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Celebrating Kasturba & Mahatma Gandhi's 150th Birth Anniversary with two plays!

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2 - 2.30 pm arrival and check-in.  
2.30 pm Curtain-up. Open Seating.

About the Play: Kasturba / Gandhi

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. It is Nishi Chawla’s aim to make this play a deeply 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. Nishi Chawla’s drama is cinematic in effect: it moves from episode to episode much as a camera would.       

The play was first staged by Natya Bharti in the Washington D.C. metro area in Fall 2016.    

This play has been successfully staged in New Delhi, India, by eminent theatre personality, Shilpi Marwaha a few times in 2018 and in 2019.


About Playwright: Dr. Nishi Chawla 

Dr. Nishi Chawla is an academician and a writer with several collections of poetry, plays and novels to her credit. Dr. Chawla’s poetry has been published in various American journals including Humanitas, Hamlet Studies and in Indian Literature.

Dr. Chawla holds a Ph. D. in English from George Washington University in D.C. and a post-doctoral from John Hopkins University.

After two decades of teaching as a Professor of English at Delhi University, Dr. Chawla emigrated from India to a Washington suburb along with her family. She first taught at the University of Maryland for five years and is currently on the faculty of Thomas Edison State University at New Jersey.

Dr. Chawla’s plays get staged both in the United States and in India.


About the Director: Alka Sharma

Alka Sharma is the founder of MANDI THEATRE group with a keen passion for performing arts. She has led Mandi Theatre and its artists to revive India’s traditional street theatre to give it a distinct identity in Chicago. Since its inception four years ago, Mandi Theatre has staged over 40 plays reimagining and representing the works of famous authors of the Indian sub-continent including Prem Chand, Rabindra Nath Tagore, Saadat Hasan Manto, Bheeshm Sahani, Alice Gerstenberg and Sir O. Henry among others.

An actor, dancer, playwright, poet, painter and a writer, Alka has dedicated herself to preserving and nurturing the Indian art and culture in the United States.


About the Play: Gandhi and Churchill

A short animated vignette between Gandhi and Churchill who referred to Gandhi as a 'half-naked fakir' will also be staged. The dialogue is the reflection of the undercurrent s of racism and bigotry prevalent around the world. This is a short excerpt from Dr. Chawla longer play on Churchill and Gandhi.


The plays will be followed by a panel discussion with the playwright  Dr.Chawla and director Alka Sharma, along with Maki Mandela, daughter of Nelson Mandela, and Anthony Chavez son of Cesar Chavez, moderated by K. Sujata.

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