Author- Oohini Mukhopadhyay
The famous Inter College ‘Nukkad Naatak’ fest knocked the gates of Ramjas College on 4th of March, 2016. A little drizzle in the morning showered a fresh omen to begin with. The fest has been native to Ramjas and is popular within Delhi University Drama societies but that does not stop other colleges, beyond Delhi University to participate in this historical dramatics festival.
Mukhatib, is not just a festival to honour the very intrinsic street plays but a complete negation of all inhibitions and ceremoniously celebrating the essence of nurturing the ability to express. A holistic celebration that Mukhatib is, created an alternative reality for a few hours in Ramjas.
The various colleges that participated definind a zone free of stereotypes and presented a mandatory rethinking of real lives and real possibilities drawing contrasts within a philosophical adoration of undercutting realities and normative functioning.
Hindu College: Ibtida presents
“Hawa Nayi, Rukh Wahi”
Known to be the strongest weapon of a man’s morality-religion, has created wolves of Intolerance. Like an ill-fitting jigsaw puzzle; diversity of religions has acted as a curse to India rather than its boon for many years. Why then is the new wind of our over reactions fanning the already existing fire? From comments based on half, incomplete knowledge on social media to blatant acts of violence in reality, are we unknowingly feeding the hungry wolves?
Or worse, are we knowingly doing so?
Shaheed Bhagat Singh College(morning): Natuve presents
“Namastey..mera naam hai nakli!”
“God made everything that has life and the rest is Made-in-China”
China took the world by storm with its low-cost manufactured products and foreign markets flooded with Chinese goods are a testimony to that. The street play showcased the detrimental effects of Chinese goods on Indian economy and how the increasing use of these cut-price products is vastly hampering the Indian manufacturers and consumers as a whole.
Products made in China are cheap though the exploitation of the workforce every time we shop, is driving the nail further into the coffin of Indian manufacturing jobs. Despite being aware of the ill-effects of these so hyped “sasta samaan”, Indian consumers happily reach out for it. The play strives to set things “un-China”
SSCBS College: Verve presents
“The Black Box”
The ability to think creatively and create art is a unique characteristic of humans. Throughout the history art has been a major contributor in converging the suppressed and giving them the power to rise above.
This play focuses on the barrier of Censorship. Emphasizing on the side effects of imposing such restrictions on art raises the issue of increasing intolerance and sensitivity in the Indian society. Censorship of art, fundamentally based on the principle, “Prevention is better than Cure”, does not take into account the subjectivity of ‘morals’ in the society. The biggest paradox being, that no Individual ever believes to be a part of the vulnerable section and takes a moral high ground.
If all criticism and objections are drawn out of the society then nothing would be left except a state of neutrality, without any dissent. Without dissent, evolution is impossible.
Ramjas College: Shunya presents Kaachu
“Something made you cry, the dirt inside your eye”
Inspired by Ajay Krishnan’s play, Butter and Mashed Banana, represents a world where critique is intolerable and a manufactured truth is fed to the masses, “Kaachu” tells the lifestory of a nameless protagonist. An average Joe,(an “artist” by profession) and his journey of self- discovery with failures and triumphs throughout is depicted in a constant squabble with dichotomous ideologies that he encounters since his birth.
What happens to the freedom of expression, our protagonist’s “art” in this case, when it enters the world heavily influenced by the politics of everything? Does a liberal society cease to exist? These were the questions gleaned upon by Shunya.
Gargi College: Kshitij presents
Focusing on the changing temperament of the nature of religion, the title of the play adds to the burlesque aspect of it. Depicting what society today does in the name of “holiness” or God, dawning upon “Holy”, “Godly”, “Saintly”, highlighted how the present has brought us to a point from where the humanity is viewed using this element of “holiness” for mere gains.
Modelling on the gruesome conflict of Israel and Palestine over the holy land of Jerusalem and linking it with communal conflict, the play goes on drawing parallels with our country’s Babri Masjid etc. The futility of religion being the bone of connection and contention among people all over the globe was the main agenda.
S.G.T.B. Khalsa College: Ankur presents
As ambiguously titled, the play dealt with the political ideology of Hindutva, which strives to foster a unilateral and ideologically hegemonic environment/ “Bharat” via their problematic portrayal of Cultural Nationalism. People not abiding by the same ideologies are demeaned as ‘Anti- Nationals’, non-acceptors of plurality of thoughts, subjects their notions as paramount.
Probing into the mushrooming and support of all such ideologies by the state, the play responded to the byplay wherein the freedom has been exploited. Questioning eventually, the flawed political set up in a yearn to revive an alternative democracy in truest sense.
Lady Irwin College: Akaar presents
“Ek. Meri Bhi!”
With no absolute intention to offend the ‘general’ or ‘reserved’ category, play’s focal point apprehended the policy of reservation for the depressed classes in the country. Undoubtedly, it was needed in India, back, when the discrimination on the basis of caste, rooted inhumane torture, where some of the tribal societies were secluded to the verge of an extinction.
However in modern times, things are proving to be counter- productive. Conversely one enjoys privilege, where on one hand the wealthy ‘gujjars’, ‘patels’ demand the reservation falling within the ambit of cast; on the other hand the economically poor “general” category has no scope and just disdains the wreckage created by the constitution.
The production, shamelessly mocked the latest fad amongst groups in the societies of India, to build up tension and demand for a a redoing of many things. The trend is bold, dark yet a funny spot on the face of the society and system where their mockery justified all prerequisites.
G.B. Pant Engineering College: Buniyaad presents
“A Magician from Nowhere”
This directed a journey of a student who wants to write a poem. In this journey to the “Department of Lost and Never Found”, he finds atrocities and undemocratic conditions for Adivasis and Maoists living in red corridors of India. The whole play metaphorized into a fictitious place called Nowhere Land, which sort of transgresses into the present idea of befitting. The poem of the student draws a satire on the whole ‘civilized’ Indian society and provides a gig for all.
G.T.B.I.T College: Etcetra presents
“Michus Taarun Kashir”
This one echoed the issue of Kashmiri Pandits, the problem and its origins through the eyes of a young boy who is in the middle of all the wrath and an old man who lives on with his utopian world, his own “Jahaan”. The play tries to bring together a painting of this “Jahaan”, contrasting, with its scenic beauty and wrathful turbulence sewn together.
Chronologically, it brings together the different issues at hand starting from the state of Ante Bellum to the mass exodus and the aftermath. Ironically depicted is the religious majority of a country brutalized by the minority, leading to the popping of a bubble of false security created by the divide. The void created by the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits depicts the stark similarity to the double migration of Hindus and Muslims during the partition. The play ends with a reintegration of the two communities and shows the ways that lead them to such a closure with love, respect, apology and security as vantage points.
Mukhatib explored a range of sonorous issues that churn the spirits of the youth. It was a show of challenging the prescriptions and demise of free thought. Blood boiling issues and resonating concerns were at the zenith. Mirroring the possibilities and restrictions at its best the street plays evoked a sense of solidarity.