NIRBHAYA means in the Hindu language, Fearless one. It is the pseudonym used by the Indian Press to identify the victim of an outrageous gang rape and murder carried out on a Delhi Bus as it traversed across the city.
Now it is the name of a play, a theatrical production, dramatising the story of the Rape.
Consciousness raising theatre, social commentary theatre, political theatre is commonly about some neglected injustice needing a voice; some unexplored corner of a controversy that demands investigation; some hidden hypocrisy that needs to be de-hypocritised. But frankly, if you need this graphic dramatic theatrical recreation of the gang rape, to become disgusted, outraged and angry at what occurred in Delhi, then you need to get out a bit more.
Most women in Delhi, in India, did not need a simulated theatrical re-creation of the horrors of the rape to be outraged. They came on to the streets in millions. They fought battles with riot police, they demanded political change. They forced onto the statute books of Indian, new laws, new rules of evidence and the death penalty for rape.
This then is exploitative theatre. There was no story out of India, or indeed anywhere else, as horrific, as outrageous or as offensive to women as that of the Fearless one. She was made the International Woman of Courage by the U.S. State Department.
Why then do we need a graphic theatrical re-creation of the rape? To raise up the voice of women? To condemn rapists\? All of that, and more, was achieved, is being achieved by the horror of her ordeal, which touched and outraged the world.
So if the theatrical production is not raising consciousness, as did Nirbhaya’s Ordeal, if it is not highlighting the macho culture of India, as did Nirbhaya’s ordeal, if it not condemning the violence of men towards women or the low status of Indian women or the inequality of Indian women, as did Nirbhaya’s ordeal, then why recreate it, even if it be done superbly well as it is so here, then why recreate it, in all its internal horrors, on an Edinburgh stage
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