The magic of Rabindranath Tagore can transcend most challenges – mental, physical, circumstantial and geographical. As it did at the Rabindra Jayanti celebration of the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy (IICP) held on May 9.
After two years of hosting the celebrations online, the IICP team – students, staff and parents – were looking forward to a physical one on the Taratala campus with a performance of excerpts from Tagore’s iconic dance drama Tasher Desh, but the government directive to shut schools because of the soaring mercury dashed those hopes.
Shot and streamed online
But what it didn’t dent was their enthusiasm. Props and costumes were readied in-house by the talented and artistic staff of the IICP team. After a few days of physical rehearsals they shifted online with parents pitching in at home.
The dance drama was performed at the institute’s Taratala address and shot and streamed online for parents, staff, students and other friends, families and special guests.
Scripted by two of IICP’s young teachers and performed by trainees, students and staff, the Tasher Desh excerpts focussed on the experience of a shipwrecked prince and his friend on the Island of Cards. The citizens of this strange land follow stringent rules and laws, and freedom of expression is stifled. The visiting prince, not bound by these shackles, gradually encourages the inhabitants to break free of the unnatural constraints of age-old traditions.
‘Baandh bhenge dao’
“The triumph of throwing off the shackles that restrict creativity and new ideas, freedom of thought and expression as encapsulated in the song Baandh bhenge dao echoes the voices of all persons with disabilities who struggle to throw off the shackles of discrimination and insular attitudes in society,” said Sonali Nandi of IICP.
The performance was streamed online for parents, staff, students, friends and special guests
The students and trainees who participated in the dance drama — Punam Bind, Samar Dhali, Amit Singha, Somdipto Nath Chandra, Bittu Sen, Debjyoti Roy, Subhangi Mitra and Anamit Bhaumik — all have varied levels of physical or intellectual challenges. Guest performances were rendered by Neelakshi Adhikary and Kritika Paul. Professionals across all departments of IICP services came forward to perform, assist or coordinate to make the programme a success, supported enthusiastically by the families of staff and service users.