I would like to quote Mahatma Gandhi for his apt intervention into developing this nation not as a theocratic state but a secular one. “I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and windows stuffed. I want the culture of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off by any”
Hence at times the guiding light just doesn’t come from the top it may sometimes spark from below a place like a school or such spaces where humans reproduce their ideas.
The narrative writing which I generally do has been about the social issues and the people linked to that, but just a few days ago after watching the performance of middle section of Loreto Convent Tara Hall school in Shimla I got provoked, motivated to pen a few words about their cultural programme.
Of course, there will be a large number of parents like me who would like to share their experiences of the preparation of the plan and the ‘usual rehearsals’ being done at home for singing, dance, script reading, acting and what not. All those moments and the entire process are extremely precious for us as parents. But, today I want to script more than that. Not to miss the spectacular performances of more than 450 students with near perfection in dance, singing, stage and obviously the play. The experiments done on the stage with all these collaboratives’ of dance and singing and also using the screen reminds me of one of the greatest stalwarts of Hindi cinema ‘Ritwik Ghatak’ who would bring in the creativity in such acts. This was witnessed with middle school children. We (parents) will have the fond reminiscences for a long time.
What I am happy and quite enthused to write is about the content of the evening not just the perfection! The play ‘The Sound of Music’. Why? Simply because, ‘everything exists is space and time’ so does culture and its role and importance in society. This philosophical statement reflects not just matter but even consciousness and of course culture. And this play which was a vivid description of the early 20th century, the period when the world was gripped in a world war with Nazism and Fascism as a real threat. The famous movie that has won Oscar has the same narrative. The play describes the role of the woman ‘Maria’ who is a governess to a large family of a widower Von Trapp and his children. She loves the children and falls in love with the captain. She becomes instrumental in saving the captain from joining the war.
The Captain was forced to report on duty and fight for the Nazis. But Maria plays an important role and designs the escape from the Nazis from Austria to another country. This narrative is not just about Maria but millions of working people who had stood against the war and condemned it for the holocaust and the after effects. Charlie Chaplin, Albert Einstein, JD Bernal, and many such stalwarts stood against the ‘jingoistic’ fervour of ‘nationalism’ and the frantic – my nationality superior to yours ideology. As they say the rest is history! Nazism was defeated.
Why is it relevant even today? Those who thought of producing this play must have gathered enormous courage and of course vision to enact such a play and exhibit the threat of Nazism. It’s relevant because the same old slogans of ‘ultra nationalism’ in guise of patriotism are rampantly being raised not just in our country but even in Europe. Such slogans even movements happen to be gaining ground once again. This is detrimental to the unity of the people and of course the country. The logic of ‘reason’; if this gets threatened then the impact would not be just on a specific group akin to the ‘Jews’ in the Nazi movement but to all those sections and individuals who have the ability to think differently. If an example of recent times is required then ‘Padmavati’ , the Bollywood saga is at the doorsteps.
Congratulations once again to the entire cast and crew and the institution for the performance and the courage to exhibit such an apposite content!