Lady Shri Ram College for Women

Taking street theatre where it belongs: LSR Dram Soc performs play on prostitution at G.B. Road

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Lady Shri Ram College’s (LSR) Dramatics society on 9th March, Sunday performed their annual street play production, “Jahaan Neelaam hai Insaaniyat” at G.B Road, New Delhi’s largest red light area. The play revolves around prostitution and talks about the rights of prostitutes and how it should be recognized as a profession and not looked down at with disgrace.

The performance was scheduled with legal police permissions with help of Khanabadosh – a theatre group of ex-Delhi University students who do street theatre only for public awareness.

At 12:30 PM, LSR Dramatics Society and Khanabadosh made a common call in the area before starting the performances. ‘Demo-crazy’ was the first play presented by Khanabadosh on politics. It talked about how democracy isn’t only the matter of voting and is formed by people and not politicians.

This was followed by ‘Jahaan Neelaam Hai Insaaniyat’ by LSR girls. The play had many spectators from all over the area. Chandu who was present there to watch the play said, “Hum zyadatar dukaandar log hai yahan jo dekh rahe hai, jinn log ko aap dikhaana chahte hain unhe koi baahar aane nahi deta.”

Performance attracted various actors from different college societies of the University. Members of an NGO, Kat-Katha which works towards the welfare of children of prostitutes were also present. Mr. Sandeep Rawat, founder of Samarth – an organization that does theatre with blind students of Delhi University was also part of the audience.

On asking about the security issues, Aishwarya – a student of LSR who had come to watch the play told DU Beat, “Yes, I had some fear in mind while coming to this area. But there was this nervous excitement as well. Theatre in the university is a mere source of winning competitions nowadays, but this step is very rare. This is where this play belongs.”

The play talked about the problems a woman in this profession has to face and how the men in our society are the leading force. It highlighted that most of the women are trafficked in our country and they don’t choose to be where they are. The play was written using various slogans that left the crowd teary-eyed like “Kya yehi vo duniya sanskari, jahan ghat ghat pe bikti nari” & “Woh auzaar thi, auzaar hai aur auzaar hi rahegi.” The play projected that the public does nothing for a woman who undergoes such trauma. “Hum to aaj ki janta, humein vaishya ki haalat se koi farak ni padta.” According to people in the audience, a small drawback for both the plays was that they had few dialogues in the English language. The message may not have been clearly delivered.

Talking about why a topic like prostitution was chosen, Nishtha Pandey – the society’s president said, “There are many preconceived notions about this matter. The incorrect fact with people is that 15% of the women choose this work on their own, whereas this percentage is only 2%. Myths regarding this subjects are not really myths. It is true that 60-70% of the women who are prostitutes are affected by HIV AIDS. Their condition is horrifying. Ours is a small step towards this.”

The president of the society also feels that addressing prostitutes as sex workers only glamourises the name and doesn’t gurantee any rights or respect. Hence the play used the term ‘prostitutes’ against ‘sex workers.’ The act also provided solutions in the end by mentioning that unionisation should be undertaken for these prostitutes to protect their rights as being done at Sonagachi, one of the biggest red light areas of Kolkata. The members of the society also said that they feel that finally the motive of making this play was achieved. Mr. Siddhant Sharma, the leading person behind organising this all also congratulated the artists from LSR.

But the most important question that arises here is that was the target audience actually targeted. As commented by a localite of that area the women are not allowed outside the brothels for any such happenings. Ramlal said, “Isse farak bohot kam padega. Aisa kaam jaari rakhna hoga jiske chalte logo ko zyada se zyada pta chalta rahe.” Due to this very fact, no questions were raised by people from the local audience during the question answer round. The team promised that they will try making efforts in this regards in the future as well.

“Kal ek vaishya ne kaha, ki aaj mujh par jung lag gya hai,
Kal tak jo mere dar aata tha, aaj wahi mujhse darr gaya hai.
Koi dalal ko kyun nahi tokta, kyun ilzaam mujh par hi lag gya hai,
Kal ek vaishya ne kaha, ki aaj mujh par jung lag gya hai.
Jab tak hum andekha karenge, tab tak chalegi haiwaniyat,
Mitta do unn hawaalon ki, jahan nilaam hai insaaniyat”

([email protected]); IInd year commerce student at Hans Raj College, Delhi University, Iresh inherited writing from nobody. Not equipped well with mind of a business maestro, he just likes to sit back with a cup of tea trying to balance journalism and poetry. One can generally find him chit-chatting with people (strangers and known, both) or struggling in the overcrowded city of Delhi looking for a seat to watch a play or some Bollywood film, at a cheap price ofcourse. (He hates people who hate Bollywood). An anchor, compère and interviewer, he also enjoys event management and cooking. Known well for his sense of humour, Iresh aspires to integrate his three interests of Movies, Marketing and Writing to make something out of his unproductive life as his elder generation terms it to be.

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