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Monday, January 20, 2020

Act Two

This act strives to look at history with a fresh set of eyes.

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | Published: November 7, 2013 5:42:30 am

This act strives to look at history with a fresh set of eyes. CEVA Drama Repertory Company’s latest play 1857 Ki Kahani Haryana Ki Zubani is about the significant role that Haryana played in the 1857 Uprising. Directed and produced by GS Chani and written by P Chandrashekhar,the play uses swang — the folk theatre of Haryana,and integrates it with contemporary theatre techniques. Chani says that it’s not mere coincidence that before the first shot of mutiny was fired by Mangal Pandey in Meerut on the afternoon of May 10,1857,nine hours prior to that,the soldiers of Ambala had already revolted against the British. The revolt of Indian soldiers at Ambala and Meerut on the same day confirms the fact that the Uprising was a meticulously planned but closely-guarded act.

The final part of the plan was to advance to Delhi after annihilating the British at Ambala and Meerut cantonments. The British,however,were alert at Ambala and the Indian soldiers failed to translate their plans into action. They succeeded at Meerut though. Had the Ambala troops also succeeded,history could have been different.

In Haryana,local rajas,zamindars,sepoys,faqirs and ordinary people collectively fought against the East India Company. As a matter fact,it was the tyranny of the British that pushed the ordinary people,farmers,artisans,petty traders and sepoys to revolt. Whereas some of the rajas supported the British by providing them troops to crush the revolt,other local rulers were annoyed with the British policies,by which they were deprived of their privileges. It did not take them long to jump in the fray.

It is ironical that their participation also proved to be fatal for the mutiny because most of them played dubious roles. “We have focused on the socio-economic aspect of the movement and the hero of the play is the common man. It focuses on the question of freedom – from both a historical and contemporary perspective,’’ says Chandrashekhar.

The play will be staged at Tagore Theatre on November 26 at 6 pm and at Kalagram on November 29

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