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

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Dancing the Night Away

The varied trajectories of Bengali cabaret/bar dancers who ferried themselves between the two cities of Mumbai and Kolkata in search of livelihood and shelter since the last decades of the 20th century are mapped. Taking Kolkata as the epicentre of research, the author proposes to trace the eviction drive of the city’s erotic dancers ascribing their large-scale exodus to the cultural crusade waged by the progressive state that forced out many poor and labouring dancers, calling them out as visceral symbols of apasanskriti or pervert culture.

Concrete Labour and Corporeal Aesthetic

The art of lavani as an aesthetic labour involves a contradictory sense of the self. At one level, self-realisation of an artists assigns them a complete autonomy on aesthetic production, while at another level, it also generates a sense of self-exploitation which is social and structural. 


Sukracharjya Rabha (1977–2018)

Sukracharjya Rabha, a visionary theatre practitioner, established the Badungduppa Kalakendra in a remote village at Rampur and was also the director of the well-known “Under the Sal Tree” annual theatre festival. His theatre practice that was rooted materially, economically and ecologically at the heart of an indigenous community, creates a distinctly different political economy, which departs radically from previous attempts by the exponents of the “Theatre of Roots” movement to indigenise theatre in India and formulates a critique of it.

Attiring Local Tradition for the Global Market

A single practice among several others in an indigenous knowledge system often emerges as the dominant and most visible face of the traditional practices. Can the Global Ayurveda Festival and new Jeevani project attempt a course correction? 

Between Truth and Reconciliation

Drawing on the discourse of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa, this essay reflects on some experiments in truth and conflict resolution on the borders of theatre and public culture. By calling attention to the interstitial space between truth and reconciliation, it posits new points of departure in reflecting on the tensions of 'factual truth' and 'personal or narrative truth'; memory and evidence; victimhood and resistance; silence and articulation. Working through the non-verbal and gestural dimensions of different performances and testimonials relating to violence, the essay affirms the need for new languages in dealing with the historical traumas of the past. Questioning the validity of commemorating the pain of entire communities through memorial museums, it recontextualises the possibilities of reconciliation beyond the limited time-frame of Truth Commissions into a more dialogic confrontation of the unease underlying any struggle for 'transitional justice'.

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