Born in 1956; an actress, an activist, a producer, a screenwriter, and an advocate of peace, Madeeha Gauhar was an empire on her own. At the age 0f 27, she established the renowned Ajoka Theatre. She became single-handedly responsible for introducing topics of great liberation in a repressive society. Gauhar became the spokesperson for women’s rights and provided the population with a platform that promoted and valued freedom of opinion and fluidity of thought. She was a campaigner of peace, the voice of feminism, and a ray of hopeful emancipation all her life.
It was this force of a woman who, at 61, breathed her last on 25th April 2018 after a long-standing battle with cancer.
Pakistan mourns and remembers her in all her might and glory.
Madeeha Gauhar was a driven soul long before she had the limelight. She held a creative mind that drove her to obtain a double Master’s Degree in English Literature and later in theater from the University of London. As fate would have it, upon completion of her education Gauhar returned to her country. Here she began her tireless contributions by establishing the Ajoka theater in 1984.
The people of Pakistan are no strangers to Zia-ul-Haq and his suppressive and despotic reforms. It was during this political suffocation that Gauhar took upon herself the responsibility highlighting social issues and demanding justice in her own creative manner. Her theater homed minorities and gave women the safe space to voice the inequity. Through plays like Jaloos, Kala Meda Bhes, Border-Border – Gauhar became a sponsor of peace between India and Pakistan. She explored socially and politically circumvented topics and urged the masses to challenge the leaders of the time.
Gauhar personified struggle. She resided in the heart of injustice and made her voice louder by taking art into the streets of her city.
She understood the importance of liberal studies and created an authentic creative space for those who wished to rise above the rudimentary. From a performer, she became the counselor, guiding generations to be heard within the realms of inequality. She took this idea to countries like India, Iran, USA, Egypt, and others. This is what made her the representative of a peaceful Pakistan.
Madeeha Gauhar was the voice of a humane Pakistan, one that supported and promoted empathy found in the arts. She stood for a country that was accepting of women, men, and minority rights. It was this dedication and deliverance that made her a quintessential feminist of her time. These accomplishments are what gained her the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz in 2003 alongside a plethora of other awards. Some of the most prestigious ones include the Prince Clause Award (2004) and the Fatima Jinnah Award (2014).
This resplendent light was put out on 25th April of 2018. Madeeha Gauhar succumbed to a three-year-long battle with Cancer. She left behind an accomplished vision and a liberal dream for many to follow.
She is succeeded by her husband; a veteran writer Shahid Nadeem and three children, Savera, Nirvaan, and Sarang Nadeem.