Old Ravians would certainly refuse to believe that Deedar, a stage dancer popular for her vulgar dances, could ever be allowed to appear someday on the stage of the Bokhari Auditorium of Government College Lahore (now given a funny name of Government College University) and dance at the Bonfire Night. According to media reports, the event’s organizers said there was nothing vulgar about Deedar’s performance and it was all for a good cause, the university’s Help the Helpless campaign through which poor students can get financial aid. The GCU Welfare Society raised Rs1.5 million at Tuesday night’s event.

The reports say that this was perhaps the first time that a theatre actress, a profession considered indecent by some, has officially performed at an event at  Asia’s most prestigious institution. She danced to several popular Pakistani and Indian songs including Sheela Ki Jawani and Munni Badnam Hui Darling Tere Liye. Around 450 students bought Rs1,000 tickets for Bonfire Night. Men were instructed to wear a black suit, while women were required to wear a red dress and a rose. Couples were offered two tickets at the concessional rate of Rs1,800. Other performers at the event included singers Shafqat Amanat Ali, Arif Lohar, Annie, Jassie and Amanat Ali Khan and bands Raga Boys and Call.

Senior faculty members criticized Deedars’ performance, saying it was not worthy of an institution of GCU’s standing. They noted that in previous years, the performers had been classical singers and regional dancers practiced in historic art forms. Their performances had cultural and educational value, they said. “Deedar’s dance sends the wrong message across the world about the GCU. Half the audience was female students. What will they have learnt from Deedar’s dance?” asked one faculty member.