Human violence takes many forms

Serious act

Human violence takes many forms

There is war everywhere...at the borders, on the streets, at homes, in bedrooms and even within...Highlighting the psyche of human violence and the consequences of war on the common man, Flying Feathers Art Association staged a play Blackboard Land recently at the ongoing 16th Bharat Rang Mahotsav.

The plot revolves around three people, stranded in an isolated place at the periphery of a war zone---a place situated near the merging borders of two states having a common ethnic background. The dialects spoken by the characters differs from each other which further aggravates the conflict within them to the levels of mistrust which ends in physical violence.

 Directed by Rajesh Singh, Blackboard Land was an attempt to reach the depths of the human psyche through the layers of culture, religion, ethnicity and language. The one-hour-twenty minutes play recreated a war zone complete with a dilapidated shed, bloodshed, mayhem and the sounds of bullets and guns ringing out in the background. The lead characters were played by Amit Saxena, as a photographer, Sahiba Vij, in the role of a young Muslim college girl and Biplob Borkakoti, as a soldier.

The play highlighted how war ruins the life of ordinary citizens – both physically and mentally. But, a war doesn’t always mean bloodshed, guns and bullets, it means torturing of the human soul too. The play based on a serious issue also dwelt on the more distressing aspect of ‘rape’ as a weapon to browbeat and bring into submission a people and that both men and women are victims of these ‘power crimes’ during such hostilities.

Mana played by Sahiba, along with her best friend was gang raped by soldiers who killed her boyfriend. Fighting for her life and running away from the war-torn area, Mana ends up in a dilapidated shed where the photographer is hiding. After a few misunderstandings due to the language barrier, they break the ice with ‘working English’ and share their horrifying stories.

Their situation is made worse by the entry of an enemy soldier in the shed, played by Biplob. Fully armed, the soldier tries to extract information from the two. Language issues lead to more confusion and violence in the shed. During the heated conversation, the photographer, who has been hired by an English newspaper to cover the war shares how he was forced by the soldiers to commit rape. He speaks about a drawing on the blackboard in a room of an angel and how he will be haunted by that angel for the rest of his life.

Talking about the play, Rajesh, says, “Nowadays, we see aggression in every human being. Even in Metro, people are ready to fight at the drop of a hat. Using ‘war’ as a metaphor, I have also shown how crimes against women have increased in the recent past and how insecurity has increased within all of us. A Bihari will always be in fear in Maharashtra, a northeasterner will always be insecure in Delhi – all these are part of that ‘war’.”

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