Holding a mirror to society

Holding a mirror to society
Stories of responsibility, discrimination and gender stereotypes were enacted by a group of adolescents with the aim to sensitise society to gender discrimination. A group of 31 adolescents are putting up a play titled <g data-gr-id="50">Paheliyan</g>.

The 40 minute play followed by a 10 minute musical performance is part of an Inclusion Mela being facilitated by <g data-gr-id="68">Mazil</g> Mystics and The Roleplay Productions in collaboration with CYC (ComMutiny — The Youth Collective) and Pravah, Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS), Manzil and American Center.

“The children who have been part of this production have faced a great deal of <g data-gr-id="76">gender</g> discrimination at home, in the neighbourhood, with friends and in the schools they been going to. I have been hearing stories on how mothers are advising, ordering, conditioning their daughters to be and think in a certain way,” says Anish Singh founder of Roleplay Productions.

It is an organisation which has theatre and arts based projects that explore gender and its complexities among the youth.

The play and the musical performance is set to question identity, stereotypes, bias and judgments between male and female.

The play is purely based on improvisation skills that help send out a powerful message.

“Who gets priority to eat food at <g data-gr-id="79">dining</g> table? How the explanation, justification of any act is given <g data-gr-id="83">tu</g> ni kar <g data-gr-id="84">sakti</g> <g data-gr-id="85">tu</g> <g data-gr-id="86">ladki</g> ha, ye <g data-gr-id="87">tu</g> <g data-gr-id="88">kyon</g> <g data-gr-id="89">karegi</g>,  <g data-gr-id="90">vo</g> kar <g data-gr-id="91">sakta</g> hai, <g data-gr-id="92">ja</g> <g data-gr-id="93">sakta</g> hai <g data-gr-id="94">vo</g> <g data-gr-id="95">ladka</g> hai, <g data-gr-id="96">usko</g> koi <g data-gr-id="97">kuch</g> ni <g data-gr-id="98">bolega</g>, <g data-gr-id="99">vo</g> <g data-gr-id="100">ladka</g> hai <g data-gr-id="101">sambhaal</g> <g data-gr-id="102">lega</g>, tum <g data-gr-id="103">ladki</g> ho <g data-gr-id="105">fas</g> <g data-gr-id="104">jaogi</g> such dialogues are endlessly portrayed in the play,” says Singh.

The first story deals with how gender roles and gender discrimination has rendered society blind.
The second deals with how gender is practiced at home between children, how children pick up  gender roles, responsibility, privileges and start practicing it at home with their siblings.

“My brother is allowed to go out or come late at night, but I am not. Last week I got late from my music practice and my brother started scolding me. I had a big fight with him that if he can go out at night, why can’t I? And if he is so worried about me, why can’t he take all the responsibilities,” says Preeti Arya, BA (3rd year), one of the performers and a member of Manzil Mystics. 

Inspired by such real life incidents which have always bothered them, these children and young adolescents want to just tell people — “please change your thinking and step into the world where everyone loves each other and think about each other’s happiness”.

“We people have learned to live as individuals, through this play we want to spread the message that gender discrimination hurts,” says Archana, BA (Music Hons), performer and a member of Roleplay Productions.

While practicing for the play and the musical for the past seven months, the group continuously shared their experience of gender discrimination with each other.

“While learning the song Daulat the children were forced to think of gender stereotypes we face in society. “There’s a part in which they sing <g data-gr-id="69">ladki</g> <g data-gr-id="70">badi</g> hai ya <g data-gr-id="71">ladka</g> <g data-gr-id="72">bada</g> hai ya <g data-gr-id="73">gora</g> <g data-gr-id="74">bada</g> hai ya <g data-gr-id="75">kala</g>?<g data-gr-id="63">,</g> the children shared what happens at their home. There are countless stories,” says Anurag Hoon founder of Manzil Mystic.

This Delhi based choir group with a passion for traditional Indian music, Indian Folk music contribute to social causes wherever they feel a need.

After the <g data-gr-id="53">play</g> a ten-minute musical performance was rendered by participants with songs inspired by mystic poet and saint Kabir Das and Mahatma Gandhi.

“The idea is to show the power of music and changes which can be brought to society through it. With the help of the powerful words and teachings of saint Kabir Das and Mahatma Gandhi we will deliver the message that we all carry a colour in our life, but we can only get that colourful life with a rainbow when we are together,” says Hoon.

 The play and the performance was organised at The American Center on June 4.



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