Indian troupe reenacts Bengal’s struggles for freedom

April 2, 2015

Indian troupe reenacts Bengal’s struggles for freedomhKolkata-based dance troupe Manjir Centre for Dance and Culture staged a dance drama based on independence movements at the Central Public Library’s Shawkat Osman Memorial Auditorium on Tuesday.
The play, Swadhinata Sangram, is based on a historical narrative recounting and reenacting the struggles for freedom that took place in this region, starting with the 1757 Battle of Plassey which established the invading British East India Company’s rule in Bengal and concluding with the 1971 War of Independence in Bangladesh.
Directed by Malancha Ghosh, it was developed through songs and dance pieces with connecting descriptions in between.
The evening at the Shawkat Osman Auditorium was a tribute to Bangladesh’s Independence Day, hosted jointly by the Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre in Dhaka and local cultural organisation Banhishikha. Cultural affairs minister Asaduzzaman Noor was present as chief guest at the event.
The drama begins with a short description of Bengal losing its sovereignty to England in 1757, in the Battle of Plassey, and goes on to recount the subsequent people’s movements against their British colonial rulers.
Major events of that period including the unsuccessful but tremendously important Sepoy Mutiny of 1857-58 were recalled, with short descriptions of revolutionaries like Titumir, Majnu Shah and Bhabani Pathak.
The descriptions and dance routines were made more meaningful with revolutionary songs playing in the background, including Karar Oi Louho Kopat, Kisher Dukkho Kisher Doinno, and Mayer Deya Mota Kapor.
Most of the songs and dance pieces were placed suitably to match the descriptions. For example, the patriotic song of Ekbar Biday De Ma, written by Pitambar Das in honour of Khudiram Bose, followed the recount of the teen rebel who was hanged for his anti-British revolutionary activities.
The second part of the drama shifted its focus to anti-West Pakistan movements taking place between early the 50s and 1971. Major events of this period such as the 1952 language movement, 1969 uprising and finally the war of liberation were played out.
Some of the songs featuring in this segment were Amar Bhaiyer Rokte Rangano, Karar Oi Louho Kopat, Banglar Mati Banglar Jol and Muktir Mondir Sopan Tole. The show ended with DL Roy’s famous patriotic song of Dhonodhanye Pushpobhora.

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