“In my moments of spiritual crisis, Shrimadji was my refuge,” wrote Mahatma Gandhi in his autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth. Celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of the great Indian saint and poet-philosopher, Shrimad Rajchandraji, who was a formative influence on Mahatma Gandhi, the Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur (SRMD) brings to Pune its theatre production tilted Yugpurush — Mahatma na Mahatma. Portraying the profound relationship between the two greats, the play shows Gandhiji’s internal and external journeys unfold under the inspiration of Shrimadji’s direct interactions and insightful letters.
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The year-long celebration of Rajchandraji’s birth anniversary began from the Red Fort with Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing it in his speech on India’s 70th Independence Day. The Gujarati play is a tribute to the two greats bringing to the forefront a powerful experience of looking within, upholding truth and fearlessness, as well as transforming character and consciousness. The play is directed by Rajesh Joshi of Code Mantra fame, scripted by playwright Uttam Gada of Maharathi fame and the music direction is by composer duo Sachin-Jigar.
Yugpurush also managed to catch the attention of the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Tushar Gandhi, who wants this play to be taken all over the world, but especially to those places that need it the most — where the message of ahimsa is absent. He added, sharing his thoughts after beholding the world premiere of Yugpurush, “These two greats have sown in us the seeds of becoming better human beings. It’s now upon us to irrigate it with our own experiences, and with the humility of the belief that we are nothing but instruments.”
The play kicked off in Pune on the Republic Day and will be staged across auditoriums in the city till January 30, the occasion of Gandhji’s death anniversary. While three performances took place on January 26 (one at Annabhau Sathe Auditorium and two at Balgandharva Rangmandir), a special show for the people from different NGOs of Pune was held on January 27 at Yashwantrao Chavan Auditorium and Susie Sorabji Auditorium. Annabhau Sathe Auditorium would host two performances of the play at 8.30 pm on January 28 and 29 and Balgandharva Rang Mandir will hold an early morning show on January 29 at 9.30am. Theatre enthusiasts can also catch the special shows on January 30 at Swami Vivekanand Auditorium (MIT) at 2 pm and again at Annabhau Sathe Auditorium at 7pm, organised in association with Maharashtra State Khadi and Village Industry Board and Gandhi National Memorial Society.