Wednesday, August 26, 2009

pandies profile

       pandies’ theatre
phone 65711312  telefax 26130761          81 sector A pocket C
e-mail -           vasant kunj          new delhi 110070             india   

pandies' theatre was registered (under the societies act 1860) in Sept. 1993. Committed to staging plays relevant to our ethos and time, it evolved as an activist and possibly the only feminist theatre group in north India in the 1990s itself. Our origins are humble.  Started as a university movement in `87, we have a consistent strength over 70 members.
The group began as an English theatre movement performing the bulk of its plays in the proscenium and established its niche in that slot. From `96 we went activist, taking on projects on issues rather than simply plays and today apart from one or two productions in commercial auditoriums every year we cover diverse slums, bastis, schools and colleges. The issues revolve around women because the group believes if our society is to head anywhere, it has to become more women-oriented and woman-friendly. Every year the group picks a topic and works on it for at least one year. We have targeted rape, prostitution and HIV, Mental Health Act and its relation to women, institutions of love and marriage.
Post – 2002, while retaining our earlier focus, the group took a conscious decision to target anti-communal forces and work intensively with children and these have been the high points of recent years. The group has moved more and more into the margins, working specially with under-privileged children from diverse areas and groups.

The plays are directed by Sanjay Kumar, and essentially multi-lingual scripts evolve in workshops and through research and are written, at times collated, by the director in conjunction with Ms. Anuradha Marwah  and Dr. Anand Prakash – creative writers and members of the group. 

Productions `93 - `96
Macbeth Sept.'93
The group started its work with successful shows of the bard's classic - looked at from a 3rd world perspective. A Hindi epilogue and prologue were added. Our use of capital's social dregs as the witches and Kali-worship to show their transition provided talking points for the capital's theatregoers.
Womanscape Jan. '94
Scripted by members of the group and inspired the shorter fiction of Doris Lessing, this play focussed on the predicament of women in our city, our time. Presenting issues like molestation and incest, the play brought out issues hitherto in the closet for an open discussion
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui  Aug. '94
Brecht's rollicking farce on the rise of Hitler. A Hitler is possible anywhere, is it possible to resist his rise? Brecht is the one to whom the group is indebted for many of its biases and theatre techniques. The play was contextualised in the context of the rise of right wing forces (and electoral victories) in the capital.
The Story of Meera Aug. '94
a play based on the story of Meera and Krishna. Scripted by members of the group, the play took a second look at Meera. For us she is not just a Hindu saint but a woman: her devotion and bond with Krishna is not just mystical religion but a rebellion against the ‘maleness’ that seeks to subsume her and prescribe codes for every aspect of her existence.
Ghosts  Dec. '94  Arguably our most popular production of the only proscenium phase.
This production was a venture into an area practically uncharted at the level of Delhi theatre, we adapted Ibsen’s classic Ghosts  and presented  it as a play on AIDS set in the upper middle class of Delhi. As a socially aware and committed group we addressed ourselves to what constitutes the major scourge for our city, our world today. The first full-length commercial play on AIDS in Delhi, it highlighted the decadent masculinity of our world that has left us open to the onset of this scourge. Approved and supported by the WHO, this play was funded initially by NACO, it went through repeated adaptations and different sponsors from development sectors and the corporate world. It was taken to Bangalore by the NORAD. Large segments of the play were telecast on Doordarshan and STAR TV.

Beautiful Images  June '95
Based on Simon de Beauvoir's Les Belles Images. Staged at the LTG, the play was hailed by all as a subtle, sophisticated presentation of some of Beauvoir's complex feministic ideas. The play was staged again in `96 at the Shri Ram Centre, New Delhi.
Call Her A Witch    Nov. '96
This play marks a turning point for the group. The bulk of scripting was done by members of the group and the cause was in our immediate surroundings. Aroused by newspaper/magazine reports of witch burning, the group  - helped by the women's group, SHAKTISHALINI, pursued many such cases and came up with this production dealing with the phenomenon of witch burning, women being burnt as witches to serve varying interests of patriarchal systems. To stress the universality of such exploitation we interacted with Dekker's (late Renaissance) The Witch of Edmonton. Shows  at SRC apart, this play was taken to many colleges in agreement with them. The British Council  too commissioned a show of this play on the 24th of Feb. '97.

Activist phase projects/productions from `96 onwards
We have been working with 20 slum/ basti areas in Delhi, have interaction with 100 schools and about 25 colleges. Minimum 100 presentations are held each year. The major issue till 2000 was gender-sensitisation and the group latches on to a different theme each year and after performing in the proscenium theatre takes adaptations of the same to diverse places. The group also works on issues related to environment. The adaptable, flexible, bilingual (at times multi-lingual) scripts are totally ours. The group is constantly exploring, searching for better modes to get its meaning across. Songs, dances, choreo sequences are all a part of its repertoire. One of the most successful modes is an extremely interactive discussion at the end where the activist even narrates relevant anecdotes to get its audience to talk. The group has evolved a mega network in and around Delhi consisting of women and HIV activists, environmentalists, school and college teachers and students, progressive women from various communities inc. slums, victims of rape, attempted murder.
1997 HIV and Prostitution
Our first nascent step into full time activism began with Mannequins : Sell a Woman, Buy a body. This production focuses on prostitution, on patriarchal orientation that creates the need for prostitution and the victimisation of the group that occurs in society especially after the outbreak of HIV.
The script  focussed on both the kotha (brothel) in a ‘red light area’ and  the upper middle class ‘call girl racket’. Through the lower class plot the project focuses on related themes of child prostitution, of commodification of the woman and of a life bonded to violence, violation and disease. The other plot focuses  on themes of ignorance, deceit - here too the element of victimisation was stressed by showing a woman seeking to assert her sexuality and ending up, inexorably, in a no-win situation. The play was subsequently picked by NACO for spreading AIDS - awareness in colleges. With this also began the establishment of a network of women activists. We interacted with Elizabeth Vatsayan (AAG), Ms. Virdi, Dr. Promila Kapur and members of AIWC. Fruitful associations, interaction with whom continues.
1997 - `98 The Mental Health Act and Women
 She's MAD! This  production sought to explore the issue of madness in women.  Does it mean the same for a man and a woman?  In its interaction with various groups, we discovered that the label of madness has become the latest method of cruelty against women, to deprive them of their rights and let the husband be free to do what he likes. The play places us in a special category of theatre activists using theatre as a medium to seek legislative change. This production was with the support of Ford Foundation and in conjunction with SHAKTISHALINI. Apart from shows in SRC, the play was taken to slums, bastis and villages around Delhi. The play has been performed in courtyards of houses, streets, lawns and schools and women's homes. Over 50 performances were held and each followed by discussion sessions.
The play led to a panel discussion between members of the group and women lawyers on this issue on STAR TV.
1998-`99 Rape
Veils - has been arguably our most controversial high impact production.  It  prioritised the issue of rape. Why does a man commit rape? What sympathy, succour can you offer a rape victim. Does not the present structuring of society make rape easy, almost inevitable? A scathing critique of the male-orientedness of our society, the play seeks an attitudinal change and asks for a legislative reform. The project has been sponsored by the HRD Ministry, Govt. of India. The most polemical and probably the best received (at times certain sections of the male audience have been almost hostile to the play), apart from shows at the S R C, the play has been performed at umpteen schools and colleges and in bastis as street shows. The play was an activist's delight. In fact Dr. Mohini Giri tried to have the play performed at the floor of the parliament as part of the plea for legislative reform on the issue. 

