Performance as a tool for socio-political and cultural Resistance: the case of Tehrik-E-Niswan
BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)
Faculty / School
School of Economics and Social Sciences (SESS)
Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts
Date of Award
Date of Submission
Dr. Abdul Haque Chang, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences
Rahma Muhammad Mian, Lecturer, Department of Social Sciences
SSLA Culminating Experience
The Tehrik e Niswan was made in 1979 by a group of feminist activists wanting to do something for women’s rights. The very existence of this organization has its foundation laid in the era where several artists, lawyers, politicians, activists, writers, were resisting the government in the Islamization period in different ways. They were resisting the repressive government of the time which through its regressive and violent laws was changing the structure of Pakistani national identity and human rights, more specifically, women’s rights in Pakistan.
This paper is a case study on the Tehrik e Niswan, exploring ideas of resistance within their performances, experiences, and members. This project uses a qualitative method’s approach that includes in depth interviews, visual ethnography, and a brief/short-term ethnographic experience with the members of Tehrik e Niswan.
My analysis includes 6 different themes. I start with exploring the theme of cultural resistance that lies in and around theatre and dance of the Tehrik e Niswan. Second, I delve into the complexities that lie within the religious and ethnic dynamics that intersect with the works and the politics of the Tehrik e Niswan. Third, I explore the resistance of women on stage. Fourth, I show how consciousness raising, too has its roots deep in the foundations of resistance. Fifth, I analyze the empowerment that performers experience as performing artists. Lastly, I examine the kind of structure Tehrik e Niswan functions on- the way it defies certain structures and adheres to some. I conclude my research by grounding it, within ideas of ‘experience’. How theatre and dance based on real stories of oppression and inequalities can be liberating and healing. Performing out stories of our lives, in a way makes our nameless thoughts, ideas and emotions tangible. It gives them a name. These tangible ideas and emotions can lead to tangible action and change which ultimately embarks the journey of resistance.
Bandukwala, Z. (2021). Performance as a tool for socio-political and cultural Resistance: the case of Tehrik-E-Niswan (Unpublished undergraduate project). Institute of Business Administration, Pakistan. Retrieved from https://ir.iba.edu.pk/sslace/88
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