Tolerance, Harmony & Love: A Theatrical Treat for SCMC Students


The students of the Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication (SCMC) on November 23rd, 2022, had the privilege of witnessing a theatre performance staged by one of Pune’s renowned troupes, The Swatantra Theatre, as part of their lecture demonstration programme. Established in Pune in 2006, The Swantantra Theatre is known for its exemplary work highlighting social issues, having become one of the leading Hindi theatre groups in the city. It has been invited by many institutions to stage its socially conscious and narratively rich plays, often mixed with humour. Its home production film, Labour Pain, will also be premiered soon.

The play was performed to a packed audience of SCMC students, with elaborate lighting and props on stage setting the mood.

Set in 1947, the play narrates the story of a migrant Muslim family, hailing from the city of Lucknow in India, being allotted a mansion in Lahore, Pakistan. Upon reaching Lahore, the family finds the mother of the previous house owner, a Hindu, still residing there. Left behind in Pakistan, she refuses to leave the house and the city of Lahore. Initially, the head of the migrant family tries to get rid of her, but we soon discover a familial bond developing between the two families. The play is sprinkled with messages of love, tolerance and the idea of oneness of existence, with the intervention of secondary characters adding humour and charm to the narrative.

Another theme the play touches upon is the pain and struggle of separation during Partition – how homes of families were lost forever in the land left behind and no more theirs to visit, how people found it difficult to adjust to new surroundings, as they craved for the comfort of their ancestral homes.

The actors captured the essence of each character brilliantly. The emotion of the dialogues could clearly be felt by the audience, reflecting the meticulous preparation that went into putting up a strong performance on stage. The final act may have been the most convincing, sending a strong message of religious co-existence.

There was much to learn for the students in the audience, as they witnessed how the medium of theatre could be so powerfully harnessed to instill the values of tolerance, harmony and love.

Kashish Nagwani
(Batch 2024)