Monday, 30th October 2017

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March of memories & music at Diocesan

Diocesan show traces 125 years of women

By Chandreyee Ghose in Calcutta
  • Published 19.07.19, 1:52 AM
  • Updated 19.07.19, 1:52 AM
  • 2 mins read
Students of St John’s Diocesan school perform a dance number for Yatrika Picture by Koushik Saha

The mango trees, the playgrounds and baseball matches lost and won still pepper their conversations. Only, they now communicate through social media and not face to face.

Ex-students from the batches of 1970-1975 of St John’s Diocesan Girls’ Higher Secondary School sat together and excitedly exchanged notes before the curtain went up on Yatrika, in association with The Telegraph Young Metro, at Netaji Indoor Stadium on Thursday.

“Thanks to social media, the older ex-students have rekindled our ties with the school,” said Uma Majumdar, the secretary of the alumni association and a member of the 1970 batch.

Mina Faithful, 87, of the 1948 batch enjoyed watching all the fun her school “juniors” were having. “I may be old but I came here alone. Our school has always taught its girls to be independent,” said the octogenarian who lives on Elgin Road. She had joined the school in Class VII in 1944, “right after it reopened post war”.

“Our school shaped us into happy personalities. I still remember our first principal Charulata Das. She was so inspiring,” Faithful said.

Former students, teachers and parents of current students filled up the stadium even as last-minute rehearsals were on for the programme that marked the closing of the school’s 125-year celebrations.

The entire school had worked hard for months to present a grand production on the journey of women for 125 years and beyond.

“We got around two months. By now the girls know their moves well. They need to just keep up their energy and meet the audience’s eye,” Paramita Saha, who supervised the dances, said before the programme.

The hard work showed on stage. Breaking the journey into different eras from 1894 to 2019 and beyond, Yatrika told stories of women’s struggles, art, fashion and lifestyle over the years. Stories from India were juxtaposed with those from around the world.

From a woman fighting against polygamy to a fight for franchise, from songs of Gauhar Jaan to those of Madonna, from the verses of Sarojini Naidu to burning issues such as the breaking of the glass ceiling in Hollywood and patriarchy — different aspects of evolution were traced through dance, songs, recitation and enactment. The script was written by Tathagata Chowdhury of The Threatrician.

“I am so proud to see so many empowered girls blooming in this heritage institution,” said Carolyn Lionel, ex-principal and the honorary secretary of the school’s managing committee.

Reverend Paritosh Canning, the bishop of the Calcutta, was present on the occasion.