Declining moral standards made me quit drama

(APP) LAHORE-Poet, playwright and critic Amjad Islam Amjad Sunday said that he stopped writing dramas due to declining moral standards and excessive commercialisation of theatre and television.

In an interview with APP here, he said he was heartbroken with the prevailing standards of the drama industry, adding that he quit drama some two decades back due to decline in professional values. To a question, the playwright said he stopped writing drama when a producer deceived him and made changes in the script for commercial purposes. “The very drama ‘Haray Rung Ki Chador (Green Shawal)’ was staged recently by him at Alhamra, he added.

The Sitar-e-Imtiaz holder poet said that after professional bankruptcy of the national television, private channels demanded dramas, which were devoid of values and revolved around commercial needs of the corporate industry.

About nudity in certain comedy stage dramas in the provincial metropolis, he said it had become a social nuisance as stage dramas had crossed all limits of nicety and entered the borders of nudity and vulgarity, adding that stage drama had become a symbol of sexuality and obscenities which must be reformed. He said today comedy played a second fiddle to the wishes of the profligate.

“If Prime Minister Imran Khan wanted to erode the colonial symbol from the hearts and minds of the people, there was nothing bad in it,” he responded, adding that Khan was right in his stance.

About Urdu language, the famous poet stressed the importance of preserving language, adding that English was meant for higher education and not for primary education.

About importance of a uniform education system, he said that our education system has become a hotchpotch of systems including the Urdu medium, English medium, Madrasa system and other elite educational philosophies, but with no clear direction. He said that absence of a uniform education system in the country was promoting class-based society and widening gulf between the people while students from different social backgrounds sat on a single bench at schools some decades ago.

About the importance of Urdu language, he regretted the fact that Urdu was not the medium of education at primary level in our schools, adding that there was no need to teach English at an early age to children as it would make them lose touch with their culture, civilisation, customs, values and language if they were not taught Urdu at an early age. He said there was no denying the fact that English was a tool of success in the global world but it did not mean Urdu should be compromised.

“An ideal education system should be a blend of values of the past and demands of the modern era,” he responded, adding that it was unfortunate that our elders had not worked for an ideal education system over the past 70 years.

To a question, he said that we must coexist with technology but let’s not impose English on national language, which is a heritage to be preserved for posterity.

On the role of writers to eradicate extremism from society, he said poets and writers were playing their due role but it was a collective responsibility of poets, political parties, politicians and education system to create awareness about pitfalls of extremism in society.

About the student unions in colleges and universities, it was important to reform functions of student unions, adding that student bodies were formed to teach students about their rights and prepare them for the outside world, but it was unfortunate that student unions had become a tool in the hands of political parties. He said that politicians were to be blamed for making student unions political and using them for their vested interests.

About responsibility of a playwright, Amjad Islam Amjad said a drama was not a drama which could not be watched with a brother, sister and mother, adding that he would start writing once the environment gets better for drama.

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