Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Once upon a time there was a partition...

...And for years and generations, we will never cease to center our poems, movies, plays and life around it. Whenever someone will mention the theme India or country - Wham! we will go and perform something that talks about the pain of partition and the ensuing bitterness.
Nobody can deny that it was a very significant event for our country. It did draw lines in many hearts. But what carries those lines through generations is the folklore that passes it around, sings it around - trying to evoke fear, pity, awe, pain and as a result of all this, hatred.
Currently Prithvi is running a festival with a very politically correct, but in my eyes a largely irrelevant theme - "Kala Desh ki seva mein" or Art in the service of nation. Apart from the fact that very few people will enjoy plays based on such a nationalistic theme - the assortment of plays does little to serve the nation. At least two of those plays are based on riots (and therefore linked indirectly to 'The Partition'). Then there are others which are supposed to talk about exchanging values for commercial gains, may be in a socialist bid to remind us that it is a sin to have or earn money. How can such a theme serve a nation which is trying to reach out to the entire world is beyond my understanding. I don't think that this service oriented populace is really giving up values to grow and have respectable lifestyles, then why is this depressing seed of doubt being sown into their minds?
When did nationalism become synonymous with Hindu-Muslim riots? Even though the partition was a part of our independence, how can that single event be the identity of our country which is trying hard to make a place for itself in this world. Is the only way of proving our patriotism is to shed a few tears for the pains that were suffered by so many families once upon a time. Why can we think of only things wrong with our nation when we try to "serve" our country - is there nothing to applaud in it? Are we not seeding further riots when we continue to take pride in performing the latest ones on stage?
I did go to see one of these plays, and more because it was written by Gulzar and that I like theatre, than any obligation I felt towards the nation. I cannot point one single flaw in the play - it was amazing in its direction, acting and technique. And yet, I could not help feeling a little suffocated. As the actors cried over a newspaper that was doused in blood day after day - I wanted to ask them back if they were doing any better than dressing up a blood soaked issue.

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