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Partition Pain: Unveiling the Chaos and Tragedies in Gulzar’s ‘Ravi Paar’ – A Story of Asylum and Loss

Jammu 21st of January, 2024 : Natrang presented a  heart rendering performance of ‘Kharaashein’, a collage of Gulzar’s literary creations on riots was presented under the direction of Rahul Singh here today at Natrang Studio Theatre, Jammu under its weekly theatre series ‘Sunday Theatre’ . The slick production won appreciation from all for its innovative design, craft, lights, music and professional acting in addition to its powerful content.

Three different stories on one common plot written by the celebrated writer Gulzaar were presented beautifully. The stories included ‘Ravi Paar’, ‘Hilsa’ and ‘Khuda Hafiz’. ‘Ravi Paar’ is the story of India at the time of partition. Religious fanatics of both sides showed no mercy on anyone who didn’t believe in their religion, after partition Darshan Singh and his family took asylum in a nearby Gurudwara. Amidst all the chaos ‘Shahni’ gives birth to twins but one of the twins born was very weak and had very bleak chances of survival. Meanwhile Darshan Singh gets the news of arrival of special train from India which has arrived to carry people to safer place. Darshan Singh reaches the station in a rush only to find out train was extremely over crowded, somehow he finds some space for himself and his family on the top of train. After the night falls and train leaves the Station Darshan Singh notices that one of the kid was no longer moving and was cold realizing that the kid was dead. As the train passed over the river Ravi, someone whispered in Darshan Singh’s ear that he should toss the dead kid into the river. Feeling helpless he quietly takes the kid away from ‘Shahni’ and tosses the kid into the river only to find out that ‘Shahni’ was still embracing the dead kid. The second story ‘Hilsa’ opens at the home of a Bengali couple where ‘Kanchan’ is cleaning fish which they have to consume in lunch, ‘Bhibhuti’, her husband returns back from the market empty handed as he could not get the newspaper because of the riots. Somehow  newspaper also reaches their home, which was all filled with the news and pictures of gory consequences of riots. There was a very heart rendering story of a girl who was raped then died at the tender stage when she was pregnant. The writer has very subtly and beautifully related the pain of the girl with that of that ‘Hilsa’ fish who was caught when it was pregnant. In the Third story ‘Khuda Hafiz’, a near panic situation is created in the story of two men out in the night violating of curfew orders. Each confronts the other, demanding to know which community he belongs to, while shielding his own identity.

Natrang actors who gave splendid performances in the play included Brijesh Avtar Sharma, Sanket Bhagat, Sumit Singh Bandaral and Vandana Thakur. The lights were designed by Rahul Singh and the music was rendered by Kushal Bhat. The presentations were done by Vishal Sharma and the show was coordinated by Mohd. Yaseen.