Pushta direct intervention programme beg. April `99
Following the success of the sensitisation against rape campaign HRD Ministry asked us to carry  out an intensive theatre-based gender-sensitisation programme in Yamuna Pushta. Focussing solely on  girl-children and women the programme includes awareness of women's rights, adult women and young girl children's literacy, health and sanitation, medical attention to women and emphasising of women's role in social development. the programme has been a mega-success story, with girls and women of the area picking cudgels against drug trafficking, sale of illicit liquor and above all child-prostitution. An entire feature on the group's work here was telecast by the STAR TV.
1999-2000 Trafficking of women
Visitations was the name of the play and trafficking of the girl-child the theme. What does trafficking mean for the little girl-child who is sold for a pittance by her own relatives into a life of prostitution and bondage? Burning issues of legal reform, legalisation of prostitution are placed in the problematic.  For the facts of trafficking the group has relied on its own experiences in slums and red-light areas around Delhi and also taken cognisance of all - India studies done by diverse pro-women organisations (UNIFEM, WCD-Govt. of India and the many NGOs that the group has been working with for many years). The play has been used as a tool for gender-sensitisation in slums, schools, colleges, women shelters and children's homes.
This year we also stepped into other areas of activism. The group took an extensive anti-firecracker campaign for the Dept. of Environment, Delhi Govt., covering 65 schools in 1999. 
At the end of `99, at the behest of some of our friends at AAG, the group carried out a theatre cum AIDS cum gender sensitisation workshop in Delhi's Tihar Jail. pandies created a play with the inmates after a workshop lasting around 6 weeks (thrice a week). The project ended with a production where all the actors and scriptwriters were from among the convicts themselves.
2000-`01Love and Marriage relooked at from a woman' perspective
(K)nots, raises the question - can marriage be pro-woman?  Is not this institution not only male-biased but also actively supportive of an anti-woman ethos? By retaining its male orientation, this institution seems to have put itself on a self-destruct mode. And love? Our notions of love are created out of cinema stereotypes. Are not all famous love sagas also male narratives that venerate the man at the cost of the woman? And is not love also a concept, conceived within our consumerist structures? And if it is consumerist, does it not further commodify the woman? Subjecting the most valorised emotion of love and the most cherished institution of marriage to a feminist intervention the questions both the validity and the viability of the two concepts. The play is not a solution-provider. Rather it seeks solutions from all of us, who know the male-orientation of our structures and turn our face away from them or simply accept them as given co-ordinates that have to be accepted by all.
We have also participated in the UNIFEM campaign against trafficking of women in South East Asia and done plays in colleges for the UNIFEM and WSDC in Nov. – Dec. 2000.
Work for Delhi's environment also continues, firecrackers apart, the group has done 100 shows in schools, marketplaces, office complexes and parks against the use of plastic polybags.
2001 – The year of the Child for pandies
The year 2001 was devoted to the child. As networking partner of the British Council(Delhi), pandies did an extensive programme on childrights covering Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Jammu. The programme involved over 200 schools and NGOs and at least 5000 children. It had a theatre component and an arts component. The theatre component was under pandies. Spanning about 15 months this programme began with identifying groups and schools capable of creating plays related to child rights.
Orientation programmes were carried by me with the help of other members of the group, where guidelines were laid and paradigmatic skits shown. The schools were asked to prepare where everything from child rights to theatre techniques were assessed. Selected plays were put up for theatre festivals four of which were held in Jalandhar, Muktasar, Chandigarh and Jammu and the finale in New Delhi.
Children were selected from these plays for intensive two-day workshops where theatre skills and awareness of child rights were imparted. Four workshops were held, two in Delhi, one in Chandigarh and one in Jammu. A special leg of the programme was for children from juvenile homes and two-day workshop was held in the girls juvenile home next to Tihar jail.
The first three workshops were conducted by Adrian Jackson (Cardboard Citizens, London) and I with the help of other members from pandies. I conducted the Jammu workshop and the one in the juvenile girls’ home with members of the group.
The project culminated with a two-day plays festival in April 2002 where chosen plays from the diverse venues were performed.
This play deals with making sense of contemporary polity in the post-Gujarat Scenario and presents a scathing attack on majoritarianism. The script of the above was culled from workshops where people who were present in towns of Gujarat when all this happened also participated. It was an effort both at script creating and re-enactment. Our impassioned reaction to what has happened in Gujarat at the beginning of the year, the play picks up and foregrounds images of violence from our ethos. Violence, destruction, state oppression – in a world fast losing sanity, the play to foregrounds conflict and conflict resolution (possible/difficult/impossible). Within this rather broad ambit we would work intensively in our reality. We move back and forth images of terror and oppression. 
