Scars of terror retold

High Impact

The play was a collage of short stories and poems by Gulzar and it retold the horrors as well as the human aspects that emerged during the Partition riots of 1947, in Mumbai (1992-93) and in Gujarat (2004). The play had hard-hitting dialogues, written in the signature style of Gulzar, that stirred the audience to think about the conditions  prevailing in the country today.

“He (my child) did not even take the religion by his choice, he got it because of his parents, then why was he chosen by death,” asked another mother whose nine-year-old child was killed in a riot.  “When the madness of riot is on a man, he won’t ask your name or your religion, the aim of the swords is to taste blood,” was another interesting line that hit the audience.

The troop members of Kalauny enacted the stories and the poems in the best possible manner. The tempo in their voices and the extended silence after the dialogues provided much impact to the scene.

In every short story, two aspects of riots came out — the suffering and the humanitarian aspects. In one of the short stories, a Sikh couple is seen migrating to India from Pakistan during Partition with their twins. The father finds out that one among the two children is dead and the mother is not ready to discard the child. One of the co-passengers asks the father to throw the child into river Ravi. In a hurry, the father throws the healthy child into river while the dead child was with the mother.

“I’ve heard Gulzar’s songs and poems, but this play is extraordinary by all standards,” said Piya Chandan, a member of the audience. “The way human emotions and humanity emerges during the riot was described excellently by the cast,” she added. “The play will remain with the actor and viewers for ever,” said Sudarshan Rajagopal, an artiste from the troupe.

“Today, we may feel that India is safe, but the hatred and terror is forever and can explode any time again. This play tells us the message of what riots can do to human beings,” said Kalauny.

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