Parul Sharma

Kamala Nehru College team to perform at the Intercollegiate Drama Festival in Lahore

NEW DELHI: A group of young girls from Delhi is now in Pakistan to revive the painful memories and trauma of Partition in the words of one of the most prolific and controversial writers of the neighbouring country.

The group of 16 students and three teachers of Delhi University's Kamala Nehru College is in Lahore to perform at the Indo-Pak Intercollegiate Drama Festival organised by Government College University, Lahore, in collaboration with the Pakistan National Council of Arts. The festival, which opened on Friday, is on till March 22.

The dramatics society of the college, "Lakshya", will perform an English adaptation of "Toba Tek Singh" -- one of the renowned works of Urdu short story writer Sadaat Hasan Manto who migrated to Pakistan after the Partition -- at the festival.

"During the 2006-07 academic session, our college had organised a series of events on the theme `Peace and Conflict Resolution'. During one such function, representatives of Lahore University had come to screen a documentary film on `Women and Partition' and that's how we got talking. Later Lahore University mailed us about this festival," said Principal Minoti Chatterjee before leaving for the Wagah border on Tuesday.

The 40-minute play is based on Manto's Partition narrative that uses the metaphor of madness of a lunatic asylum to explore the grief of the experiences of the Partition period.

Excited participants

The girls -- most of whom who are visiting Pakistan for the first time -- are excited about performing there and looking forward to it.

"We had always read about cultural exchanges between India and Pakistan. This is our big moment. It's a huge opportunity for our college. We believe that all these efforts will go a long way in promoting peace between the two countries," said Moitreyee Banerjee, a second year English literature student at the college, who is also the assistant director of the play.

For journalism student Saba Siddiqui, who plays one of the lunatics, the trip will be an emotional one as she would get to meet her parents' relatives living in Pakistan.

Lady Shri Ram College and Hans Raj College will also showcase their plays at the festival.