June 11, 2009 1:25:13 am
All those part the sombre gathering had tears in their eyes as exquisite black-and-white stills of Habib Tanvir flitted before them at Muktadhara Auditorium on Bhai Veer Singh Marg in the city. The stills revealed the multi-faceted personality of a vibrant artiste constantly in action donning different hats and alive with ideas.
At the outset of the memorial meet,Dr Brijesh from Jan Natya Manch declared that this was not a meeting for mourning.
Instead,we will sing his songs and read his poetry, he said. Tanvirs poetry and songs from his celebrated play Agra Bazar were performed. Murli Manohar Prasad Singh,secretary of the Janwadi Lekhak Sangh termed Tanvirs death as the end of an era. He was a warrior for secularism. It is our responsibility to carry his message to all corners and continue his struggle.
Similar sentiments were echoed by photographer Ram Rahman. Rahman recalled Tanvirs key role in the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT),after the death of Safdar Hashmi in 1989. He was at the forefront of the cultural sit-in at Ayodhya in 1993. His commitment towards fighting forces of communalism and casteism was unwavering, he said.
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Asghar Wajahat,who wrote Jis Lahore Nahin Vekhya…,one of Tanvirs celebrated plays said,My play had been poorly received until Habibsaab decided to produce it. Through his direction and vision,he transformed it into something else. Habib Tanvir was the answer to all contemporary criticism of theatre.
However,emotions started pouring out when long-time friend Zohra Sehgal began to speak. He directed me in my first play in the late 1950s. For the world,he was a great artist. Personally,I miss the man more than the artist, she said. Reciting a verse from the Bhagavad Gita,she said,Habibs soul is indestructible.
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