According to an IndiaSpend analysis, India has witnessed 97% of its cow-related violence (especially mob lynching) since 2010 in the past 4 years alone—with 2017 being the worst year yet.
“In September 2015, an angry mob entered the home of 50-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh and beat him to death over suspicion of illegally slaughtering a cow. As our group researched this cow vigilantism case and others like it, we realised that this issue is actually a side-effect of the real problem—Ideological Repression,” says a member of Anubhuti Dramatics Society of Delhi’s JDMC College.
Started in 2007, Anubhuti was formed to provide a platform to students who have the desire to use theatre as a means to raise awareness on issues that not many dare to address.
Through their annual production The Cool Guys, Anubhuti raises awareness on how people in India are being manipulated or forced to lose their individual identities and follow only the ruling religious and political ideas and ideals in the country.
Ideological repression is usually done by misusing authority and the law to discriminate against certain religious or ethnic groups, controlling educational institutions to glorify/propagate only a certain system of ideas or ideals, and resorting to intimidation to enforce the habits and practices of a certain community over other communities.
The Cool Guys was also one of the many radical theatre acts performed at Be.artsy’s Volunteer4Volunteerism (V4V) – Be on the Street (BOTS) festival (see pic below) held in Delhi earlier this month. V4V- BOTS is an annual event that engages street theatre artists to promote the power of volunteerism to address various social issues in the country.
Here are excerpts from our interview with Anubhuti:
What sets Anubhuti apart from other theatre groups?
With a team of around 20 members, Anubhuti believes in performing to win hearts and not prizes. Our vision and aim is not limited to participating in or winning competitions and being a renowned name in the Delhi University Theatre Circuit, but to make a real impact through theatre.
Through our social awareness campaign ‘Prayas’, which is curated under the vision of our director Amit Tiwari, Anubhuti performs at different schools to raise awareness on various social issues at the grassroot level and at public places across Delhi.
What is the group’s process of creating and performing a play production?
The entire process of creating the play involves rigorous discussions on different topics until the entire team unanimously decides on a topic. This is followed by in-depth research on the selected topic. After the seniors of the society along with our director Mr. Amit Tiwari conceptualise the script and the play, we start off with our practice sessions.
What are the challenges and emotional hurdles that the group faces while creating a play?
Being an all-girls team and an off-campus college, we face several issues. Sometimes, our families don’t allow us to practice after certain hours. Sometimes, even campus politics within the Delhi University Theatre Circuit stops us from getting a chance to perform.
Moreover, Anubhuti is not just a team but a family for all of us. So, it becomes very difficult to bid farewell to any of the students who have to leave the group for any reason. Also, there are times when we get connected to a character to such an extent that we start living the life of that character in real life and it becomes difficult to come out of that loop!
Tell us about the society’s greatest achievements till date in terms of awards and accolades.
In the last three years, we have successfully completed more than 150+ performances and more than 60+ public performances. We have also represented the college on prestigious platforms such as National School of Drama, Sahitya Kala Parishad, and IITs – Bombay and Kanpur.
Moreover, we bagged second place at the Mahavidyalaya Natya Samaroh organised by the Government of Delhi this year. We were also selected to perform at the National Youth Festival in Connaught place organised by Delhi government earlier this year.
For further information on the society’s work and events, please visit their Facebook page