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How a dowry death in Delhi gave birth to feminist street theatre in India

In Delhi, in the late 1970s, the death of the dowry were so common that newspapers relegated to the memoirs of the city. But the assassination of Hardeep Kaur in October 1978 to Jangpura, a middle-class colony was so audacious that it refused to be reduced in three lines in a single column: its death screams were heard by a neighbor, while it was burning in The living room of your house.

The story of Kaur became the nucleus of one of the first female female parts of India, Om Swaha, which took place in late 1979. It was a powerful work that women’s groups expressed their public indignation doyage against Killings, launching the events that ended with an endowment against legislation in 1980.

The story of Om Swaha and other pieces of the feminist street of the 80’s and its evolution over the next decade are told by Deepti Priya Mehrotra expert in her upcoming female book of theater, stories and stories. Mehrotra itself was part of some of these pioneering parts.

“There is so little known today the feminist movement at the time of street theater,” said Mehrotra. “It is an intense work based on shared experiences of women, which is part of feminist activism itself and an effective way to communicate such concerns to many people. They played in the streets, houses, courses, schools, events , Waiting for it to be possible.

Mehrotra read these parts recently with actors Jana Natya Manch from the Safdar Studio in Delhi. She and other early feminists emphasize that she plays like Om Swaha, Aurat, Ahsaas, Mulgi Zhali Ho and Aurat Aur Dharam born of the activism of the times but gave no further voice to the women’s movement.

They are entertaining works, good humor, popular music and color, even if the stories they told were dark. At least two of them, plus Om Swaha, was staged for the first time in 1979. Janam Aurat of Safdar Hashmi, has become a huge success and was faced with houses full of 20 years. In the meantime, Ahsaas, a street game with vignettes of a middle-aged woman’s life, was also passed in the middle-class houses in Lajpat Nagar, bringing the theater into the houses of the characters of the play.

This female street theater was Hindi and beyond, said Mehrotra. “There was Jyoti Mhapsekar and Stgia Mukti Sangathana, tremendously popular, Mulgi Zhali Ho and several other parts of the street in production in other parts of India, especially Chhattisgarh and Karnataka,” he said. This is the story of how two of the most successful feminist street landscape of these decades have evolved:

The writer-editor Urvashi Butalia, remembers the quiet afternoon of October 18, 1978 lunch just above his house in Jangpura when the cries rent the air. In the park of colonies, framed in the bedroom window of a rich family house, they could clearly see a young woman wrapped in flames.

We talked about harassment for not bringing enough fingers. Even if a whole neighborhood observed Hardeep Kaur’s public death, only Subhadra Butalia, Urvashi’s mother and feminist pioneer, agreed to be witnesses.

Stree Sangharsh, an incipient feminist group established by Subhadra Butalia, had brainstormed: How to shake up numb settlements and streets of Delhi, engaging communities? At that time, many other women were killed by dowry, including Tarvinder Kaur in the model city.

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