Watch: Dastangoi Collective's performance marking centenary of Jallianwalla Bagh massacre, in solidarity with Shaheen Bagh

"Yahaan laga di beheno ne bhi baazi apni jaan ki
Is mitti se tilak karo ye dharti hai balidaan ki
Vande Mataram. Vande Mataram."

— These are lines from the rousing patriotic song, 'Aao Bachchon Tumhen Dikhaaye' from Satyen Bose's 1954 film Jagriti. Penned by Kavi Pradeep and sung by Mohammed Rafi under the music direction of Hemant Kumar.

Dastangoi Collective echoed a sentiment similar to the song in Dastan-e-Jallian, their presentation at New Delhi's Shaheen Bagh on 17 January to express solidarity with the ongoing anti-CAA-NRC protests. The dastan was prepared to mark the centenary year of the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre. It aims to take the audience back to the colonial years of violence and oppression, yet at the same time continue to speak to the present times.

It draws from various writings across genres — protest poetry in Urdu and Punjabi (some of which were earlier banned); writings of Saadat Hasan Manto and Krishan Chander; speeches of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Rabindranath Tagore, and official reports such as the Hunter Commission report.

Dastan-e-Jallian is directed by Mahmood Farooqui, written by Ainie Farooqui, and performed by Ainie Farooqui and Nusrat.

In an interview with The Indian Express, Ainie said that while the massacre and its barbarity is well known, one only recognises it as the handiwork of just one person — General Dyer — but it wasn’t so. "It was the social structure of the time and racial discrimination that led to it. It was not an aberration in history, the whole system was Jallianwala Bagh — the repression, suppression, discrimination in the everyday," she observed.

Watch the performance here:

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Updated Date: Jan 21, 2020 13:03:09 IST