January 11, 2015

Natak Jari Hai

Neel Kamal

TWENTY Six years have elapsed since Safdar Hashmi was felled, while in performance, to the blows of the assassins. The play being performed was Halla Bol, in support of workers' demand of minimum wages. JANAM (Jana Natya Manch) came back to the site of the attack to complete the performance of the play on January 4 that year. On January 1, 1990, Janam performed a play here Natak Jari Hai, The play is going on. Indeed the show must go on, the show is going on. JANAM has been performing play(s) every year since then at the site where Safdar was attacked. Over the years many other artists/activists/ groups have joined hands with JANAM, to take their art to the working class. JANAM observed the 26th year of the attack, with various activities. The programme commenced with the shows in various schools by the students of A C Chadha School, in the month of December 2014. Himanshu Mehta, from JANAM, also conducted a workshop on body movement, culminating in a theatre performance. On December 27, JANAM along with guest volunteers, conducted a creativity workshop for children at the Safdar Hashmi Smarak Sthal where various activities were organised. It was a warm and cozy day on January 1, 2015 when JANAM and CITU volunteers reached the venue to set it up. People started flowing in much before the actual programme started. The main speaker for the public meeting was Tikender Singh from Shimla. The programme started with songs by JANAM which was followed by JANAM’s play 56 inch chhati ki daastan. The performances were well received. It was followed by dance drama performance by the artists of Jan Sanskriti. The students of A C Chadha school presented their dramatic performance of body movement. Then the public meeting began and Tikender Singh spoke, on the real and hidden motives of the present government and the truth behind the projects like the smart cities. He also referred to JANAM’s play in his speech. The programme ended with a hilarious performance by the students of A C Chadha school, which attacked the dhongi babas. Safdar had died on the night of January 2, and JANAM always observes that day with a small and intimate meeting in his memory. Trade union activist Ram Pal, who knew JANAM and Safdar intimately shared his memories of Safdar. The other speakers were Shehla Grewal Hashmi and a younger member of JANAM, Agat, who didn't actually work with Safdar, shared what Safdar has meant to him. The following evening, JANAM read poetry in memory of Safdar. The theme this year was Sheel ji’s poetry. The poetry was selected by Ashok. A clip from movie ‘Garam Hawa’ was also shown during the poetry recitation.