Presented by: Dr. Sanjay Kumar, Department of English, Hansraj College, University of Delhi, Founding President, Pandies’ Theatre, Delhi
Abstract: This presentation intervenes in a complex vortex of war, state politics, theatre, and consciousness. It seeks to graph the tenuousness of the experience of doing theatre in the war-torn state of Jammu and Kashmir in India. Spotlighting the special status of Kashmir in the Indian Constitution via Article 370, the backdrop of this presentation consists of the continuing hostility between India and Pakistan and the sharp, equally lethal binary between the Indian State and Islamic ”radicals” on the issue of Kashmir. Including aspects of a chronicle and a travelogue, this presentation uses over 15 years of the experience of pandies’ theatre creating various kinds of performances in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Cutting across regional, cultural and class spectrums and trying to get the warring, disparate segments to “act” together, this presentation weaves its way via theatrical performances from the Hindu-dominant Jammu city to the Muslim (Sunni) radical Kashmir valley to the Shia (Muslim) and Buddhist shared peaks of Ladakh. Can the dots be linked? Or are we left with just the fractures?