Art meets social duty | Instep

Art meets social duty | Instep

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What’s the distinction between schizophrenia and AIDS? Even a layman would roll his eyes at this query. However what if I, with an affordable background in science, insist that there’s not a lot distinction between the 2 in any case? Would that make you suppose twice? There could also be huge medicinal variations between the 2 however there may be little to no distinction in how sufferers affected by the 2 diseases are handled in ‘society’. The stigmas hooked up to them are not any completely different; the inherent perceptions concerning them are not any completely different and the sufferers’ public experiences are not any completely different.

It’s unlucky that whereas we boast of adjusting instances within the twenty first century with sheer delight, in terms of psychological sickness, we’re nonetheless holding on to early nineteenth century practices the place mentally-challenged sufferers had been actually shocked into coma – with their nerves severed and their eye sockets hammered into with nail-like constructions. The ache then was bodily, the ache now’s emotional however they’re each devastating in equal measure.

Taking a step in the direction of bringing psychological well being out of the shadows by dispelling taboos is Taskeen – a psychological well being and emotional well-being consciousness initiative being led by people who’ve been, instantly or not directly, affected by psychological sickness; Taskeen has been discovered below the umbrella of the Pakistan Affiliation of Psychological Well being and Take care of Well being. Final week the group joined palms with director Hamza Bangash of Baraf Paani fame to stage a play, Suno!, based mostly on the real-life struggles of one in all Taskeen’s volunteers, who suffers from bipolar dysfunction.

Suno! is actually a couple of struggling household with each day points at least your common middle-class household however ones that penetrate deeper into their psychological and emotional framework and lengthen past the day by day rigmarole of life. The play takes off from the aftermath of the lack of Rizvi household’s patriarch, Asghar Rizvi and shortly places the highlight on his grandson, a budding but conflicted teenager Gulzar Rizvi (Hadi Bin Arshad).

It’s straightforward to imagine that Gulzar is simply one other hormone-fuelled, rebellious teenager at first look, however one other have a look at him and one realizes that he’s a troubled teenager, not a troubling one. He reveals all of the indicators of a creating psychological sickness – restlessness and isolation, distancing from family members and having suicidal tendencies – and fails each time to clarify how he feels. Via a sequence of emotionally-charged interactions that hinge on the concern of acceptance, coupled with the unraveling of secrets and techniques that needn’t be hidden, the play provides a lesson on learn how to overcome social stigma surrounding psychological sickness and provides due care to the sufferer. Densely written, enthrallingly easy and morbidly humorous, Suno! completely blends in a dialogue on society’s unjust remedy of the mentally-challenged with the irony of all of it. The performers, significantly Arshad and Hammad Siddiq (who performs Gulzar’s father Sohail Rizvi), are good and refined within the depiction of their characters and fortunately don’t stoop to gross generalizations or usually exaggerated interpretations of them. On the entire, as Alizeh Valjee, founding member of Taskeen, places it, “As a society we’re tormented by the fear of ‘what’s going to individuals say?’ and the irony is we find yourself harming ourselves and our personal households in consequence. Suno! addresses that and extra.”

Hadi Bin Arshad brilliantly executes the position of a conflicted, depressive teenager caught in a discriminating and judgmental society.

Suno!, nonetheless, hasn’t grabbed our consideration just because it’s a deeply empathetic play talking about psychological sickness amidst a plethora of economic theatre. However as a result of the initiative is utilizing efficiency artwork as a instrument, at massive, to battle the stigma and discrimination surrounding psychological sickness and is creating consciousness with a purpose to keep away from additional tragedy. Theatre, music, drama make for a number of the most pervasive mediums in society – ones that we simply relate to and discover elements of ourselves inside. These not solely maintain up the mirror to society however can be therapeutic.

“Altering social perceptions and behavior with one theatre play is a troublesome and unrealistic job,” founding member Taha Sabri mirrored on the selection of efficiency artwork to talk up on a difficulty like psychological sickness. “However what we hoped to attain by way of this occasion was to start out a dialogue round psychological well being and shed some gentle on the issues that folks with psychological heath issues (and their households) face as a result of misconceptions about psychological sickness and the resultant stigma. Theatre and movie are nice mediums for spreading such consciousness because it permits one to present a message in a refined and interesting method with out sounding too boring, dry or preachy and nonetheless make an influence.”

We couldn’t agree extra. Initiatives like Suno!, or the Take care of Well being live performance held earlier this yr, supply much-needed psychological stimulation in an atmosphere overwhelmingly obsessive about business leisure. Extra importantly, they not solely make
audiences mirror on pointless taboos however can also hit residence to those that are unable to clarify their anxieties and despair by displaying the problems as bodily actual to a major variety of individuals.

Analysis proves that the leisure world is hiding greater than what it’s expressing. Suicides amongst celebrities are as frequent as basically public with psychological issues main the trigger. The younger crop of artists, nonetheless, have change into more and more outspoken and open about their psychological diseases – from Lena Dunham to Deepika Padukone – and that has solely helped others affiliate with them and draw inspiration from their restoration. It could be naïve to imagine that Pakistani artists don’t undergo the identical. There could also be many a musician, actor or artist who’re hiding from psychological realities just because it’s taken as an indication of weak point. Popping out by way of such platforms won’t solely lend assist to others however will even function an outlet for expression that will in any other case be suppressed.

“One of the simplest ways to cut back stigma in opposition to psychological well being issues in our society is for individuals (particularly celebrities) who’ve overcome these issues to return out and say that look we had these issues, we took skilled assist and now we’re a lot better. If any Pakistani celeb can do that then that will actually assist the trigger,” Sabri added.

Singer Sara Haider, who collaborated with Take care of Well being in February for a dwell live performance, is of the identical view. “If I sing a tune after which discuss to you about psychological well being, you usually tend to take discover and listen. It’s so simple as that. Our society doesn’t permit for us to speak about something troublesome or uncomfortable. I don’t know if I could make a change, however I can attempt,” she stated chatting with Instep on the subject.

It’s been stated earlier and there’s no hurt in saying it once more. The leisure world has a major affect on society and for that cause alone it has the duty to start out conversations, conversations on troublesome matters that supply meals for thought; for change and for betterment. Whenever you share a narrative with a bunch of individuals, it paves means for frequent, shared understanding. Equally if a play or drama talks about breaking down the social boundaries of psychological well being, individuals will reply extra, collectively. This requires our assist.

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