In the post-Independence India,as leaders and statesmen began the process of nation-building,the Indian Peoples Theatre Association (IPTA) began its own task of establishing a powerful cultural grounding for the new nation. Though linked inextricably with the early days of the republic,IPTA is just as active today. A forthcoming festival of plays,to celebrate the golden jubilee of the organisation,will showcase some of these recent successes.
The festival opens on Saturday with Aetraaf-e-Ghalib,a musical in Urdu in which the poet laureate looks back at his own life. Based on Ghalibs letters,it dwells on little-known facts about his life,introspective passages and spiritual reflections, says director Aziz Quraishi. The next day will see an adaptation of Ismat Chughtais Dozakh,titled Aur Ek Sacch. This play shows how women are trapped by men due to their own vulnerability and ignorance,and how they are brutalised through child marriages or marital rapes,manipulated through religion or societal norms,abandoned through divorce or bigamy.
To be staged on April 14,the play Anarkali-Akbar-Salim begins where most stories on the Mughal court dancer end,with her being walled in. On stage,the storyline explores how Anarkalis mother reacts and how the tragedy redefines Salims relationship with his father. As the action unfolds,the play raises the issue of honour killings,a social evil that still persists in India. All these plays have been performed over the past four years and,despite their intense themes,audiences have loved them, says Quraishi. The festival ends on April 15 with Be Libaas,a tale of men sexually exploiting women,which follows IPTAs tradition of social plays. The play negates the theory of black-and-white situations of suppression and oppression, says Quraishi.
The festival will be held
from April 7-15 at Meghdoot III,Rabindra Bhavan,