Tibetan struggle for freedom

If not Momowallahs then we are Assamese or chinkis for these North Indians,” shouts Tashi, directing his gaze at the audience. While his mother tries to calm him down and advises against responding with rage in front of the local policemen, his grandmother, who herself fought for Tibet’s freedom, supports Tashi’s outburst of anger.

Taking up residence at the Majnu-ka-Tila in Delhi, this family from Tibet, who were opposed the Chinese domination in their country, has found in India their temporary shelter. But atrocities at the social and moral front don’t end for them in this country too.

Tashi and his family, who are rallying for freedom and nationality, give only a glimpse of the plight that every Tibetan is going through in the country of their residence. Portraying their agony, students of Ramjas College staged a Hindi play Algaav at LTG Auditorium, as part of the recently concluded Atelier Campus Theatre Festival.

In the one-hour play, directed by students Tenzin Dalha and Kshitij Mervin, two stories run parallel -- one dating back to the Mao Zedong era, which forced Tibetans to move out of their own country, and the other representing the problem, that refugees in another land routinely face.

The play opens with the inmates talking about freedom and their refusal to accept the Chinese ideologies imposed on them. It includes not only those who want the country to run on religious principles but also those who, although support progress which comes with accepting new ideologies, have been protesting against the authoritarian rule of the Chinese.

A woman amongst these inmates, Aade, is raped by the officer of the jail while Bema who resists Zedong’s visit to the jail is brutally killed. As years pass by, Aade comes to India with her daughter Neema. Tashi, who is Neema’s son, has grown up with the dream of seeing Tibet free. He too is a revolutionary, just like her grandmother, who was the same inmate who bore the brunt of being a prisoner. 

Neema struggles to keep the family intact by running a small food joint. She deals with the landlord, Sejwal, who leaves no chance to hit on her. Sometimes, asking her to go out with him and have gulab jamun and many a times, making sarcastic remarks on their nationality. He, though, helps the family when Tashi is arrested for giving speech at Majnu-ka-Tila. But that too, by threatening to throw them out of the house, if Tashi is caught again by the police.

In terms of acting, every character did justice to their role. Sejwal’s one-liner’s added a comic element to the serious play. The end of the crisp story was when Tashi leaves for Tibet leaving behind several questions for the audience to ponder on about their attitude and morality.

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