A History of the Jana Natya Manch: Plays for the People by Arjun Ghosh

By Arjun Ghosh

A historical past of the Jana Natya Manch chronicles the delivery and development of the Jana Natya Manch (Janam), a Delhi-based radical theater crew which has been lively for the reason that 1973. starting within the early Nineteen Seventies, while a gaggle of younger scholars in Delhi sought to proceed the legacy of the Indian Peoples' Theatre organization, the publication takes an in depth yet serious examine some of the levels within the 4 many years of the theatre collective. the writer has additionally captured inside of those pages the functioning of Janam as a firm, its tools of attracting and coaching clean expertise, the method of scripting, interactions with mass agencies, the adventure of appearing virtually skin-to-skin with its spectators within the filth of Indian streets, and lots more and plenty extra. This booklet is not just a narration of Janam s background, improvement and functioning, it's also an try and throw clean gentle at the perform of theater.

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Politically too, these were troubled years with the rise of communalism, the initiation of economic liberalization, and the fall of the Soviet Union. The last chapter of this section, “New Directions (1995–Present),” focuses on Janam’s work in the recent years. Janam has responded to communal violence, globalization, displacement of working-class slums, and attacks on democratic rights in its plays. The highlights being Ye Dil Maange More, Guruji (This Heart Desires More, Guruji, March 2002), which were created to respond to the communal carnage, which occurred in Gujarat in February–March 2002, and the proscenium play Shambuk Vadh (The Killing of Shambuk, 2004), which speaks of a new orientation within the Indian Left toward the politics of caste.

The lathi of the Security Officer is now used as a machine gun. He fires on the workers while producing sounds of gun shots orally. The workers lie dead on the ground. But this is not the end. The Sutradhar now suggests that there is another way—the workers will respond to repression by greater unity and struggle. The dead workers get up one by one with cries of “Inquilab Zindabad” (Long Live the Revolution) and encircle the Mill Owner and the Security Officer. The actors stand with 37 38 A History of the Jana Natya Manch their backs to each other at the center of the acting area and sing the “Internationale” in Hindi.

The insensitivity of the mill-owner is captured in a combination of poetic prose and composition: Mill Owner: Tea! Bread! Tea! Bread! Don’t you do any work other than to think of tea and bread! Worker 2: Please listen to us. (The worker stretches out his hands towards the mill owner. The mill owner turns away and covers his ears with his hands. ) Worker 3: Did you see, this is what happens. At one end there is the blood thirsty security officer, and on the other there is the owner not willing even to talk.

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