Ankur, the theatre society of Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College, have postponed their street play competition, Pratyaksh, which was being organised in the Nukkad on the second day of the college’s annual cultural festival, Lashkara.
Day 1 of Lashkara on February 22 saw myriad competitive events by a plethora of societies, metres away the violence and chaos that erupted in the north campus mid-day onwards. Disrupting a peaceful march by students and teachers to protest against the intervention by the ABVP of an academic conference at Ramjas College, the student political party blocked the entrance of Ramjas College. Violence erupted in front of the college campus with students also stuck inside the college premises for hours.
Following reports and warnings advising students against entering the college campus after the events of February 22, the cultural festival observed a low turnout on February 23. The theatre society’s street play event, organised for the second day, was set to witness participation from majority of colleges around the campus. The street play events during Delhi University festivals are known for raising pertinent issues about the prevailing social and cultural issues, often on taboo and lesser-discussed themes.
“The DUSU president asked us to call off the competition as elements from different plays might be construed negatively in the current political environment. The police also appealed to us to call off the event in the interest of restoring peace and normalcy in the campus. The administration had to take the call of cancelling the event to ensure safety of students,” said Saikat Ghosh, staff advisor of the theatre society. He also pointed out that theatre in Delhi University has always been a tool of speaking up against what was felt unfair, and the medium of raising voices and taking a stand whenever words have been discouraged.
After deliberations between the society, the students’ union, and the college principal, with recommendations from the police authorities to ensure the safety of the students, the event was postponed to a later date to prevent escalation of chaos on campus. Members of the society were unavailable for comments.
Feature image: Kartik Kher for DU Beat