Last year Bijhar Deep Utsav introduced a new performer who mesmerized the audience with his eminent dance performance along with Nishant singh, Yogesh and Arvind singh on the song “Pandeyji”. Tall, dark and handsome personality who within a year has become a prominent member of our community. I am talking about none other than Alankar Garg. Alankar hails from the historic city of Allahabad. He came to know about BiJhar through our ex-president Mr. Prakash Hetamsaria. This year he has explored now domain by directing the play called “New Woman”. The play opens up fresh grounds for new comers to join our Bijhar family and contribute towards its development.
This varied and versatile platform of BIJHAR encourages us to talk on topics of social, cultural and psychological concerns that are still mildly or in some states extremely predominant in not just the Indian society but also in Eurasian societies, Middle Eastern societies and African societies.
The concept of today’s play “new woman” is not new to the public. We all know that dowry system and physical abuse is very much condemned by the law all over the world. Here by this play an attempt was made to show how the girl rose and fought against her husband, her in-laws and the society to condemn the ills of “diverging devolutions” and physical-psychological abuse. You would ask me why I chose this particular play to write on. The first reason is that I played the female protagonist in the play. Second reason being that during our rehearsal sessions I understood the underlying thought that Alankar wanted to bring up and I could relate the character of this girl to many women I know in my life.
This play portrays the character of the girl in five phases. The phase of innocence, the phase of acceptance, the phase of rejection, the phase of reincarnation and the last, phase of womanhood. Most women in will identify with all the five phases that have been mentioned. The phase of innocence is that time in life where everything seems to be beautiful and delicate. The innocence of childhood is what a female carries forward till the time she gets married. The musical play beautifully depicts how the girl feels excited when she come to know about her marriage proposal. She is elated by the fact that she is going to get her contended life ahead, a life that she always dreamt of. Here comes the phase of acceptance where she willingly accepts her mother-in-law as her own mother, her father-in-law as her own father, her husband as her best friend.
Unfortunately many times what follows next is the phase of rejection. The strange feeling of unacceptance by the people who she believed were her own. She faces the feeling of standing all alone despite a family. It is very well brought out in the play that a modern woman by no means meekly accepts the rejection. She fights back and rejects her husband and his family. Then come the phase of reincarnation. The girl does not stay quiet, she fights her own battle by dragging her husband and family to court and appealing for justice.
Finally, the play ends by describing the phase of womanhood. Awoman will always be a woman at heart; despite all the ill-treatment she faced by her adopted family she still gave them a second chance. All the qualities of a woman like forgiveness, kindness, supportiveness, responsibility, modesty and maturity all are vividly portrayed in the last phase. Despite her parents convincing her of not going back to her husband and his family she still forgives them. The family too understand the worth of their “bahu”—a qualified, talented, ambitious yet forgiving woman. The voice of the new woman is well established in all developed countries and now this voice is establishing its mark in every small village in developing countries as well.
I would like to end my article with the quote by a well-known African- American poet Maya Angelou who in her poem “Phenomenal Women” says;
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them
They think I’m telling lies.
It’s in the reach of my arms
I’m a woman