FOSA Show during the Holiday Season
By A.H. Cemendtaur

Skits are being polished, actors are busy memorizing their lines, and the marketing team has been busy selling tickets, as Friends of South Asia (FOSA— gears up to arrange a memorable and thought provoking show on Saturday, December 18.

Ever since its inception in late 2001 FOSA has been actively arranging programs that bring Bay Area Indians and Pakistanis together. The December show to be held at Mehran Restaurant in Newark is being co-sponsored by Ekta.

The theme of the show is "suppressed voices." FOSA promises the event to be "an exploration in performance art: An evening of live theater, music, song and dance, showcasing voices that have lived despite all odds."
FOSA describes its December 18 program in these words:

"In the milieu of ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural streaks of infinite shades that is South Asia, there are some voices that are heard, and many others that are either ignored or brutally suppressed.
'Suppressed Voices' will bring to the fore, some of the most feeble, yet most expressive, of South Asian voices. "Using a variety of art-forms - theater, music, song and dance – and featuring works spanning centuries - from a kaafis by Guru Nanak, to the ecstatic sufi compositions of Bullhay Shah, to revolutionary poetry by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, and Dalit poetry, to name a few - the show weaves together a diverse narrative of voices living and breathing despite all odds.

"The show, a series of skits tightly woven together, unfolds as a dramatic portrayal of voices rising up in the face of suppression, in various contexts in South Asia. Using satire, irony and sharp wit, and contexts we can all relate to, the show challenges us to ponder some of society's burning questions such as - What is identity? Why do we draw these boundaries around nationality, language, and ethnicity? Why does society still dictate what a woman can and can't do? Who determines what is 'cultured' art and what is 'uncultured' art?
"The show derives its strength in large part from the amazing body of work it draws upon. Poets whose works are featured include Habib Jalib, Baba Bullhay Shah, Shah Hussain, Guru Nanak, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, and Venkanna, a Dalit poet/singer - who have all written eloquently about the burning issues of their (and our) times, and challenged authority in the face of dire consequences."

The various acts to be presented on December 18 have been written by Shikha Malaviya and Moazzam Sheikh. The show will be directed by Moazzam Sheikh and is being produced by a well-known Bay Area activist, Ijaz Syed.
More information about the show is available at:


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.