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Mar 26, 2012

Seeds perform Indo-Pak conflict play

MUMBAI | Through support from the Seed Ventures program, Seeds came together in Mumbai this past spring to design and perform a play about the conflict between India and Pakistan.

The idea behind “Peace and a Play,” developed and led by 2009 Indian Seed Ira, was to create awareness among Indian students about the roots of the Indo-Pak conflict through the medium of theater.

Twenty-five Indian students, both Seeds and non-Seeds, attended the project launch—a two-day script-writing workshop held on March 24 and 25. Under the leadership and supervision of Avaan Patel, an accomplished theater teacher, students from different religious and social backgrounds conversed and collaborated.

The workshop generated a great deal of excitement and many ideas as the students shared their interest in and knowledge of the Indo-Pak conflict. Those Seeds who had just returned from a week-long cross-border trip to Lahore, Pakistan, played a particularly vital role, taking it upon themselves to ensure that the Pakistan portion of the play was accurately portrayed both in dialogue and in performance.

At the end of the workshop, the students produced a tangible script that, after editing, was stage-ready. After another review of the script and numerous practice sessions, a group of interested young students, including newcomers as well as many who had participated in the script-writing workshop, came together to bring the play to life. With the support of Pramod Pathak, a two-time Indian Delegation Leader, the students performed before an audience of 60 guests at the end of April.

The project had a significant impact not only on those guests in attendance, but also on the organizer herself, who had traveled to Lahore earlier in the year to participate in the History Project, led by Qasim, a 2001 Pakistani Seed.

“Regarding the experience of designing and implementing an idea for the first time, Ira said, “As a project leader I actually learned how to make a change, and learned to believe that small change is always possible.”

Performers in the play also reflected positively upon their involvement in Peace and a Play. “It was both fun and interesting, and I now know so much more about the Indo-Pak conflict and the importance of peace,”” said one.

Another commented, “The enmity between India and Pakistan that is present even at a citizen level has always irked me, so I was really glad that I got this opportunity to spread the message of peace, for whatever it’s worth.”

With hopes of maximizing the impact of the play, the students plan on giving performances at various other schools and colleges in Mumbai. In particular, they aim to reach out to schools for the underprivileged in order to increase the understanding of the Indo-Pak conflict of as many students as possible.

All of the students expressed pride in the project, which, like many others this spring, had started off as just an idea during a Seed Ventures workshop.

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