This year we decided to share International Women's Day through a play by our very own Naatak India Company.
Since we were just returning from Bhangoria break, preparations and rehearsals went until a few hours before showtime. The costumes were collected from villagers and props from the junk collection of Adharshila. Since the play was to be staged at night in Sakad, a publicity team, armed with a battery operated megaphone and facts about Women's Day, went round the village to inform everyone about where to gather. The electricity, our old friend, acted up soon before showtime. At the last minute villagers volunteered with creative outdoor wiring at Rajarambhai's farm, where the play was being staged, ensured some halogen lighting for the stage. About 250 people attended, including Gendrambhai, Mahila Sarpanch of Sakad, Gitabai, the new Mahila Upsarpanch of Kunjari village and and Remlibai, Mahila Sarpanch of Chatli. The play dealt with treating boys and girls equally and local issues of dowry and alcoholism through acting and song. The Adharshila Band organized music and sound. The first part starred girls only, and the second, boys only, with both playing costumed roles of both genders. Though this was unplanned, we all felt it embraced the spirit of Women's Day in the village-when both sexes are able to see the other's point of view, it brings them closer to resolving the issues between them. We saw many laughed and listened intently last night, but the proof was the conversations the women of Sakad had with us the next morning. Savitri Bai said that our lives will surely change if people are shown such plays regularly.
One of the main themes of Adharshila is to initiate and motivate children to take their knowledge and new progressive ideas to the villagers. Though the children have been doing Baal Melas in villages where they engage children in creative activities and science experiments, this was a first of this type of intervention.
Gajanand Bhai, a newly elected Janpad Panchayat member told the gathering that the newly elected panchayat bodies of Kunjari and Chatli villages have passed a resolution to close the illegal liquor shops in their villages, under the leadership of women Sarpanchs.
See the photos here