Perils Of Nuclear Energy
Addressing negative consequences of nuclear tests for the environment and human health in the areas around these sites, pointing the finger at the Soviet and current governments, “This is Silence” highlights one of the main points that the artist seeks to stress: the absence of public discussion about critical issues.
Greta Thunberg. It Is Time To Rebel!
Student, activist and initiater of ”The Greta Effect”
THEATRE UNDER PRESSURE.
The facts [some of it] about Climate Change are out there. With a few articles and videos, anyone can know that Climate Change is serious and needs immediate attention. Yet, we continue living our lives at the cost of the planet. With so much awareness, why are we not moving towards climate action and justice? How can our collective consciousness be pricked? Can we use the theatre to tell the story of the tree that I was looking at? Can we understand climate change from the aerial view of the parrot? Can we reflect on how much plastic waste we generate every day? With these questions, we set out to explore how theatre can talk about climate change.
WHERE TIGERS ARE HAPPY!
Initiated by the Sanctuary Nature Foundation, ‘Kids for Tigers’ is an inspiring project that educates schoolchildren about the welfare of wild animals. Spearheading this program, is Govardhan Meena, a sensitive village boy who grew up to be a saviour of tigers, of forest land and their inhabitants. Born in 1980 to a Meena tribal family living on the outskirts of Ranthambhore, Rajasthan, the unassuming young man is a virtual Pied Piper for children learning about the environment. He works 24x7 with a single-mindedness, building bridges between people and parks. No wonder, the awards and certificates in his prized possession, are more than deserving for a man whose life is dedicated to helping village children seed bonds with nature’s wilderness.
DANCE LIKE A MAN!
Dancer, choreographer and actor, Revanta Sarabhai, the third generation of a famed family of classical Indian dance, believes the arts have a way of reaching out to people in an entirely different way than scientific data or information does; that performance tends to have a greater emotional and empathetic impact on people’s senses rather than only their rational brain. Believing that the arts have a tremendous role to play in championing the cause of climate change [or any major challenge human beings face globally], he urges artists to harness the power of the arts to create change. With this conviction, Sarabhai shares with us his conceptual performance questioning climate change.
DANCE OF THE ACTION BRIGADE
When a dancer is concerned about climate change issues there is a strong potential to nudge the emotions of viewers in a way that can impact an audience sometimes more quickly than an entire thesis on the subject.
CELEBRATING THE WILDERNESS
“Humanity can no longer stand by in silence while our wildlife and nature are being used, abused, and exploited.
THEATRE SALUTES THE ENVIRONMENT
Theatres evolve to reconnect us to each other and the environment
FROM TRASH TO TREASURE
Veena Sahajwalla is a whirlwind of ideas and energy, determined to tackle the mountain of waste, especially -waste generated by Australians every year. Recycling waste into ‘green steel’ and ‘green ceramics’ is the result of years of experimentation at UNSW [University Of New South Wales, Sydney]. Director of the UNSW Sydney SMaRT Centre and a Eureka Prize winner [considered the pinnacle of scientific achievement in ustralia], Professor Sahajwalla was also awarded the PLuS Alliance prize for innovation in 2017.
BITTU SAHGALSEEKING SANCTUARY
In kinship with wildlife, with nature, with the air we breathe Bittu Sahgal shares his lifetime’s camaraderie with the environment
PROTEST, REFORM, SOW SEEDS OF HARMONY, HARVEST PEACE...
As a migrant academic in Aotearoa New Zealand, who studies the intersections of indigenous struggles, racism, and social change, I have both witnessed and personally experienced the deep inequalities that make up this land.
MY PASSION FOR THE ARTS. JENNIFER LEALAND
Actor, Director, Nurturer of Performance Arts
PM JACINDA ARDERN BORN TO INSPIRE
Lessons in Leadership in the Post-Truth Era
I AM AN INDIGENOUS MAN ON STOLEN LAND
At the heart of Chevron Hassett’s practice is community orientated concerns that stem from a Mãori foundation of whanaungatanga, or kinship. It inspires his creative direction to explore his childhood, his ancestry, cultural and social identity, and the urban Mãori experience. Hassett places the Mãori youth in a series of installations titled, ‘A Place TÅª Be’ [He plays with the Mãori word ‘t«’ meaning ‘situated’] in an urban, contemporary landscape, to provoke thinking of their early ancestral narratives and their current existence; to investigate ontological questions of the journey between then and now.
CARE. WORKING WITH THE “MARGINS OF THE MARGINS”
In the backdrop of the inequalities that are produced and sustained by processes of colonisation and neoliberalism, CARE, [Culture-centered Approach to Research and Evaluation], seeks to build spaces of co-creation with Indigenous communities. They create alternative frameworks of development, amidst the ongoing struggles for livelihood experienced by Mãori, the “margins of the margins”, with solutions emerging from lived experiences.
