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Date : 2009-08-02
written & directed by Elangovan
performed (in English) by Ahamed Ali Khan (Gandhi) & Hemang Yadav (Godse)
Sat 1 & Sun 2 Aug 2009 8 pm $20 The Substation Theatre, Singapore (Tickets available at The Substation box-office - Tel: 63377800)

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” Plato

Mahatma Gandhi, the messiah of peace is the pioneer and perfector of Satyagraha - the resistance of tyranny through mass civil disobedience. On 30 Jan 1948, at 5.10 pm, Gandhi leaves his room at the Birla House. He walks briskly to the prayer ground. Gandhi greets the waiting crowd. Nathuram Godse folds his hands and says ‘Namaste’. Pushing aside one of the girls walking with Gandhi, he shoots him at pointblank range. Three bullets hit Gandhi. Godse surrenders to the police. He is hanged till dead at Ambala Prison on 15 November 1949. Godse’s defence was not allowed to be publicized by the Indian government for more than 50 years. According to Justice Gopal Das Khosla, one of Godse’s judges, who did play a role in convicting him: “… the audience was visibly and audibly moved. There was a deep silence when he ceased speaking. Many women were in tears and men were coughing and searching for their handkerchiefs. I have, however, no doubt that had the audience on that day been constituted into a jury and entrusted with the task of deciding Godse’s appeal, they would have brought in a verdict of ‘not guilty’ by an overwhelming majority.” Both Gandhi and Godse believed in TRUTH. But they took different roads to truth. Is Godse really the mad Hindu fanatic as portrayed by the establishment that sentenced him to death? Both Gandhi and Godse meet in "Trishanku's heaven". [Trishanku’s heaven is a mythological world created by sage Viswamitra for mortal king Trishanku who wanted to go to heaven. The immortals refused to accept Trishanku and he was marooned between earth and heaven for eternity.] They debate about their preferred modes of ‘speaking truth to power’ - Ahimsa (Non-violence) and Himsa (Violence). Godse’s memoryscapes contest the official truths of the Gandhian era to reclaim history. Godse’s gun that he had used to kill Gandhi is on the table with one bullet left. Both are forced to play Russian-roulette as only then they will be liberated from the stalemate position in Trishanku’s heaven. Their cross-examinations of each other exhume the nature of tyranny in our lives, and examine the relevance of peace and love to survive as human beings in this violent world. But a bullet is fired to seal the glaring discrepancies in the mythifications.

S Thenmoli
Agni Kootthu (Theatre of Fire)


GODSE: “In condemning history's towering warriors like Shivaji, Rana Pratap and Guru Gobind Singh as misguided patriots, Gandhiji has merely exposed his self-conceit. He was, paradoxical as it may appear, a violent pacifist who brought untold calamities on the country in the name of truth and non-violence, while Rana Pratap, Shivaji and the Guru will remain enshrined in the hearts of their countrymen for ever for the freedom they brought to them. A Satyagrahi can never fail was his formula for declaring his own infallibility and nobody except himself knew what a Satyagrahi is. We did not want this man to live. We did not want this man to die a natural death, even if 10 lives were to be lost for that purpose. As regards non-violence (Ahimsa), it was absurd to expect forty crores of people to regulate their lives on such a lofty plane. I do not desire that any mercy should be shown to me. My confidence about the moral side of my action has not been shaken even by the criticism levelled against it on all sides. I have no doubt that honest writers of history will weigh my act and find the true value thereof some day in future.” [After Gandhi was assassinated his followers went on a rampage in Maharashtra (Godse's home state) and killed many Brahmins (Godse's caste) and set their houses and property on fire. Many people had to die simply because they were of the same caste as Godse. The followers of Gandhi reflect a lot about their leader and his Ahimsa philosophy. India today is no different.]
NEHRU: “Friends and comrades, the light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere. I do not know what to tell you and how to say it. Our beloved leader, Bapu as we called him, the Father of the Nation, is no more. Perhaps I am wrong to say that. A madman has put an end to his life, for I can only call him mad who did it and yet there has been enough of poison spread in this country during the past years and months, and this poison has had an effect on people's minds … And today the fact that this mighty person whom we honoured and loved beyond measure, had gone because we could not give adequate protection is a shame for all of us.” [Did Gandhi suspect he would be killed? On the day he was killed he finalized his last will and testament by which he recommended that the Congress Party should be dissolved and converted into a social organization named the Lok Sevak Sangh. Had Gandhi carried out his plan he would have been a nuisance for Mountbatten, Nehru and Patel because he would have worked for Indo-Pakistan reconciliation. He had already been totally marginalized in the Congress thanks to his erstwhile loyalists, Nehru and Patel. But the same Gandhi after death became the global brand image for the Congress Party and the Nehru dynasty. Surprisingly there is little or no mention by historians of Gandhi’s plans to settle down in Lahore. Why? Because his assassination aborted the plan? Were Nehru and Mountbatten aware of the assassination plan, as Patel’s Home Affairs ministry had already gathered information about the conspirators much earlier? Did both lovers simply wait for the Mahatma’s termination? Mountbatten used his wife Edwina’s sleeping with Nehru as political capital. Stanley Wolpert and others have provided proof that Jawaharlal Nehru was a closet homosexual and he consorted with the gay Viceroy of India Lord Mountbatten. Nehru dated both Ediwina, and Lord Mountbatten. Ménage à trois impacted India’s independence. Later, Nehru died of tertiary syphilis-aortic aneurysm. Mountbatten, a gay was attracted to boys in their early teens and it was this characteristic which made him especially vulnerable to the IRA blowing him up, because he needed to slip away from his personal bodyguards to keep dates with such boys, some of whom came in contact with IRA men.]
DR SUSHILA NAYAR: “He (Gandhi) started much earlier. However, at the time he called it ‘nature cure’. Long before Manu (his grandniece) came into the picture I used to sleep (naked) with him just as I would with my mother. He might say my back aches. Put some pressure on it. So I might put some pressure on it or lie down on his back and he might just go to sleep. In the early days there was no question of calling this a brahamacharya experiment. It was just part of nature cure. Later on, when people started asking questions about his physical contact with women, the idea of brahamacharya experiments was developed. Don’t ask me any more questions about brahamacharya experiments. I used to sleep with him because I regarded him as a Hindu god.”
GANDHI: “I sleep in the Ashram surrounded by women for they feel safe with me in every respect. If I were sexually attracted towards women, I have courage enough, even at this time of life, to become a polygamist. I do not believe in free love - secret or open. My faith in non-violence remains as strong as ever. I am quite sure that not only should it answer all our requirements in our country, but that it should, of properly applied, prevent the bloodshed that is going on outside India and is threatening to overwhelm the Western world … Let no one say that he is a follower of Gandhi, It is enough that I should be my own follower … You are not followers but fellow students, fellow pilgrims, fellow seekers, fellow workers.”
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Posted by : kamasoma@pac...



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