This play was first presented in Delhi’s Shri Ram Centre on July 3rd and 4thWe followed this with participation in the Commonwealth Theatre festival at Manchester in July 2002. The festival, a result of feverish yearlong activity and testimony to the close relations that pandies has formed with friends/colleagues not only in the UK but also in several third world countries besides. The play was highly appreciated both by audiences in Delhi and Manchester.
Togetherness 2002 – 2003:  child and communalism
      In November 2002 the group began a project focussing on sensitizing children to communal violence. It culminated in a theatre-festival cum interactive workshop in Delhi on the 2nd and 3rd of December 2003. A project dear to us all, it brought together the experience of the preceding two years – on the issues of child rights and communalism. Indian children are confused by the rhetoric of communalism. Should they believe the discourses of secularism and democracy or those that preach communal hatred? They are scared of the mindless violence of the adults around them.
      The first leg of this project was Delhi-centric and focused on schools and some slum areas and the second leg focuses on children of displaced communities (Hindu, Muslim and Sikh) from Jammu, Srinagar and Delhi. Work commenced in over 30 sectors. We used a variety of mediums apart from theatre; sketching, story telling and short story writing.
      We used interactive workshops to create theatre with children. Each workshop took 8–10 hours and at least three were held with each group over the course of a year. It is practically impossible to catalogue the work that took place in slums, schools and migrant camps of Delhi, the many visits to Jammu and the difficulty of working in Srinagar amid the hostilities and restrictions originating from working between the armed forces and the fundamentalist factions.
In what was a first for Pandies, we organized on the 2nd and 3rd of December 2003 a huge theatre festival cum interactive workshop at the open air auditorium at the Dilli Haat, New Delhi. Children (from Delhi, Jammu, and Srinagar; from slums, orphanages, and schools; rich and poor; Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Jain, and Buddhist) got together to present their diverse work and interact with each other. It was the first time that boundaries of class, religion and geography had been broken in this manner. It was also the first time that Kashmiri Muslim and Kashmiri pandit children traveled and stayed together. There were in all about 280 children and 30 adults from around 20 sectors. The morning sessions of both days were devoted to interactive workshops. And the post-lunch sessions were for staging the plays. Over 20 plays were presented. The project was supported by Delhi Tourism.
2004 - Not Inside Us
      We continued with our tirade against communalism into 2004. Avoiding the topicality of Cleansing we looked at the larger themes of communalism in the post-Gujarat and pre-general election scenario. Using a meta-narrative of a right wing “mind-washing of dissenters,” the play looks at the problem of mainstream majoritarianism from the points of view of the Hindu working class, Muslim middle class and Christian and scheduled caste perspectives to present a comprehensive indictment. Contemporary pre-general elections reality was engendered. An entire episode focussed on middle class Muslim women and their understanding and coping with majoritarian reality.
Three shows were presented at the Sri Ram Centre on the 9th 10th and 11th of January. Adapted versions of the play are being performed in the slums where we work and in schools and colleges.
2004 – 2005: Partial Interest
Electoral changes inspire euphoria. But have destructive forces been really contained?
The play uses three inter-connected plots to explore our socio-political reality from where we stand today.
A liberal upper middle class family is used both for examining liberal upper middleclass values and as a point of entry to examine the predicament of those at the lower end of our structures. Three professionals, all of who had reacted to and condemned communal carnage of Gujarat look at the polity in the new dispensation. How secular are we? Are not religious biases running deep once the suave upper layer is scratched? The wife, who works for an NGO, moves away to question the religious roots of our middle class and its obsession with money. Her work provides the link with other two stories.
A Hindi subplot cataloguing the aspirations and disappointments of lower class people seeking to make it big in the city. The protagonist questions the motives behind such migration in his decision to return.
The Punjabi subplot constitutes the heart of the play and takes its facts from the suicides of small farmers in Punjab (Rajasthan and Andhra). Mainstream stories of the Green Revolution hide and distort the tales of small people, their indebtedness, and the sale of girl children to compensate the failure of rains, foeticide, infanticide, and caste politics. Hidden sagas waiting to emerge, waiting.
Three shows were presented at the Sri Ram Centre on the 12th, 13th and 14th of December. Adapted versions of the play are being performed in the slums where we work and in schools and colleges

