For the past week or so my social media news feeds and timelines have gone green with Jashn-e Azadi mubarak posts. And yes, like many of you I too am humming along with the milli naghmey and enjoying the mera pyara watan, meri sohni dharti type feel good videos put out by various brands and corporates. All fantastic.
But is this all there is to azadi? What does jashn-e azadi really celebrate? Is this a day to celebrate the independence we gained from British rule in 1947? If so, then where is the accountability for all that we’ve lost since? Surely if we are celebrating wins then shouldn’t we also be taking time out to contemplate the losses?
Taking inspiration from Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s nazm by the same name, Jashn Ka Din Hai is a short serial, ten episodes, that aired in 2012 from Express Entertainment. Qazi Wajid, Badar Khalil, Khalid Ahmad, Adnan Jaffer, Hiba Ali, Humayun Ashraf, Suhaee Abro and Mustafa Afridi star in this serial which is written by Bee Gul and directed by Khalid Ahmed. This is a story about freedom, a simple word with multiple meanings and complex interpretations.
It is in exploring the various facets of freedom that Bee Gul’s pen shines bright. Khalid sahab understands the intricacies of this script and in very sensitively narrated story we meet retired Professor Liaquat, his wife Parsa Begum, their daughter Insha and the young Deema; intertwined with theirs is the story of their neighbor Islahuddin and his son Hasan. Running parallel is the track of Murad, Sofia and Hashim.
As events unfold these various strands meld together in a multi layered narrative that touches on issues such as class differences, societal conflicts, social taboos, corruption, hypocrisy, censorship, art vs commercialism, and so much more. Unlike those feel good jashn-e azadi mubarak videos that we are used to watching around 14th August, Jashn Ka Din Hai paints a very realistic portrait of modern-day Pakistan, bitter and critical but hopeful and determined in equal measures. Finally, though this story is set in the Pakistani context, the issues addressed will strike a chord with those across the border as well, we are after all cut from the same cloth.
Though this serial aired 5 years ago, it remains just as apt today as it was then, if not more so as we celebrate 70 years of independence. So yes, let’s commemorate and enjoy the Jashn-e Azadi festivities but lets also not forget to pause and question: Azadi ka matlab kiya? Kiya hum waqa’i azad hain?
Written by SZ~
Jashn Ka Din Hai ~ OST