Saving the Constitution, One Play at a Time

Akshara Theatre’s latest play is a direct comment on CAA-NRC

Published: 16th March 2020 08:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th March 2020 08:31 AM   |  A+A-

Stills from We Are Citizen India; (inset) Anasuya who co-directed the play with her mother Jalabala

Stills from We Are Citizen India; (inset) Anasuya who co-directed the play with her mother Jalabala

Express News Service

We Are Citizen India, a play about the problems surrounding the National Register of Citizenship (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), was performed at Delhi’s Akshara Theatre on March 15 in the presence of just 10-12 people, as opposed to the seating capacity of 96 people in the auditorium.

“Given the present upsurge in Coronavirus cases in Delhi, we freezed the tickets because we didn’t want to take any risks for people. At the theatre, we arranged masks and hand sanitizers for the viewers. We will perform it again soon for a bigger audience,” said Anasuya Vaidya, who co-directed the play with her mother, a leading stage actress, Jalabala Vaidya.

According to Anasuya, the play was written after a conversation with a Muslim woman who works in the kitchen at Akshara Theatre itself. “She shared the concern with me about not being able to prove her citizenship, as the woman lacks the documents required to prove her citizenship as directed by the Act.

Anasuya says, “The CAA left her deeply worried about the implications it would have on her family and herself. She was anxious about being sent off to a detention camp with her family.” 

The CAA has let widespread protests, loss of lives and destruction of property. A sense of gloom also overpowers the Capital city with recent riots in seen in the North-east area. A number of people have petitioned against the Act. According to them, it discriminates against Muslims, hence violates the Constitution that provides equal rights to everyone irrespective of their religion, among other aspects. 

“One of the bigger problems is a very few people understand what the Act is about. There is an ongoing dilemma about sharing your personal data too. People realise that every government needs data for its policies but there is also a sense of fear that this data may be misused and use to persecute certain people,” said Anasuya.

According to her, the particular play featured detailed explanation of CAA-NRC taking Assam as an example, as one of the points.

“We Are Citizen India also brings forward many writings about on the Act. In addition, the play also includes the personal story of a Muslim family in Delhi bringing forth their fears on CAA-NRC. The play has been deeply researched by the students of the Akshara repertory and we feel people should be aware of the various facets of CAA-NRC, in order to speak for or against these.”


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