Spreading wings on the JNU campus, Udaan has created a cultural milieu on the campus that is conducive to creative experiments with nationalist fervour
n Ashwani Mishra
A drama was being staged at the Convention Centre auditorium-1 of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) by the students of the Delhi University. It focused on the suffering of Kashmiri Hindus. In no time, they brought the audience face-to-face with all those situations, viewing which the audience was forced to think. The one-act play was over with the question as to why a lot of hue and cry is created over the pains of the stone-pelting gangs and separatists in the valley, but why the suffering of the Kashmiri Hindus is ignored. Why is there no talk of their rights? The audience greeted all the actor students involved in the one-act play with clapping and resonating the hall with the chants of “Bharat Mata ki Jai”. Then several plays were staged, one by one, that focused on the social evils, Macaulay’s education system, the
one-sided role of the media and
Seeing these plays, a question arose in the mind – Are we in the same JNU that is known as a bastion of leftism? Even talking about the Kashmiri Hindus was nothing less than a crime here! Those challenging the integrity and sovereignty of the country were given a shelter here. However, Kashmiri Hindus are being talked about today in the same institution; echoes of Bharatiya culture, civilisation, history, tradition are rising. In fact, all these scenes could be seen during the Udaan festival 2017 held at the Convention Centre last week (February 15-17). About 2,500 students coming from all over the country participated in the event who gathered here to exhibit their talents in different disciplines. Shri Anupam Bhatnagar, president of the Udaan, said, “We had invited students from the eight disciplines in the festival that saw participation of 700 students from 45 teams in one-act plays, 67 colleges in the film production, 600 youths in creative writing, 300 students in photography, 247 students in the poster making, 105 youths in the sculpture, 246 in graffiti and wall paintings respectively and 242 Students in cartoon.”
Many prominent personalities from the film industry attended the opening session of the grand event. Actor Mukesh Khanna, Manoj Joshi, folk singer Padma Shri Malini Awasthi, filmmaker Neil Madhav Panda, Sudipto Sen, author Advaita Kala and President of the AFFT Sandeep Marwah were prominent among the guests. Shri J Nandakumar, Akhil Bharatiya Sahprachar Pramukh was the special guest on the occasion while Shri Jagdish Kumar, Vice-Chancellor of JNU and Shri. Arun Arora, Sahprachar Pramukh of the Delhi Prant graced the occasion. The dignitaries lit the lamp before the picture of Bharat Mata and inaugurated the program followed by the highlights of the Udaan festival 2016.
The way the youth thronged the programme and the vows of Bharat Mata Ki Jai filled the air, it seemed that the youths in Bharat were rising and they would not tolerate the fiddling with the integrity and culture of the nation anymore. All of them pointed to the incident on the campus last year.
Speaking as the chief guest, Mukesh Khanna, the Bhishma Pitamah of the serial Mahabharata, said, “Where there is Udaan, there is Shaktiman and where there is Shaktiman, there is Udaan. If we do not move ahead as a warrior, we do not do justice to ourselves. Hence, the nation needs Shaktiman today and I appeal to the youths to be strong.” He gave the mantra to the youths that there was no need to run away in life. Wait a bit, understand and then go ahead!
Folk singer Malini Awasthi started her speech with Bharat Mata Ki Jai. She said, “Bharat’s culture is great. The youths participating here have come to sacrifice in the same yagnya”.
Actor Manoj Joshi said, “This is the flight of the culture, of the Ganga that organised the Ganga. Because there is no nation in the world that has conserved its age-old values even after many attacks”. He added, “Art and culture are the backbone of any country and I am proud that it is strong.”
Sandeep Marwah, president of AFFT, who has been associated with Udaan since its inception, said, “Udaan has been started to bring together the students of good ideology on one forum. It is aimed at providing a platform and opportunity for youths from the
underprivileged sections of the society.”
It is worth noting that Udaan Festival started in September 2016. It was organised for the first time on September 20-22 in the DU in which more than 50 colleges from the National Capital Region participated. The jury panel selected 217 students of the 10 teams from these participants for a three-day workshop in the National School of Drama in which many celebrities from the world of art taught them the nuances of the art.
