Celebrating 70 Years of IPTA & Birth Centenary of Balraj Sahni

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The Indian Peoples’ Theatre Association (IPTA) Delhi State is organizing its 2nd State Conference and Cultural Festival on 31st Aug-1 September 2013 in the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. This year IPTA also celebrate 70 years of the Foundation of IPTA and birth centenary of legendary actor and IPTA activist Balraj Sahni. IPTA, with more than 500 units across the country is known for its political and socially responsible artistic outlook.

Celebrating 70 Years of IPTA  & Birth Centenary of Balraj SahniThe Delhi unit was among the first branches established in the country after the First National Conference in 1943, held in Bombay. Veteran freedom fighter, Com. Sarala Sarma coordinated IPTA in Delhi. The Unit could not sustain itself as the following years saw most of its activist put into jail by the British.  After the 8th National Conference and Cultural Festival held in 1958 in Delhi, IPTA could not sustain its activities in Delhi, including  few years of excellent work in late 1980s when IPTA was revived at national level in 1985 at the historic Agra National Convention. There were few more such efforts in Delhi in early 1990s. The period after 1980 has also witnessed a black spot in the history of progressive cultural movement in India in the form of a theatre group in the name of IPTA Delhi run by Aziz Qureshi, completely separate from IPTA’s national organization and defying the legacy and principles with which IPTA had begun. However, since year 2001 two units of IPTA in Delhi, the JNU unit and the Jamia Unit have been upholding the legacy of IPTA. The consistency of these two units along with the formation of new units of IPTA recently have promised that IPTA in Delhi is going to make its presence felt on the cultural scene of Delhi.

The Conference will deliberate upon the challenges that the progressive cultural movement faces today, namely attacks on freedom of expression and shrinking democratic space, the murder of Narendra Dabholkar and attacks on Kabir Kala Manch being the recent examples. The Conference be inaugurated by renowned theatre director and recently appointed director of the National School of Drama, Waman Kendre at 6:30pm in the KC open Air Theatre on 31 August. The inaugural session will be addressed by noted thinker Prof. Tulsi Ram (JNU) and writer Noor Zaheer. IPTA’s national acting president Ranbir Singh and General Secretary Jitendra Raghuwanshi among other theatre personalities and academicians will also be present. Saba Prateeksha will sing poetry from the tradition of legendary poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz. IPTA will sing revolutionary songs and perform Badal Sircar’s play ‘Juloos’ directed by Kiran Pawar.

The second day of the Conference, 1 September 2013, will host a series of talks and discussions, installation art exhibition, plays and experimental performances at the Convention Centre of the Jawaharlal Nehru University from 9:45am till late night. It will focus on the role of cultural organizations in taking forward the process of social change by creating spaces for expression and experiences that break the oppressive social structures. It will examine the history of cultural movement in India in achieving its objectives and the challenges it faces. Noted art critic Samik Bandyopadhyay, renowned painter and scholar Ashok Bhowmick and Savi Sawarakar, literary critic Vishwanath Tripathi (PWA)and Prof. J.M. Parakh (JALES), theatre activists Moloyashree Hashmi (JANAM), N.K. Sharma (Act One), Kapil Sharma (JASAM), Shahid Anwar (Bahroop), Kamong others, such as Kirti Jain (Natrang, Delhi), Sumangal Damodaran (Ambedkar University, Delhi), Arjun Ghosh (IIT Delhi), Sharmishtha Saha (Berlin), will participate in the deliberations. The deliberations will be interspersed with performances. Lokesh Jain will perform Sharan Kumar Limbale’s ‘Akkarmashi’. IPTA units will perform Anupam Kumar’s ‘Brihannala’ (direction: Vipul Pachori), and Shankar Shesh’s ‘Aadhi Raat Ke Baad’ (direction: Mohammad Wasim).  A special audio-video presentation on the contribution of legendary actor and IPTA activist Balraj Sahni will be made by Vineet Tiwari, Jaya Mehta (PWA and IPTA, MP). Experimental artists Inder Salim and Amitabh Pandey along with others will present a provocative performance based on contemporary events. The Conference will also elect the new executive committee of IPTA Delhi State and decide its future action plan.


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