Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
On the occasion of 66th National Independence Day, senior Postgraduate students from the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Prasanthi Nilayam campus presented a patriotic drama entitled Bharatiya Samskruti Atma Samskruti on 15 August, the Independence Day evening in Prasanthi Nilayam.
The 85 minute presentation, divided into 12 episodes, was based on the theme, as the title denotes, that freedom of the soul is the key for True Freedom, a concept preached by Swami Vivekananda.
Depicting the story of the protagonist, a lawyer by name Gaurav, who was defending the chairman of a chemical company that emptied their effluent openly thereby causing the death of innocent civilians, the presentation takes the audience through various episodes, illustrating great lives contributed to India’s freedom struggle. The presentation finally ended on a high note, with the transformation of the lawyer into a man of strong moral fibre.
The drama begins with an opening scene playing the famous patriotic couplet, Khanda Khandanthara, sung by Bhagawan. The scene soon changes into a court room where the protagonist, Gaurav defending the main accused Ravi Chopra, Chairman of Allied Chemicals.
The Chemical Company was accused guilty of causing the homicide of eighteen innocent civilians by emptying its effluent openly, flouting all safety norms. Cleverly testifying the witness Sathyadev Sinha, a former employee of the firm, who had rightly forewarned the company of the unjustifiable crime, Gaurav wins over the first round of argument by wrongly trapping Mr. Sinha resorting to unrighteous tricks of a morally bankrupt defense lawyer.
His old school teacher in the village at Kishanpur, who also lost his son in the homicide, questions Gaurav of his immoral motive behind defending a corrupt person. The teacher who taught inspirational stories of great freedom fighters takes Gaurav back to his school days where he chose to idolize Vivekananda. He preferred the Swamiji for his concept of freedom from actions, will and desires along with freedom of Motherland.
Now the presentation takes a twist with Swami Vivekananda makes ethereal appearances to a confused, disturbed Gaurav questioning his moral fabric and apparent insensitivity in defending untruth. Gaurav tries to prevail upon the master with senseless, baseless arguments but in turn gets to hear the great master’s powerful words of wisdom. Now, being heard, Gaurav sets himself to think…
Inspiring the young attorney, Vivekananda continues to narrate a heroic ‘fearless’ tale from the olden days of Indian Independence struggle, that of Alluri Sita Rama Raju, who led an ill-fated “Rampa Rebellion” during 1922–24.
The ensuing scene depicts a verbal duel between Rama Raju and Rutherford, the Collector of Visakhapatnam district during the British Raj. At the peak of the verbal duel, an unwilling and unrelenting Rama Raju sacrifices his life for his Motherland, facing the British guns fearlessly.
Vivekananda continues with his task of mentoring the young attorney with more inspirational tales. Refrains of India’s patriotic slogan ‘Vande Mataram’ echoes in the next scene with a group of Indians facing the British police in Chauri Chaura Police Station.
Scene moves on to Mahatma Gandhi, depicting the Mahatma’s resolve to seek redemption from violence. The resolve was the aftermath of an incident at Chauri Chaura Police Station where the agitating public set policemen on fire. Mahatmaji advocates to end the Indian strategy of meeting ‘eye-to-eye’ and in order to get the public convinced of his resolve, he begins an indefinite fast asking his countrymen to refrain from violence.
A high voltage scene ensues where the youth leader who was responsible for setting the policemen ablaze returns to Gandhiji, full of repentance. To the agitated, yet repenting youth, the Mahatma gives a wise counselling telling, ‘fire cannot be put out by fire’…and…’your destiny is what you choose’.
Now, after the wise counselling from Swami Vivekananda, the defense lawyer refuses to represent Mr. Chopra on moral grounds, adhering to Truth.
An enraged Ravi Chopra takes vengeance on Gaurav, attempting on his life.
To a transforming Gaurav, Vivekananda explains his own story, the story of Narendranatha Dutta, at the feet of his master Sri Rama Krishna Paramahamsa, as to how the master tested him before leading him unto Godhood, imparting the greatest lesson that true freedom lies in being bound to the Divine.
Ravi Chopra gets convicted and an emotional Gaurav discloses to his curious old class teacher as to how, he, a lost ship in turbulent waters, was saved by Swami Vivekananda.
Concluding the presentation, Vivekananda’s voice echoed affirming that Gaurav is not a lone case, but there are countless such souls who took inspiration from this highest ‘soul’ principle that finally helped India in her Independence struggle.
A group song in Hindi, saluting the nation, saluting Beloved Bhagawan, echoing His message of Unity, followed. Interestingly, the curtain was drawn in a unique fashion.
Various posters of the key legendary characters contributed to the freedom struggle, namely, Subhash Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Bhagat Singh, were brought unto the Sanctum Sanctorum before pasting them on the wide backdrop canvas. When the final ‘centre’ piece was pasted, like filling a picture puzzle, what stood out was a beaming Bhagawan in the backdrop.
The presentation was interspersed with beautiful song and dance sequences. A mention is to be made on the power-packed dialogue delivery, stimulating the inherent patriotic feeling.
Bhajans continued and prasadam was distributed to the entire assembly. Towards the end, groups of tiny tots from the Primary School offered ‘Independence Day’ Greetings at the Sanctum Sanctorum.
II Samasta Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II
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