The Covid19 pandemic and lockdown brought a wave of difficulties, challenges and injustices. While everyone suffered, it was a “life-and-death period” as stated by founder Deepa Pawar, for NT-DNT communities and other already deprived groups. Among them, women, trans persons, the disabled, etc. were even more vulnerable. They faced privations and exploitation not just economically but also socially, administratively, mentally, physically, sexually. In order to be aware of such issues, fight such injustices and more importantly, introspect and not promote harmful behaviour towards those more vulnerable, the Badlache Parv Kala Manch prepared a street play to spread awareness about the social aspect of COVID-19. The invaluable contribution of women and girls during COVID19 in exchange for the alarming rising violence against them, mental health issues, hardships faced by the poor – were some of the topics covered. The play presented a number of concrete measures that the public could take to reduce injustices.

Since March is observed as Women’s History Month to highlight the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society, this street play was scripted in accordance, and performed during this month.

The group performed at various locations, starting with a Primary Health Care Centre at Kalyan, where women healthcare workers had gathered to engage in workshop on Mental Justice, NT-DNT rights and disaster preparedness. 

“Your words encouraged us that we are on the right track, we can do more for the mental justice of people we are working with.. And some of the difficult words you used also got clarified in the beautifully presented street play by these young people!”

A health worker

Next performance was outside Dombivli railway station. Along with the play, youth leaders of Kolegaon carried out leaflet distribution campaign, with concrete recommendations for being attentive and empathetic towards NT-DNT communities. We heartily appreciate the cooperation received from Ramnagar police station for this. Also huge thanks to the people of Dombivli who sensitively listened and responded to this thought-provoking street play. Many people came up to congratulate the youth for putting across such sensitive topics in a simple, touching presentation.

BPKM made their next public performance at Kurla Camp, Ulhasnagar. A news reporter who had heard of the play, arranged for it in his area. The elected Corporator Meena Soneji was very impressed and not only met with each performer but also made a donation towards their expenses.

Expanding their reach, the youth then presented their skit on the streets of Badlapur in collaboration with the Kulgaon Badlapur Police station. At first, the Kolegaon youth presented near Badlapur railway station where a lot of local vendors and railway passengers stood by to watch. Secondly, the youth also performed at Samarth Chowk, a prime location suggested by the police officials. We thank the police officers for cooperating and managing physical distancing as the youth performed in a crowded market/station area.

“It was a well presented play. I’m happy to see many youngsters taking such responsibility and being a part of influencing the society in a good way!”

A spectator

With a performance of just 10 minutes, the youth brought to light various social aspects of COVID19 pandemic and lockdown.