Kasturba versus Gandhi- Stage Play

Drama | Hindi | 1hr 30mins

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02 Oct Lok Kala Manch: New Delhi | 100 Onwards

In a male-dominated society that expected women to obey several unwritten rules of decorum, a woman who chose to speak her mind and not abide by such standards would certainly be considered revolutionary and defiant.  Kasturba, the wife of the famous Mahatma Gandhi, clearly fits this outline. She is not as well known to the modern world as her famous husband. It is not known that the concept of 'Satyagraha' was given to Gandhi by his wife. It is not known that Gandhi would have serious arguments and fights with his wife, Kasturba, who was always known as a demure and obedient wife. Kasturba acted entirely of her own accord, and she was not willing to agree to a situation simply because society dictates it to be proper. Kasturba was unwilling to compromise her own beliefs in order to please the populace.  She also acted in unprecedented ways, not only for women, but for people in general. Most women would simply accept their husband's word and obey their wishes; however, Kasturba once again, would not relinquish her own values to please society.  Her progressive behavior is certainly unheard of in the nineteenth century! 

The play is a deep feminist text where Kasturba is revealed as a woman ahead of her times. She cared deeply for women's rights as well as her own rights as a woman. The play targets to also address this question: Why do great leaders of national stature fail as fathers, and even as spouses? In seeing the broad picture, why and how do they neglect their own families? And how does Kasturba rise to define her own identity in the midst of such sad failure? This play is an honest and pointed look at the inside of greatness. And who better to choose than a bastion of peace to show that even such great men are not immune to the fallacies of human nature. Gandhi was a great man, but as a result of his greatness, he did not understand how to allow his ideas to coexist with his duties as a father and husband. His imposition of his ideas on his wife and children resulted in some form of rebellion in both of them. Running parallel to this theme is the feminist commentary through Kasturba, as she attempts to reconcile her duties as loving wife and her personal conviction for self-determination. 

Playwright NISHI CHAWLA uses painstaking research and a creative gift for dramatic characterisation to bring to life her portrait of Kasturba Gandhi. She is not re-writing history; rather, she takes a closer look from a different perspective. The audience is awakened to a new perspective, and prompted to think more critically and deeply about social undercurrents that existed during the independence movement (and continue to exist in some form today).

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