Dastangos Ainee Farooqui and Nusrat Ansari are again, this time with a dastan on revolutionary Bhagat Singh. In 2019, they staged Dastan-e-Jallian to commemorate 100 years of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. It weaved collectively voices from many sources such because the Hunter Commission Report, Congress Committee Reports, the trial of General Dyer, speeches of Gandhi and Tagore, and the works of Urdu stalwarts like Saadat Hasan Manto and Krishan Chander.
The new dastan from the staff of Dastangoi Collective, titled Dastan Shaheed e azam Bhagat Singh ki, has been written by Farooqui, who will carry out it with Ansari. Both are historical past graduates from Lady Shri Ram College, whereas Farooqui accomplished her MPhil in History from the University of Delhi, Ansari pursued Masters in Development Policy from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Tuljapur. Excerpts from an interview with the duo:
Could you inform us extra about Dastan Shaheed e azam Bhagat Singh ki?
Nusrat: It explores the determine of Bhagat Singh, probably the most admired and celebrated revolutionary figures from the liberty battle. We take a look at the lesser-known features of his life. It is effectively established that Singh attacked (British police officer) John Saunders and threw bombs within the meeting. However, we take a look at the mental and political reasoning behind every of his choices.
He’s all the time been celebrated by mainstream cinema and is a part of the favored consciousness. Was there something that these narratives missed which you needed to focus on?
Ainee: The mainstream cinema and the favored works primarily have a good time the martyrdom of the 23-year-old. And rightly so. In the dastan, nevertheless, we additionally wish to acknowledge the political and mental consciousness that marked his very being. He was an avid reader, emphasised the necessity to develop a essential lens, and query every facet of the authority.
What made you return to him within the first place?
Nusrat: Initially, we thought we might have a brief charcha on Bhagat Singh the place Ainee and I’ll sit and chat. But because the charcha developed, we realised we’ve got a dastan in our arms. Also, the up to date relevance of Bhagat Singh is immense. The parallels between right now and the colonial previous, sadly, come throughout fairly seamlessly. The colonial regime again then, like right now’s authoritarian regime, was dictating college students to steer clear of politics — a dictate strongly rejected by Bhagat Singh.
Do you must self-censor whereas writing?
Nusrat: Every time we write a dastan, there’s this concern in the back of our heads whether it is ‘safe’ to say sure issues on a public platform. Once, throughout a efficiency, an individual took out his telephone and began recording us, as if on cue. It made me really feel fairly uncomfortable. His intentions might or might not have been mischievous. Yet, I felt the necessity to make clear that the poem we have been reciting was part of the proscribed literature of the colonial state.
Ainee: It is very unhappy that a poem which was thought of seditious by the colonial and banned, might nonetheless be considered as a risk.
What makes you have interaction with historical past and politics in dastans?
Nusrat: I discover it extra fascinating due to the type of response I obtain from the viewers. Performing nowadays could be very difficult. Still, loads of instances, it makes the viewers replicate. So, I really feel a way of fulfilment.
Ainee: Apart from that, to each of us — as college students of historical past — dastangoi provides us a chance to interact with a wider viewers and share our understanding of historical past with them. It additionally permits us to take historical past past the confines of the lecture rooms.
How has the expertise of efficiency modified within the digital format?
Nusrat: There is not any viewers, which is a giant setback for any type of theatre, significantly dastangoi. It is a really interactive type of theatre, we draw our power from the viewers. However, whereas performing in entrance of a digital camera, we miss the connection we normally share with a stay viewers. Having mentioned that, one silver lining of the digital medium is that we’re capable of attain a wider viewers. These movies are considered by individuals from everywhere in the world. In the final present, we had individuals from Canada and the US watching our dastan.
The efficiency will stream on skillboxes.com on January 26 from 12 midday to 12 pm. Ticket for Rs 300.