Budhan Theatre Update July 2011
April 21st, 2012, comments, Posted by admin
by Roxy Gagdekar
(Submitted September 2, 2011)
In the year 2010-11, the members of Budhan Theatre were salaried, which gave a boost to the theatre activities. Five new plays were produced: (1) The Story of Me and You; (2) Goat, written by Sarveswar Dayal; (3) Dayashanker’s Diary; (4) We are Nomads, Sir (with new artists from Maninagar); and (5) Safarnama, a collage of all the plays and a few films of Budhan Theatre.
We also performed Accidental Death of an Anarchist at the Tamashaa festival with the Samvedna Group on April 30, 2011. The Story of Me and You debuted there, and Goat was performed the next day. We are Nomads, Sir was performed in Tejgadh by the girls’ group of Maninagar. Performances of Dayashanker’s Diary are ongoing in Chharanagar.
Our annual Liberation Day (Vimukta Diwas) celebrartion was held on August 31, 2011 at the Kutch Kadva Patidar Hall in Naroda. We performed Safarnama and Bakri for about 1000 people.
The children’s theater created two new plays in Bhantu language, Bhanatara Bigara Ka Jivan (Life Without Education) and Mahari Library (Our Library). Both were performed in celebration of Republic Day on January 26, 2011. The earlier production Charan Das Chor was performed during the theatre festival. A new play Raja Sansi (The Sansi King) is in rehearsals and will be ready by August 5, 2011.
Budhan School of Theatre, Journalism and Media
Two certificate courses were conducted from July 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010. “Workshop in Basic Theatre,” a three months certificate course, was conducted for the Theatre, while a four month “Journalism Workshop” was conducted from September 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010. Fifteen students attended both the journalism workshop and the theatre workshop. The diploma course affiliated with IGNOU began on July 15, 2011. Currently there are twelve students enrolled in the diploma course in theatre, journalism and media, while twenty students are enrolled in the certificate course in theatre arts. Classes for both courses convene at the Chharanagar Library.
The non-formal education system at the Budhan School has fifty students for the academic year 2010-11. Students from std 1st to 10th were enrolled and were taught the basics of English, Gujarati and Mathematics. There are sixty students enrolled for the academic year 2011-12. This year we have started to review the students monthly, and building a bridge between the Budhan Theatre and the children’s parents.
At the library, we are utilizing the unique Montessori method to teach students. With the help of many educational tools, and teaching through playing with the students, the students have engaged in several different educational, artistic and recreational activities. Over one hundred students have benefitted from these activities, along with a creative workshop organized with the help of students from the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad.
Currently 10 students have been trained for basic computer through the computer classes at the Chharangar Library.
A music workshop teaching the students basic harmonium and different folk music have been conducted regularly. Ten students have so far been able to play the drums and the harmonium.
Coordination with other groups
Ball State University
Budhan Theatre hosted a group of twenty-five students from Ball State University, USA from January to February, 2011. The students worked in the Chharanagar Library and conducted a geographical survey of Chharanagar. At the end of these activities, the students prepared a map of Chharanagar.
Mahindra School, Pune
A group of students from Mahindra School, Pune visited the library for a day in July 2011. Students from different countries on exchange to India visited the library and participated in a theatre workshop.
Mahatma Gandhi International School
In May 2011, a group of students from France, with the help of Mahatma Gandhi International School, visited the library and participated in a creative workshop.
Legal Defense for DNT Communities
Budhan Theatre successfully coordinated the Maninagar Case for housing rights of DNTs, winning a favorable decision in the Supreme Court of India.
For many years Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (“AMC”) demolished the huts of DNT people in the Maninangar area of Ahmedabad city. These demolitions were part of the beautification of the city and the DNT people were helpless as they did not have documentary proof to fight the legal battle against eviction. In 2008, Budhan Theatre filed a legal case with the available documents in the high court for the housing right of DNTs, including Dabgar (Sansi), Rajbhoi and Vaghri. We received assistance from our friend and colleague Dr. Devy, who introduced us to Adv. Megha Jani. Adv. Jani filed a case in the Gujarat High Court and obtained an interim stay order, allowing the DNTs to remain in their homes until the court decision was rendered. After two years of struggle, the honourable court dismissed the case, but AMC filed for eviction in the Honourable Supreme Court (“SC”) of India. After consulting with the DNT community, we challenged the AMC in SC and decided to fight until justice was served. Our advocate filed a reply in the SC and, with help from other lawyers of the SC, we fought this case for one and a half years. After a long battle, on April 11th the SC issued a Stay Order and mandated that the State Government provide land to the affected people.
In addition, Budhan Theatre volunteers tirelessly visited community members and participated in many other developmental activities. We admitted sixty students from Maninagar Basti who were not attending school (most of them dropouts) into private and government schools in Maninagar and nearby areas. We also started two different NFE centers which are held at Maninagar Basti, with fifty students in the morning shift every day. Also, Budhan Theatre program Manager Kalpana Gagdekar has developed a girls’ theatre group in the community and they are now beginning to perform their social and political issues through theatre.