“Aaj main guzaarunga tumhare saath yeh raat; subah jab pralay hogi dono royenge haath pasaarke…..”Poetry has all elements of a human heart. That is perhaps why Sahib Singh, Director, Adakar Manch, Mohali, resorted to poetry so that he could translate on to stage the pain that defines calamitous events like Godhra and the 1984 riots against Sikhs.
Through his trilingual play, “Agan Katha”, the director dared to speak against the forces that diminish the validity of life. Drawn on the heart-felt verses of poets like Kaifi Azmi, Paash, Surjit Pattar, Swaraj Bir and Dr Jagtar, the script of the play was more than potent. In its heart-rending portrayal of the grisly Gujarat and Delhi riots, the play scored well, thanks to the poetic sequences that wove the difficult script together.
Right in the beginning, the director appears on the stage, reciting the verse that says “Babur plundered the country with all his might, but today we have a Babur in every home.” Seeking power to uproot the evil, the characters occupy their places on the stage, enacting gory sequences from the Godhra tragedy and then from the ’84 riots, one by one.
The script is all poetry, well remembered, but not as emotionally recited as should have been. Also at times one felt the poetic verses were not so well placed in the scheme of the play and did not quite serve the humble purpose of the production. On the whole, however, the play was well paced and offered a great deal of food for thought. It depicted attempts to rape, arson, looting, death and every other grotesque detail that strikes the mind at the very mention of Godhra.
The play concluded with a couplet from Surjit Pattar: “Lagi je tere kaalje ajeh chhuri nahi… na samajh ki paun khizaan di turi nahi..”
( The Tribune dated 30-01-2004 )