to explore and innovate the story into a play according to my own experimental approach with regard to its form, treatment and the structure.
In experimenting the process of playwriting under the SNA scheme, I have adopted the basic format of “Daastaan” – the rich existing musical-narrative technique, mingles and interlinks the play within the expected norms, an inevitable and major weapon for communication through the unique songs imbibed in its folk musical strains which tune our emotions and the base and soprano of which commiserates our hearts and make our draughty eyes tearful. At the same time the play rests also on non-theatrical (as having been assimilated in the playwriting for the first time), non-verbal folk-art forms making full use in exploring the living traditional forms like Rouf or Rouve dances and songs, Bach-che Nagma (a folk dance), Nenda Baaeth, Charagaan to establish environmental-cum-emotional moods like celebration, harvesting, sacrifices, sadness, devotion and submission to the ultimate and most superior soul and truth – the spine of the play.
Needless to mention that since the time span of the play spreads over 12 years, symbolism and the physical theatre have been innovated to the range of absorption within the structure of the play like budding of lotus depicting the process of positive growth of Aka-Nandun; the time span, from the time the child is conceived after the blessings of the Jogi till his birth, has been portrayed creatively by a song and dance depicting the seasonal changes of Kashmir (Schitre – the Feb-March, Sonth – March-April, Bahaar or Baisakh – April-May, Harh – June-July, Vehraat – August-Sept. and the Harud – the Autumn – Oct.-Nov.) infringing the aesthetic flavour and inner temperament to the play.
The dialogues have been written in poetic metre to sustain the poetic essence of the story and with the idea to make it a classic venture acceptable to the folks and masses for its eloquent original character of our cultural inheritance. Another characteristic of the play is the image of Hindu and Islamic cultural fusion, their myths, which is the spine and essence of our public life in Kashmir, thus upholds significance in preserving our mystic socio-cultural ethos.
I am of ardent opinion that the play will be treated a new phase of departure and a landmark in the theatre/dramatic history of Kashmir for its craftsmanship of playwriting i.e. creating of a new idiom, identity and metaphor in playwriting by using traditional and folk-art forms of songs, music, dance, narration and dramatization.
Sept. 22, 1988 Bhawani Bashir Yasir
The Playwright & Director