Performers and artists from varied backgrounds of theatre, music and literature came together to commemorate 21 years of the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT) here on Friday.

The special anniversary programme organised this year was dedicated to the memory of theatre artist Habib Tanvir who passed away in 2009. His group Naya Theatre performed the celebrated play “Charandas Chor”. A book on the artist was also released as part of the event.

Ram Rahman of ‘Sahmat’ said: “First January for us is a day of remembrance. We remember our friends who fearlessly charted the path of cultural diversity and actively espoused the plural and celebrative ethos of life. Their maverick spirit was not only endearing it also deeply impacted forms of contemporary cultural practice.”

“Apart from Safdar Hashmi, the iconic activist in whose memory Sahmat was set up, the other cultural luminaries who led us through the past two decades were towering figures like Bhisham Sahni and Habib Tanvir whose creative interventions inspired us through dark times,” he added.

As part of the celebrations this year, tributes to Rummana Husain and artists Tyeb Mehta and Manjit Bawa were paid by modern dance exponent Astad Deboo with his performance.

Mr. Rahman said: “This is also the year when we remember revolutionary poets such as Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Kaifi Azmi and Sahir Ludhianvi among others in addition to invoking our Sufi-Bhakti heritage from where our secular ethos draws its primary sustenance.”

“We also pay a tribute this year to artist Iqbal Bano whose rendition of Faiz has passed into the contemporary folklore of cultural resistance,” he added.

Among the artists and groups who participated and performed at the event included Vidya Shah, Rekha Raj, Madan Gopal Singh and Haryana Gyan Vigyan Samiti.

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