THE MAGIC OF MUSIC
At some point in our lives, we have all heard phrases like, “Find your true voice,” “Sing your own song,” or “Dance to the rhythm of your own drum.” Could it be that these musical metaphors have deeper truths within them? Maybe it is not only what we find in music that enriches our lives; rather what music helps us discover within ourselves. Can music, like a good teacher or a close friend, help us discover things about ourselves that we might not otherwise recognise? Does music actually help us form a vision of who we are as children and who we will become in the world?
Identity. Lost And Found
Identity, as one’s sense of self and its persistence, shaped through ascriptive and subjective processes, is natural to humans as social beings. Identity politics, however, is not natural.
THE RIVER BEARS OUR HISTORY
The Citizenship Amendment Act [CAA] has become a contentious legislation in India after the President’s green signal to have it implemented on December 11, 2019. As per the Act, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have migrated from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan until December 31, 2014, and who “have faced religious persecution there” will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship. This bill, driven by religious biases is clearly initiated by Right-wing parties and is a discriminatory act against Muslim migrants who have been threatened to be sent back to wherever they arrived from. As of now, those most impacted in the Muslim community are from Assam in North-east India. Journalist Shalim Hussein gives us an insight into the targeted minority community from the region.
THE STAGE LETS YOU “BE”
Indian theatre has experienced many forms of perspectives on identity issues. Around a century ago, Narayan Shripad Rajhans, better known by his stage name Bal Gandharva, held sway in the world of Marathi sangeet natak [musical], playing top-billed women characters like Vasantsena in Mruchchakatika [or, The Little Clay Cart an approximate 5th century play] and Sindhu in Ekach Pyala, a Marathi language drama by Ram Ganesh Gadkari [1885-1919]. Rajhans’ hyper-femininity created a distinct archetype, setting trends and “visibilising” women long before they were “allowed” on stage to portray themselves. Such an entity created the presence of womanhood even if it was conspicuously absent, and was very different from the naachyas of Nautanki — male dancers whose exaggerated femininity acted as a foil to performers who were authentically women, explains theatre practitioner Vikram Phukan.
ZAINAB SALBI. BEYOND THE STEREOTYPE
Zainab Salbi,  was born in Baghdad, Iraq. She was named as one of the “25 Women Changing The World” in 2016 by The People magazine.
IDENTITY IN DIVERSITY: ESSENCE OF INDIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC
Music in India has had an all-pervasive existence permeating every walk of life. We have a bewildering variety of musical categories, systems, and forms, many of which are specific to region, community, age, gender and occasion. In fact, while these musical streams have had a parallel existence, there have been several instances of them having drawn from each other and having moved across these boundaries. This musical plurality is hardly surprising given the fact that the arts reflect the immense cultural diversity that we live amidst.
WHEN YOU... ARE THE DANCE
Kathak, one of eight Indian classical dance forms, originated it is said, in the 3rd or 4th century BC with mythologies like the Mahabharata having mentioned Kathak in their narratives. “Kathak” is derived from the Sanskrit word Katha [Story]. Hence this dance form which narrates a story through the expressions and body movements came to be called Kathak. It was during the Mughal era, in the 16th century A.D. that Kathak received Royal patronage and was performed in the courts. During this period, Kathak received elements from other dance forms like the Persian dance form wherein the art of straight leg movements was introduced along with the spinning movement. Similarities have also been noted between Kathak and the Spanish dance of Flamenco especially in the way feet movements are done. However, Lucknow and Banaras in India, became the two regions specialising in the Kathak dance form. Farah Yasmeen Sheikh shares with us her own travels with Kathak and how she identifies with its rich tradition.
I LOST MY IDENTITY. BUT I FOUND THEIRS!
Jimmy Nelson believes that exposing the world to the richness and range of indigenous peoples is the way to safeguard not only their traditions and ways of life, but also to bolster one of humanity’s greatest values: cultural diversity. Having witnessed a sharp decline in cultural diversity in the last decades he felt the need to make people aware of this global issue. As he says, “The decline of cultural diversity would perhaps seem a less urgent problem than some of our other global issues. However, the erosion of cultural identity on this planet and the loss of traditions have profound effects on all of us. By inspiring people to create a deeper connection with their own cultural identity, we will be able to stand united in diversity.”
