This summer vacation, hundreds of children from several schools of Delhi are spending their time learning the intricacies of Hindi literature, honing their theatrical skills while acquainting themselves with the legend called Munshi Premchand.
At the first of its kind theatre workshop organized by Delhi Government’s Hindi Academy, 400 students from across 10 schools in the capital are participating to get a deeper understanding of the renowned writer.
Aptly titled ‘Is Greeshma Premchand Hain Bachchon Ke Sang’, the workshop
is being conducted by 10 directors chosen by the Academy and assisted by 10 assistant directors who are grooming the children in the art of Premchand’s theatrics.
The month long workshop (May 20 to June 19) will culminate with a grand festival of theatre that will be presented by the children through 10 plays over five days at the Little Theatre Group Auditorium at Mandi House.
The children in the age group of 8 to 16 years, who evinced their interest in participating in the workshop, were selected on the basis of auditions.
“Premchand is a writer without whom Hindi literature cannot be imagined or talked about. He was a writer who went deep into the roots of Indian society and presented a true picture of it. So if we want to bring our children closer to Hindi literature, the job has to begin with Premchand,” says Dr Harisuman Bisht, famous author and Secretary of Hindi Academy.
Dr Bisht says that since it is the first such workshop on such a large scale being organized by the Hindi Academy, it had to begin with the biggest name in Hindi literature.
There is no dearth of stories in Premchand’s oeuvre and 10 of his works are being worked into plays by the students. The Premchand stories that would be scene on stage include some of his most famous works like ‘Do Bailon ki Katha’, ‘Namak ka Daroga’, ‘Eidgaah’, ‘Pariksa’, ‘Panch Parmeshwar’ and ‘Lottery’
The other stories that would be featured are ‘Sawa ser Gehun’, ‘Budhi Kaki’, ‘Sachchai ka Uphar’ and ‘Nimantran’.
“For today’s youth we believe it is important to know how Indian society has shaped up over the years and Premchand’s works – his stories and plays – present a real picture of his time. This is why we want to introduce our children to Premchand and to the grassroots of India,” says Mr Bisht.
The theatre festival will be inaugurated on June 20 and will culminate on June 24, during which the students will present two plays a day.
The directors who are helping the projects in different schools are Haider Abbas Naqvi, Rajesh Kumar, Kumar Vir Bhushan, Bipin Pachauri, Rahul Saxena, Jawed Ibrahim, Mita Mishra, Mohammad Ali Ashraf, Amandeep Garg and Harshita Guha.
They are being ably assisted by 10 assistant directors to organize the students into presenting Premchand’s plays on stage. Mr Sanjeev Agnihotri and Mr Nadeem Khan have been appointed as coordinators by the Hindi Academy, under whose guidance the workshops are being held smoothly.