IDGAH, a Hindustani story written by Munshi Prem Chand, in 1938 was enacted as a play by the children of The Millennium school, Amritsar.
In troubled times, a tale with humanitarian overtones works like a balm. The times we live in are possibly the most violent collective memory can recall. And celebrating that spirit is Munshi Premchand’s stories.
The play revolves around the poignant sacrifice of Hamid a poor orphan who lives with his grandmother Ameena. On Eid he uses his meager ‘Edi’ to buy a ‘strange’ gift for his dadi. While all his friends are enjoying themselves at the mela Hamid thinks of the burnt fingers of his dadi and buys a chimta. When his friends, who have spent money on toys, ridicule him Hamid defends his choice like a brilliant lawyer. His ‘rustom- e- hind’ (chimta) is now in demand & Hamid refuses the allurements offered by his friends to exchange it for other toys.
When Ameena learns of his choice of gift she chastises him only to realize that Hamid had sacrificed his joy for her comfort.
The lead actors Udyan (Hamid) and Harshil (Ameena essayed their roles with professional ease bringing a lump here & a tear there. The supporting cast of 60 children with their pranks lent humour to the play. Nandini Malhotra’s (script & direction) near perfect understanding of child psychology was reflected in the dialogues & the mischief of children. Sumiti & Sandeep came up with authentic props, sets & costumes that gave the periodic touch to the play.
The sewaiya distributed after the namaz during the performance was a pleasant surprise to us in the audience.
We hope to see many more performances of this touching play.