Famous scriptwriter and author Advaita Kala, who is associated with the Udaan since the beginning, says, “Everything starts with hard work only. When the Udaan started, even we were doubtful about the reaction it would get. However, the program took place at the university and going by the feedback we received here, it seemed that the thought behind Udaan was successful.” Advaita thinks that four programs of Udaan have taken place until today and the number of young students seen in the Udaan festival 2017 reinforces this thought.
On the second day of the festival, students coming from all nook and corners of the country were seen exhibiting their talent in many disciplines. Students were staging plays in the auditorium- 1. They featured many plays that took digs at conservatism and prejudices of the society while many plays were concerned with the culture and civilisation of Bharat. In auditorium-2, the short films produced by students in Sanskrit, Hindi and English were shown that were based on the incidents taking place in the society around us. The crux of the film directed by Pankaj Kumar was how the addiction was harmful to life. The film Born To Die, directed by Rahul Khandalkar, was based on the female feticide that narrated how millions of girls were killed even before birth every year. The scenes depicted in the film questioned the prejudices of society, because today when the daughters have brought fame to Bharat not only in the country but abroad as well, on the other hand, this sin is being committed as well. Director Rahul says, “Everyday I read in the newspapers that atrocities were committed against daughters. When on one hand the girls are establishing themselves on their hard work, a section is still not ready to accept them. I produced the film keeping this pain in mind.” The audience lauded the films on ‘Why Muzaffarnagar?’ and ‘Nabhkalevar’.
“Art is for Liberation”
Shri J Nandakumar, Akhil Bharatiya Sahprachar Pramukh of RSS, attended the Udaan Festival 2017 all three days in the JNU campus and oversaw the details of festivities. Panchjanya reporter Ashwani Mishra talked to him about the original vision of Udaan and its future. Excerpts:
Actor Victor Banerjee was present as the chief guest at the conclusion on the final day of the event, while Dr Manmohan Vaidya, Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Shri J Nandakumar, Akhil Bharatiya Sahprachar Pramukh, Shri Alok Kumar, Sah-Sanghchalak of the Delhi Prant, RSS and Shri. Narendra Kumar, Prachar Pramukh of the Uttar Kshetra were present as the distinguished guests. Singer Abhimanyu and team built the tempo by singing ‘He Sharade ma, He Sharade ma’ at the beginning of the program. When Shri. Arun Arora, Sahprachar Pramukh of the Delhi Prant, who was compering the
program, announced the teams chosen by the jury panel in different
disciplines, the enthusiasm of the students in the auditorium was the scene to be witnessed.
Hemant Kumar of the Ramlal Anand College in photography, Aditi Das of the College of Arts in poster creation, film ‘Kuda Ghar’ produced by the students of the Maharaja Surajmal Institute, Digvijay Singh of JNU in creative writing, Preeti of the College of Art in sculpture, Nishant from the same college in the graffiti and cartoons were given the first prizes. All these students were given cheques from Rs 5 to 15 thousand.
‘Art makes the nation great’
Every village of the country has a legend. Every village has a history. One or another person must have fought for the soil even before 1857. Every village has an art genre. This country is so grand that we should revive that grandeur and shape it in today”s times. The idea of the Udaan started with the street play six months ago and we can see it expanding in many disciplines of art. Those working in all these disciplines have plethora of opportunities. So the youths can take flight of their lives very well here. They have got one such platform through the Udaan. Therefore, I say that such events should take place in all universities across the country through the Udaan.
Victor Banerjee addressed the students at the end of the ceremony. He said, “The number that is seen here is the actual energy. We have to steer this energy on the right path because that is need of civilisation and culture today.”
As per the law of nature, the fog is inevitable. However, there is always hope of the dawn and pleasant light with the sun. Hundreds of students converged on the JNU campus for three days with the same hope the Udaan Festival proved that this community has woken up for the regeneration of its culture and art.