2005 – anti-communalism
The highlight of the year has been a six-day workshop in Gulmarg in June 2005. The group – fifty-five children between ten and sixteen years of age. An almost even split of Kashmiri pandit and Kashmiri Muslim children, of girls and boys. The pandit children were from migrant camps in Delhi and Jammu and areas around Jammu. A handful of them, five had worked with me before, the rest were new to the experience. The Muslim kids were from diverse parts of the valley, from camps, schools and orphanages in Brijbehara, Baramullah and areas around Srinagar. Most were poor and many had lost their parents. I had a target to have a production involving all the children ready for a performance in Srinagar on the seventh day. A unique experiment of putting the two communities together, literally in a 24 x 7 format, it was fraught with dangers. The situation was volatile as all the children carried baggage. A daunting creative task too made twice difficult by the physical hardship of its being a nature camp. The pandies’ methodology of individual followed by collective exercises, of short story writing, of creating twenty minute skits culminated this time in tying these short skits into a holistic mode of a final play of about ninety minutes duration.
The success emerged in the daunting display is Srinagar on the 1st of July.

2006 MARGINS: Yeh sab tadan ke adhikari

Gender, class, religion and caste, the mainstreaming Indian state has evolved in a manner that many are excluded, they lie on the margins. MARGINS is the coming together of three short scripts linked in their critique of the mainstream of our state and society from diverse peripheral “women” perspectives. The fourteenth proscenium production of pandies, the play is being directed by Sanjay Kumar. Sourced from workshop experiences and conversations with and readings from those involved, the plays have been scripted by Sanjay Kumar, Anuradha Marwah and Anand Prakash respectively. The production is being directed by Sanjay Kumar. It was staged at the Shri Ram Centre, Safdar Hashmi Marg on the 18th, 19th and 20th of August 2006. 
The first plot borrows a real life story from the files of a women’s organisation Shaktishalini. The story is based in Delhi, centring round a lower middle class case of a Muslim family. The script examines state constructions of justice for Muslims, women and Muslim women. 
The second leaning on archetypal Dalit autobiographies reconstructs another real story though from a different perspective. It juxtaposes caste and gender. Hidden within a sceptical anti-brahminical cover is the question whether gender transcends caste? Is it possible for a Dalit man to exploit an upper caste woman? Who is in the margins?
The third set in the lower class, is a rollicking farce. Slicing hegemonic patriarchal structures from diverse marginal perspectives, the script juxtaposes constructions of masculinity with the spirit of football.
Extremely successful and sought after, these episodes (collectively and singularly) have since been staged at Oxford Bookstore, in over 20 colleges of the University of Delhi as part of WSDC offered gender-courses and also at Ajmer (Savitri College as part of Pathways seminar and in Sophia College) and in the village of Indirapuram. The play is still continuing.

Rajasthan: Sarvaar and Indirapuram (villages in Ajmer district) January 2007

A two and a half day workshop culminating in an in-house performance (parents and villagers). The workshop comprised of about 50 participants of the age group 15 to 25 (two older men too were there). This was part of a three-month literacy camp organised by another NGO (Ajmer Adult Education Association) for school dropouts in Sarvaar and the performance was held in Indirapuram.

