Viduthalai

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July 18, 2003
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Please note: This page has not been updated since September 22, 2003. We decided to keep it online because we think the information is still valuable.
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 Viduthalai
Viduthalai is an Indian theatre group, performing pieces about outcastes in India. © Wahidur Rahman Khandkar Czhoton

Article

Indian outcaste theatre

The Indian theatre group Viduthlalai plays theatre about dalits (outcast) with dalits and for dalits. The group is from Tamil Nadu and consists of eight women, who all have experience with theatre and song as well as with organizing citizen´s movements.
Viduthalai - Dalit theatre group from Tamil Nadu, India.

Viduthali uses theatre and song as a method for raising the conscience of outcastes, inform about their situation and enter into dialogue about outcastes with people in and outside India.

Viduthalai performed at the Images of Asia in Denmark as part of the dialogue programme.

They will perform short pieces/
Sketches, which illustrate the conditions of the outcastes and the kind of assaults, they are subject to. Drums accompany the pieces. After the performance a short documentary film "Outcaste and then?", produced by Danish Churchaid, will be shown.

More than a fourth of India´s population lives a life as outcasts at the bottom of society. The outcastes - the dalits - are subject to severe discrimination from the higher castes and the authorities. They are denied access to land, they are forced to work under unworthy conditions, often as slaves of debt, and they are exposed to violence and abuse, without any legal consequences for those, who carry out the injustices. In many Indian villages people live separated after castes. The outcastes live in deep poverty, in a system, which denies them access to their basic needs, and without possibility for getting a formal education or a decent job.

The world´s greatest democracy abolished
´Outcastes´ by the adoption of India´s constitution in 1950. Since then a lot of laws have been introduced to stop this backward practice. But not much effect has occurred, during to these laws.

The dalits are maintained in a backwards position through social sanctions and by lacking laws, supposed to ensure dalits equal rights and protection, are not followed. The police deny meeting the dalit´s reports.
Author: Karin Bergquist

Bio

Viduthalai (means "Free us from what is troubling us")

The Indian theatre group, Viduthalai, consists of:

Spokeswoman of dalit theatre, Ms. Fatima Burnad, 52 years old, is activist and leader of SRED (Society for Rural Education and Development) which works among dalits and poor tribe women in the Indian state Tamil Nadu.

She has studied political science, gender and management in UK and US.
She often performs as teacher and resource person in relation to seminars and workshops in and outside India.
Her goal is to promote citizens´ movements and empower women to engage in political work. She is involved in Landless Labours Movement, Rural Women´s Liberation Movement, Tamil Nadu Dalit Movement and Tamil Nadu Irular Munetra Sangam.

She has travelled in several Asian, African and European countries, including Denmark, which she visited in relation to the Social Summit and the Asem Summit, as spokeswoman for the dalits and the poor women´s case.

Ms. G. Shanti has 18 years of experience in organising public movements and make health- and culture programs. She is a singer, plays theatre and has long experience in speaking at public meetings.

Shanti´s daughter, Ms. J. Rosalin is 26 years old. She is a theatre activist and besides she is involved in the work for outcaste women´s rights. She is a social worker and organises among others women´s groups.

Ms. B. Thenmozhi is 38 years old and has 16 years of experience in the work against caste discrimination. She is an experienced actress and is very engaged in the dalet theatre.

Ms. Appakutti Magimai is 36 years old, she has 19 years of experience in the work against caste discrimination related to women in the Indian state Tamil Nadu. She is member of a group, working with ensuring indigenous peoples rights.

Mr. S. C. Chandar is 29 years old and has 10 years of experience in organising outcastes. He is an experienced speaker, actor and singer.

Appakutti makes dalit theatre, sings, is a public speaker and is involved in a special programme for women.

Mr. S. Ekambaram is 40 years old and has 16 years of experience in organizing public movements. He organizes theatre and cultural activities. He is an experienced co-ordinator of movements for indigenous people´s rights and works intensively for the dalit case.

Mr. Ragavel is 40 years old. He is dalit activist and interested in equality and freedom for indigenous people. He is experienced in organising citizen´s movements. Besides he is an active artist. He sings, makes theatre and traditional dance.

Mr. Vasudevan, 43 years, is theatre activist and has 13 years of experience with organising citizen´s movements. He is musician within traditional music.


2001: Viduthalai performed in relation to UNs conference on racism in Durban.

Projects

This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.

Images of Asia

(08 August 03 - 26 September 03)