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Beyond shame

Hindi Divas, a day that celebrates the national language, is celebrated on September 14 every year. This year, to mark the occasion, Swatantra Theatre, in association with FTII, will be staging a Hindi play that stresses on the search for a safe place for women.  The play is titled Mashaal Jalao Diye Se, and is a tribute to Damini, who was the victim of the Delhi gang rape case (December 16, 2012). The play has also been selected for the second Cultural Olympiad in Dubai this year and performed at the Women Summit, which was held at the city-based Hyatt hotel in June. “We celebrate Hindi Divas every year and we decided to stage this play keeping social awareness in mind,” said Abhijeet Choudhary, the director of the play.


The play deals with the issue of sexual assault and how society and individuals deal with such victims

Choudhary adds that the play not only talks about the physical nature of the assault, but also looks into the mentality of the entire society. “Is it the upbringing that makes a difference or the value system that has to be worked on? The mental trauma of molestation and eve-teasing cannot be wiped out sometimes in an entire lifetime. The play talks about the ‘Maansikata’ or the mentality of the perpetrators.”


A scene from the play Mashaal Jalao Diye Se

The central protagonist in the play is a character called Chimni, a name given to her by a stranger who becomes her friend. “The girl child knowingly or unknowingly undergoes discrimination. She is ambitious and wants to study in an English medium school. When the friend assaults her she is thrown into a deep sea of sadness and she starts feeling that it is a curse to be a female,” states Choudhary.


Rehearsals for the play Mashaal Jalao Diye Se

The director stresses that they are not depicting the Delhi rape case but focusing on a positive story with the same backdrop. “The sensitivity of the administration is pretty much that of an average roadside thug. Many a times, the system hardly knows how to talk politely; they are barely educated, uncouth, brash and rude. Is this the paragon of sensitivity a victim of rape will run to?” The cast of the play includes Dhanashree Heblikar, Prakhar Singh, Prashant Kumar and Amit Kumar. It is written and directed by Abhijeet Choudhary.

On: September 14 and 15, 7 pm
At: Main Theatre, FTII, Law College Road. email swatantratheat

Why is Hindi Divas celebrated?
Hindi is one the oldest languages and derives much of its academic vocabulary from the Sanskrit language. On September 14, 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India adopted Hindi as the official language of India. Hindi Divas is celebrated to denote its importance and celebrate the occasion.

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