BULBUL CAN SING
Rima Das was born in 1981, in Chayygaon, Assam, India. She is a remarkable self-taught filmmaker, wearing multiple hats of writer, producer, director, cinematographer and editor. GQ India named her as one of the “Most Influential Young Indians, 2018”. She is one of the ambassadors of TIFF’s ‘Share Her Journey’ campaign that champions the cause of gender equality in cinema. Her film ‘Village Rockstars’ premiered at TIFF, screened at over 80 international film festivals and won over 50 awards. The film won the National Film Award for the Best Feature Film in India 2018 and was India’s Official Entry to Oscars 2019. ‘Bulbul Can Sing’, her recent film, also had its premiere at TIFF and screened at over 40 international film festivals. The film won 14 awards, and bagged the Special Mention Award: Generation 14 Plus at Berlinale and the National Film Award for the Best Assamese Film, to name a few. Das lives in Gauhati, Assam, India.
AQUI THAMI. DO IT YOURSELF
Aqui Thami  was born in Kurseong, Darjeeling, India.
Favianna Rodrigues. A Voice To Be Heard
Daughter of Peruvian migrants to the United States in the late 60s, Favianna Rodriguez, born in 1978, is an artist, activist, and a force to be reckoned with. Raised in East Oakland, California, after graduating from Hunters Lane High School in 1996, she received numerous scholarships and studied at the Berkeley University of California. Favianna’s earliest mentors were artists and movement leaders in the Chicano and Black Arts Movement. She uses her perspective as a child of migrant workers growing up in a high-crime area to forge her identity as a feminist and activist. While growing, not having witnessed positive images of women of colour in the media, later inspired her to work around issues of equality, race, interdependence, youth activism, and sexuality. When Rodrigues is not making art, she directs CultureStrike, a national arts organisation that engages artists, writers and performers in migrant rights. In 2009, she co-founded Presente.org, a national online organizing network dedicated to the political empowerment of Latino communities. In 2012, she was featured in a documentary series by Pharrell Williams Migration is Beautiful, which addressed how artists responded to failed immigrant policy in the United States. She currently lives and works from Oakland, California. Favianna Rodriguez shares her journey with us.
In Kolkata: An Island Of Afghans
“…‘O Kabuliwala! Kabuliwala!’ and the two friends, so unequal in age, would subside into their old laughter and their old jokes…” so wrote Rabindranath Tagore in 1892, in his short story in Bengali, Kabuliwala, about a man from a distant land –– Afghanistan –– living in Calcutta [now Kolkata]. Since then, Kabuliwala has been translated into many Indian and foreign languages with cinematic adaptations and theatrical performances. While until a few decades ago, “real” Kabuliwalas were a common sight on the streets of Kolkata, as in most cities of north, west and central India, stereotypes have formed an ambiguous image of these people today. Moska Najib and Nazes Afroz, two journalist-cum-photographers, co-document the Kabuliwalas of Kolkata, tracing the social transformations within this community over the past 100 years. Shifting fates and cultural integration is intimated in Najib’s [An Afghan herself] own approach, as she articulates how the past accompanies migrants, either scribbled on a piece of paper, in a passport, in memories, and often in their changing geographies. Therefore, while Najib the photographer, scans her own Afghan identity, Afroz is in search of a people and a city [Kolkata] that was once his home.
African Elites In India
Nowhere else in the world did Sub-Saharan Africans wield power over non-Africans for as long as they did on the Indian subcontinent. Migrant Africans rose to prominence in India as rulers, nobles, statesmen, soldiers, and merchants, or who came as servants, slaves, eunuchs, or concubines in the courts of Indian monarchs. They were known as Habshis and Siddis. Karnataka has the largest concentration of Indian Siddis, but African elites were found elsewhere in the Deccan, Gujarat, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Delhi and Bengal. ‘African Elites in India’ edited by Kenneth Robbins and John McLeod released by Mapin Publishing, is a profound study of the Siddi community, its origins and migration to the Indian subcontinent and its historical legacy. Here, Kenneth Robbins shares some of his reflections on the book.
Jhumpa Lahiri. And The Lure Of A Language
This is a love affair that literally travels beyond boundaries. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri’s passion for the Italian language is intriguing as she was born in a Bengali family and her mother staunchly claimed and nurtured her Bengali space all though her 50 years in the U.S. as a migrant. Born in London in 1967, she emigrated to the U.S. with her parents; and even as she embraced the adopted land, Lahiri remained a nomad at heart. Her devotion for Italian took her with her family to live in Rome for a few years. Her recent book, In altre parole/In Other Words emerged from there. An autobiographical narrative in Italian, it is a reflection on the learning of a language, an enigmatic belonging to it and the power of reinvention. Having written it for the last few years, Lahiri feels an exhilarating transformation, almost like being reborn. Professor Ombretta Frau traces the journey of language and a migrant soul.