Nithari village, Noida Uttar Pradesh 2006 May – 2007 May

pandies started theatre workshops with slum children in an informal school – Saksham, in Nithari village in May 2006, six months before nithari hit national headlines and became Nithari. Our workshops were geared along usual lines of sensitising children to issues of gender, religion and class through the medium of teaching them to make theatre. The discovery of carcasses and skeletons of children who had disappeared brought this somnolent village into limelight. The families of many of our participants were involved. Our first visit, after the discovery, was greeted with silence. I created a group of young people who had narrowly missed similar fate and those who had lost their siblings and started work. Articulation was difficult. We agreed to make a machine – gestures, movements, sounds (but no words). The machine that they created was repetitive acts comprising seduction, abuse, murder, cutting the body and then corruption and acquittal. Three workshops resulting in an oral narrative, one machine and two brief skits all dealing with the trauma and the participants had regained confidence to return with redoubled vigour to their workshops to make their contributions to issues of gender, class/caste and religion. The entire experience was staged at the Habitat Centre on the 10th and 11th of April 2007.
2007: Danger Zones


Our latest production is again culled from workshop experiences and original research. The scripts have been written by Anuradha Marwah, Sanjay Kumar and Anand Prakash respectively. The play consists of three episodes:
The first episode deals with the rights of marginalized children and draws on our years of experience of working with marginalized children and specially distils from our recent work in Nithari. The play uses Browning’s The Pied Piper of Hamelin as a tying thread and reveals the callous hypocrisy of the adult world towards child desires.
The second deals with issues of alternate sexuality and draws on decades of experience of dealing with women’s issues. The play deals with a working class lesbian couple and examines its travails. The script has been built from repeated discussions with such couples in a workshop format.
The third moves into the future and re-examines the country’s negotiations with capitalism in the light of the phenomenon of the Special Economic Zones. Who progresses, where are we headed? A relocation of the economics of our country
The first two episodes of Danger Zones have been performed in Bangalore in the Centre for Film and Drama on the 22nd of February 2008. The play was taken to Kanpur at the invitation of IIT Kanpur and a performance was held on the 30th of March.

Workshops with platform children, Kota, Rajasthan December 2007

In what was a first, and a mind-blowing first, five of us did a four day workshop in Kota in a de-addiction cum home-placement camp organised jointly by Child care NGOs – Prayas and Sathi. The experience has left us shaken and the facilitators are still trying to cope. Over twenty children from the three platforms of Delhi, all of them victims of substance abuse and of sexual exploitation. We had reservations about the agenda – of placing them in home from where they had run away in the first place. Innocence and experience of the sort we do not want children to have. We put them through our workshop and four skits emerged one on home life and three on platform life. Travails and desires were highlighted. The conjoint play was staged at the Gandhi Peace Foundation on the 2nd January 2008. Work has continued with platform children in Delhi. We have been having twice a month workshops in the Nabi Karim camp for platform children organised by Sathi. The work continues to pose a serious challenge as home-placement and de-addiction methodologies of NGOs and government sectors alike continue to dissatisfy facilitators from pandies.
if i look back at the brief wshop we did in kota and the four skits that emerged in the space of just three days. one wanted a restoration of (and not just into) a violence-free and alcohol-free family. he has to go back feeling empowered that he can be the agent of creating/bettering the family. second skit ended with children preferring a "home" albeit run by prayas or sathi to life on the platform. the brief dramatisation had enabled them to objectify and reject the harshness of platform life. the third ended in ominous silence, ominous but not disempowering because the creation of the skit was the breaking of that silence, in fact the silence was deafening. the children were articulating the harshness of the protectors and the callousness of the adult world as such, the empowering aspect of this enactment, that you can say what you cannot say isthe max and difficult to measure. it also tells all of us what we as care-givers are up against. fourth, the one that ended in boyish assertion of independence with the children creating a home of their own and a profession of their own. given a little more time it needed to be told to these kids that independence is not contrary to home

Badarpur Khadar, Delhi Border May 2008

A sleepy hamlet constituting four villages lying right next to Delhi’s Yamuna river next to the porous UP border. The religion and caste components of the village are interesting. One consists entirely of Muslims – low caste and low class, second lowest of the low caste Hindus – primarily those who we find begging in the name of “shani” on Saturdays. The other two villages also consist of diverse low caste Hindus. The topography of the villages is equally interesting. UP surrounds on three sides and the fourth side is Yamuna and that means no electricity, no water and above all, no education for the children. Till last year many of them were crossing the river to go to schools across the river and then in the monsoons more than twenty drowned and that put paid to all efforts. Pandies started there with its usual theatre format but realised that schooling and education had to be addressed. We are at the moment focussing on the Muslim village which has over 200 children. A usual workshop here begins with two hours of schooling, most of the kids do not  know how to read or write, do not know the alphabet. Two classes focussing on the English alphabet and word formation are held and another for those who have gone to school some time (about twenty in all) who like to be taught mathematics. This is followed often by a presentation on topical issues, including gender and religion and then we make them perform. Pandies is toying with the idea of opening a more regular school here.

Rajasthan: Sarvaar  (villages in Ajmer district) June 2008

Continuing with the work initiated in 2007 pandies’ organised a five-day workshop culminating in an open performance. The workshop comprised of over 60 participants of the age group 14 to 18. Again a part of a three-month literacy camp organised by Ajmer Adult Education Association for school dropouts in Sarvaar, the themes dealt took the issues further (for instance, while dealing with gender the children brought issues of same sex relationships and  desire and fantasies were explored. A special module of a TOT programme was held for the eight children who had attended the earlier workshop enabling them to train children in a similar manner.


The Curse Conquered was focussed towards spreading awareness regarding cervical cancer, the highest killer cancer among women in India, possibly in the world today. Despite this it remains a hidden disease, seldom talked about and often detected when it is too late. The attempt is to put this disease on the forum and create awareness regarding symptoms, detection and cure. The available vaccine, though expensive, if followed by constant scanning and related tests also helps in mitigating its occurrence.
Highlighting a particular disease, the production used it as a point of entry into instigating a discussion on women’s health, specially reproductive health, a low priority zone in state and government policy because of the existing patriarchal bias. Social behavioural modes and masculinist constructions that put women and their health at risk are examined and critiqued, specially before the onslaught of the H P Virus that afflicts women, often making men the unharmed carriers of the disease.
Done in conjunction with MSD (Merck) the premier show at SRC on the 3rd of December was followed by seven shows in colleges of DU and one in JNU.
2009: JAB WE ELECT – 23, 24 AND 25 February  SHRI RAM CENTRE
JAB WE ELECT is not about who we elect but how we elect. Speaking from a progressive, feminist perspective the play looks at many topical issues in the ambit of globalisation and liberalisation, these include the nuclear deal, moral policing, religious fundamentals, economic troughs apart from others.
With an episodic plot that cuts across classes and regions, urban and rural scenes, the play uses a combination of forum theatre and alienating devices (songs and choreographed sequences) to engage with the audience and ask it to repeatedly interact with the cast. The endeavour is to collectively examine our polity and its mainstreaming, dominant elements.
The play does not provide answers, it does not raise questions, rather prompts the audience to think, respond and take the play further. Deviating from its usual English-hindi  format pandies is doing this play primarily in  Hindi (and diverse dialects).

Workshops with platform children, Ajmer, Rajasthan April 2009

Ongoing projects
  1. Badarpur, Khadar.
  2. Work of making the senior children at Nithari into facilitators to teach theatre techniques and issues of gender and religion continues.
  3. Work with mentally challenged children at the PURTI, school continues.
  4. Work with platform children continues – with divergent voices in the group, some seeking to broaden out and work with other NGOs as well and some wanting to create a shelter by pandies in 2009.

Pandies has started work on two new plays/projects. One an awareness campaign on Cervical Cancer zeroing in, for the while, on college students, is aimed for November and December. The other, our next major production focussing on election issues is headed for February 2009.

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MAY 2007

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