4-day convention on theatre and conflict opens

By TwoCircles.net staff reporter

Ahmedabad : A 4-day National level Convention on Theatre and Conflict organised by Samvedan Cultural Programme was inaugurated here Tuesday. The convention aimed at searching for a way ahead for theatre and the role it can play in the age of globalisation where theatre itself is perishing against the infotainment onslaught.

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Introducing the programme and setting the tone for the convention, Hiren Gandhi maintained that the role of theatre is primarily to address socio-political issues.

He gave brief introduction of the sessions and objectives of the programme: "Are the forms which theatre has today enough? Are we able to address the conflict issues by being confined to forms? Should we not evolve new forms? Theatre groups all over India are trying new forms but there are gaps in linkages and sharing. Can we develop the linkages between theatre groups all over India?" he said.

Kamal Mitra Chenoy, socio-political activist, economist, human rights activist delivered the first keynote lecture
on the current socio-political issues in India.

By quoting Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, he said without social, political and economic equality we cannot expect to grow as a nation. According to him, the country today is reeling under the combined onslaught of communalism, imperialism and capitalism. The entire population of
oppressed groups in India need to come together as a united force (what he calls ‘a rainbow coalition’) to fight these forces of inequity and elitist status quo.

Mr. Anil Chaudhary (president of INSAF Delhi) chaired the 1st session of keynote lecture. The keynote lecture was followed by an open session, which covered healthy discussions on nationalism, modern education system, globalisation and privatization of modern education system, communalism, Dalit reservation, minority issues, and cultural fascism.

The participants asked questions or requested clarifications on some of the points of the keynote lecture. Mr. Kamal Mitra Chenoy and Mr. Anil Chaudhry clarified the points.

The post-lunch session had another keynote lecture on Modern proscenium theatre and conflict by Prasanna, the famous director, writer, actor of Kannada theatre. He stressed the inner and outer conflicts of theatre.

The keynote lecture was followed by an open session, which also expressed concern on the growing pace of extremism in Gujarat. "In Gujarat, we need to see theatre not only within but also without because the extremist forces are constantly brainwashing us about art," he said.