As Kathak dancer Sonali Sharma prepares for her upcoming recital Sarhadein, her movements are laced with sombre recollection. Being a war widow has taken a kind of toll on her that she sometimes wonders where her life is taking her. It’s been difficult to sustain so far, but she hope for things to become better for her and other women like her. Through her new dance-drama, being presented by the Art & Rhythm Foundation, she underlines the story of women whose undying love for the country becomes a beautiful example and a source of inspiration for others. “A veerangana (heroic woman) bears the true scars of struggle and faces desolation of a lifetime. It’s rightly said that the soldier’s war ends, but the war of his ardhangani begins after his death,” she says, adding, “I Just want veeranganas to receive heart-felt respect from society, so they’re able to move forward towards a dignified life, free from social stigmas.”
Jacob Philip, the organiser, who has played a huge part in bringing together various elements of this show, feels that it’s about time something like this be bought into public consciousness. He has realised that failure doesn’t come from falling down but it comes from giving up. “I saw Sonali had a dream but needed direction and support,” says Philip, who was brought up and raised in the UAE and US. Upon coming to India, he saw another aspect of life—the not-so-pleasant side of things. “When I heard about how Sonali was trying to become independent after her husband’s demise, I realised how women in India are so dependent on their other-halves. When they lose them, they feel lost. Many women I know became widows at an early age but haven’t been able to re-marry. That’s sad,” he says.
Sarhadein brings many more elements from the lives of such women on to the stage, with folk artist Ghazi Khan Manganiyar, Kathak dancer Rajendar Gangani and others showing solidarity through their performance.
December 28, at Kamani Auditorium at 1, Copernicus Marg, 6 pm onwards.