“I see an awak­en­ing in people here”

India Today - - MY CITY BY - As told to Sukant Deepak

My re­la­tion­ship with Chandigarh started when I left my home­town Patiala and came here to join the theatre course in Pan­jab Univer­sity in 1971. Though I left for Delhi to join the NSD for three years, Chandigarh never left me. I was sure that I would set­tle here. And I did, even­tu­ally. Dur­ing all these years, I have seen dif­fer­ent shades of the city, seen it evolve in many ways, and also de­gen­er­ate. But I guess ev­ery city has to un­dergo that jour­ney to de­rive a char­ac­ter for it­self. What I love about Chandigarh is the fact that this place of­fers im­mense space. And this holds true not just in the phys­i­cal, but also the metaphor­i­cal sense. Who­ever comes here can­not re­fute the sense of free­dom he or she feels in this city.

As an artist, I feel that Chandigarh is open to a lot of ex­per­i­ments. The people in this city are re­cep­tive to­wards newer things and are ready to ex­pose them­selves to new ex­pe­ri­ences. Con­sid­er­ing that I do a lot of com­mu­nity theatre on bold themes, I see that they are not averse to pay­ing at­ten­tion to con­cepts which are alien to them.

Also, the cos­mopoli­tan na­ture of this city has al­ways fas­ci­nated me. I love the fact that people from dif­fer­ent re­gions and cul­tures have made the city their home. They have brought with them a cer­tain cul­tural di­ver­sity that has lent a pe­cu­liar charm to this place and made the city what it is now. From the time that I first came here, I see a cer­tain awak­en­ing in the people here, some­thing which I am proud of. The level of ed­u­ca­tion is great here, they are aware about their rights and du­ties.

But there are cer­tain things that have al­ways dis­turbed me— the elites and their at­ti­tude. You see them in big cars on the geri route all day long. They are the ones who are suck­ing the city dry with­out con­tribut­ing a bit. I won­der what has hap­pened to their sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity. I am not a com­mu­nist, but how can we evade our so­cial re­spon­si­bil­i­ties? They be­long to the class that en­joys power with­out re­spon­si­bil­ity, some­thing which is al­ways dan­ger­ous for the so­ci­ety. This class has no stand, no in­ten­sity of emo­tion and thought. All they want to do is main­tain their sta­tus quo. Some­thing which cul­tural ac­tivists like me are al­ways against.

The au­thor is the Chair­man, Sangeet Natak Akademy

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.