ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Soft Targets

Art Attacks: Violence and Offence-Taking in India by Malvika Maheshwari, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2018; pp x+372, ₹964, hardcover. 

In May 1991, the Delhi-based theatre group Jana Natya Manch (Janam) was performing street plays in Kanpur, in support of Subhashini Ali’s election campaign for a Lok Sabha seat, representing the Communist Party of India (Marxist). I was part of the team. We were taken to a middle-class locality. Some of us had performed in Kanpur in 1989, and we recognised the spot immediately. We had a memorable experience then, with the audience joining the protagonist of the play vocally, against the antagonist.

On this occasion, there was a bit of an eerie feeling. The spectators who started to gather kept a little aloof. One of the actors commented that even though it was less than two years since we had performed at that spot, it seemed like a decade ago. If previously we were feted as heroes, now we were looked upon with apprehension.

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Updated On : 3rd Jan, 2020
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