Habib Tanvir who dominated the Indian theatre scene for nearly half-a-century is no more. He died in Bhopal at the age of 86.
Tanvir’s role in keeping Indian theatre close to the masses is second to none. Agra Bazar and Charandas Chor are universally acclaimed as among the most popular plays in post-independent India.
Tanvir, who was born in Raipur in 1923, had leftist leanings from the beginning. He wrote poetry in Urdu and adopted the ‘takhallus’ or pen name Tanvir.
He blended theatre, folk art and poetry with finesse. The artistes whether the fakirs of Delhi or the villagers from tribal dominated Chhattisgarh, remained with him like his family members.
With a firm conviction to expose the bigotry and fundamentalism in the society, he kept penning plays that often rubbed on the wrong side of the right-wing BJP-led governments.
His play ‘Ponga Pandit’ drew the ire of the BJP and its sister organisations. But Tanvir remained unperturbed. A crusader against communalism and a champion of communal harmony, Tanvir’s legacy will be carried by his daughter Nageen.