Social Scientist. v 2, no. 22 (May 1974) p. 32.


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HABIB TANVIR

Theatre is in the Villages

FOR whatever it may be worth. State support to theatre in this country, both direct and indirect, has had an overwhelmingly urban-elitist orientation. This is strange, considering that this vast sub-continent, still mostly agrarian, represents a multi-lingual people, still by and large illiterate. SoĽ Indian culture is like a crystal reflecting a myriad shades. The elitist orientation of our cultural policy does not take into account this fact. It ignores sizeable areas of the country alive with millions of people speaking numerous tongues. The people of these rural regions, rich in their cultu-ral heritage, have so far been largely deprived of education. Worse might j follow if with the spread of education in the countryside, they are robbed I1 of their culture. The Fifth Five Year Plan must ensure against this right now, or else the results will be appalling.

Urban Theatre

The urban theatre of India only partially reflects the fundamental features of Indian culture. By and large, it remains imitative. It tries ^OL ^ge the conventions of the Western theatre. At its worst, it represents a pale copy of the most worn-out Western traditions in theatre. At its best, it again reflects Western forms recently evolved through a rigorous process of experimentation. Nonetheless there are producers and theatre groups in Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi and elsewhere that are engaged in original



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