Dara ‘the mystic’ revealed by Ajoka


The Ajoka Theatre in collaboration with Samosa Media UK and Lahore Arts Council presented the screening of “Dara”, a play based on the life of crown prince of Shah Jahan who was killed by his brother Aurangzeb Alamgir.
In the screening of play, act was played by the cast of National Theater of UK and it was adapted from the original script of Ajoka’s Dara that was first premiered in Pakistan in 2010. It is for the first time in the history that the National Theatre of UK has made a play on the life of a person that hailed from the Subcontinent.
Speaking on the occasion, Director of British Council in Lahore Kevin McLaven said that his office is trying best to promote art and culture in Pakistan by collaborating with the local artists. He said his country is also making efforts to ensure that every child in Pakistan gets enrolled in schools to get his basic right of getting education.
Executive Director of Ajoka Shahid Nadeem told Pakistan Today that his theater has always tried to take art beyond the borders as the art has no boundaries and these endeavours play an important role to bridge the gap between the countries. He further added that the British National Theatre has acknowledged the work of Ajoka by adapting its play ‘Dara’. Director of Samosa Media UK Anwar Akhtar who has Pakistani origin said that ‘Dara’ received an overwhelming response in all over the United Kingdom. He was of the view that this play has helped a lot to understand the true and moderate meaning of Islam in the West as Dara Shikoh himself was a liberal poet and Sufi.
The story revolves around Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb Alamgir and his elder brother Dara Shikoh. The fight between Aurangzeb and Dara was not just a war for royal throne; it was the war of two ideas as Dara was a mystic in his intellect and Aurangzeb followed a traditional interpretation of religion. Dara was a disciple of two great mystics and Sufis of his time; Hazrat Mian Mir and Sarmad while his younger brother was a follower of another school of thought.
It is a matter of fact that Shah Jahan himself wanted to nominate Dara his scion and Aurangzeb was also aware of his father’s thought. In order to capture the royal throne, Alamgir has played a master stroke by awarding imprisonment to his father in Delhi Fort. Moreover, he obtained a decree of his own choice by the royal court in which the court ordered the hanging of Dara. Interestingly, Dara himself tried to defend his case in front of the court but could not win. There was a pin drop silence in the hall when the scene came in which Shah Jahan received the mutilated head of Dara during his imprisonment in Delhi by his own son. The dialogue delivery was at its best and all the dialogues were in English.