| Engineering students stage a street play at Indira Gandhi Park in Bhubaneswar on women’s empowerment. Telegraph picture |
Bhubaneswar, Feb. 10: Chants of “respect for women” rent the air at Indira Gandhi Park here today as a group of 50-odd youngsters, donning black clothes and red dupattas, caught the attention of passers-by.
Pankh, a street theatre troupe comprising students of the city-based KIIT University, staged the play, Meri Muskaan, Mera Haq, as part of a three-day campaign by youth organisation, Rhythm of Nation, against oppression of women.
The act began with the youngsters talking about the country’s glorious past. But it was too soon to feel proud as was evident from what was portrayed next. The actors began spelling out the derogatory terms frequently used to address a woman walking down the street.
The enactment of the sexual harassment college girls are subjected to on a daily basis set a sombre mood among those who watched the play.
The callous attitude of society was well depicted when a female artiste went around asking people to rescue her from the clutches of eve-teasers, only to be chased away. Portraying the Delhi gang-rape incident, the play not only depicted the trauma of the victim but also the embarrassing questions she was asked by police during investigation.
It looked well researched as the youngsters informed the audience about the punishment for different crimes. As the act progressed, the performers also took a dig at the mentality of the political class.
The play highlighted the role of female protagonists from mythology. The play also posed searching questions to the audience. The troupe asked onlookers to introspect and display courage while tackling such menaces.
The climax sent across the message that women would have to defend themselves as there was no Krishna in this era to protect Draupadi. The concluding act was a monologue in Odia that delighted the local crowd that had gathered.
Bibhu Nandan Singh, a third-year civil engineering student, was the show-stealer. His performance as the narrator stole everybody’s attention as he fiercely beat his tambourine, which was most appreciated by the audience.
After the play was over, some self-defence tips were offered to the audience. The chief guest, mayor Ananta Narayan Jena, applauded the effort of the youngsters.
“We had staged the play at NIFT and KIIT Law on the first and second day. It is our endeavour to sensitise the public,” said Biswajeet Choudhury, a member of Rhythm of Nation.