On stage, concern over lynchings and a desperate appeal for action

Rao’s performance followed a string of others on stage, which began with filmmaker Saba Dewan’s speech, who pointed to the “lack of action” from the government and the “complete deafening silence”.

Written by Sowmiya Ashok | New Delhi | Published: June 29, 2017 5:06 am

“IN THE name of a cow, my cow, you strike a knife through me. And in the name of Make In India, you make me run, snatch food from my mouth, chase me out of my home…” It took theatre artist Maya Krishna Rao a couple of hours on Wednesday morning to put together a performance that would run a full 20 minutes. She would gulp down two bottles of water and have glucose biscuits when it was all over, close to 8 pm that evening. Her performance would come to an end minutes before the skies opened up over the hundreds, who had gathered for the ‘Not In My Name’ protest at Jantar Mantar.

Rao had to incorporate the “immediacy of it all”, she later told The Indian Express. “Performances are usually reflective, but with this one, I had to address the here and now. I was writing a piece that was marking things as they are happening,” she said. “When I was writing this piece, I got a WhatsApp text that there had been one more lynching in Jharkhand.”

Rao’s performance followed a string of others on stage, which began with filmmaker Saba Dewan’s speech, who pointed to the “lack of action” from the government and the “complete deafening silence”. “The turnout was wonderful and reaffirmed our faith in the values of secularism,” Dewan told The Indian Express after the event.

“There were spontaneous gatherings across the country too, which reflects on how many people were outraged by what happened.”

It was Dewan’s social media post that saw people band together as volunteers to organise the event. “It really grew organically into a citizen’s movement,” said Leki Thungon, a volunteer. “It came full circle when someone invited Saba to attend an event she helped put together.”

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  1. T
    Thangavel, Sydney
    Jun 29, 2017 at 1:32 pm
    Food is a fundamental right of people in a democracy. Who gave these people power to snatch this right and attack people? First of all, who are they to represent Hinduism? Is a cow more than human? What nonsense is this? Are we going backward? Ours is a progressive democratic country. This is not the Hinduism we belong to. Hinduism as we know consists of multiple faiths/culture within itself. There is no single scripture we are bound to. We have respected other faiths and lived peacefully so long. These groups have determined to damage peace for selfish reasons. The government remain silent spectators! We can't be spectators too. It is high time for moderate Hindus to take part in protests in large numbers and put these atrocities to an end.
    1. H
      Jul 1, 2017 at 2:01 am
      Ours is a progressive democratic country LOL. A country which rates lower than even Pakistan in terms of hunger index and rank lower than even sub-Saharan Africa in terms of acute hunger.
    2. A
      Jun 29, 2017 at 12:19 pm
      Communist Chinese army is encroaching into Bhutan and Sikkim and people are having some tamasha and making new about some stray incidents, that is not even news worth.
      1. K
        Jun 29, 2017 at 12:12 pm
        It is a well known fact that Congress coffers have deep pockets due to monumental scams looting poor tax payers' money. For all the resource in possession,the crowd they could mobilize points to the fact that they are either not serious about the protest or as usual not good in the job of real orchestration despite almost ably aided by a malicious media.These jobless people,some of them may be innocent,don't know how they are playing into the hands of a mischievous plot.Fact that they organized similar protest in Pakistan and parti ted in it speaks volumes of who actually they are and what are their motives.Such rotten has become their minds that they disregard all data and can never stand for a sensible debate on the issue.When pointed that such incidence,though very reprehensible and punishable,have been happening across time line,they have the audacity to brush it aside and say that "this single event is very different"!! How nonsensical? It only means they have an agenda!