A 100-feet-wide stage with a 40-feet wide revolving platform, lasers, about 20-feet high bust of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and over 150 artistes — these were only a handful of the standouts at the first show of ‘Babasaheb: The Grand Musical’, organised by the Delhi government at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Friday.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal inaugurated the first show and the over two-hour-long play based on the life of Dr. Ambedkar was attended by other ministers as well.
Covering Dr. Ambedkar’s entire journey from his birth to death, the play moves through the struggles he faced throughout his life for belonging to the Mahar community, which was considered untouchable.
The revolving centre stage had a digital background that kept changing according to the scene; it showcased the Columbia University Library, Dr. Ambedkar’s offices and classrooms and even changed to red during a scene depicting police brutality, giving a more immersive experience.
The play will be enacted twice every day at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. till March 12 and the public can book tickets for free at 8800009938 or www.babasahebmusical.in.
Political struggles depicted
Apart from the struggles he faced because of his caste, the The play also showed his political struggles — mainly his differences with Jawaharlal Nehru. Mr. Nehru’s character was shown twice in the play and both times at odds with Dr. Ambedkar.
In the first scene, the character who plays Mr. Nehru, says: “Mr. Ambedkar, it is because of your stubbornness that the society is today in this situation of tension. You only talk about your matters, the country is fighting the serious fight of independence.”
The actor playing Mr. Ambedkar interrupts him and replies: “And for decades, the oppression happening against Dalits, it doesn’t feel serious to you? You’re talking about the country’s independence and I’m talking about the whole of society.”
In the second scene, Mr. Nehru is seen giving a file to Mahatma Gandhi and asking him to see it. “Jawahar... You’d sent this file earlier too. Bhimrao’s name is not here,” Mr. Gandhi says. “Understand this matter, Jawahar, only an educated leader like Bhimrao can give new hope for the country... There won’t be another law minister like Bhimrao... Bhimrao only tells the truth. His fight is about respect. Put his name in the list,” he added.
”Delighted to see the grandest representation of Babasaheb’s life take place in Delhi through this show. Babasaheb’s life is an inspiring lesson on our society; blessed to be a devotee of Dr. Ambedkar. The more we learn about Babasaheb, the more we believe how there was no one else like him,” he said. He added that Albert Einstein had said about Mahatma Gandhi that generations to come will scarce believe that such a person in flesh and blood walked upon this earth. “The more I read about Dr. Ambedkar, the more I believe that this quote applies to him as well,” Mr. Kejriwal said. He said the same during his Republic Day speech last month and reiterated the same lines in Punjab where the AAP was fighting all seats of the Assembly election. Of late, AAP has been associating more with the Dalit icon. The Delhi government set aside ₹10 crore in the 2021-22 budget to hold events on the life of Dr. Ambedkar. In his Republic Day speech last month, Mr. Kejriwal had said that all Delhi government offices will no longer have the photos of politicians, but will instead have portraits of Dr. Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh.