After successfully staging their street play Naya Adhyaya in various parts of the country, Sarwanam presented the play at Bhaktapur on November 29.

The banging of cymbals and the sounds reverberating in the Nyatapola square, pulled people to gather around and watch the play.

Its time for elections once again and the actors come in chanting slogans to vote for their party. Amidst these people, the lead character Bina appears dressed in a red sari and cholo. She hopes to fight for the election as well. But unfortunately she is a woman and both men and women stand up against her, saying she is incompetent, as she is a woman. But she is not the one to give up so easily and works to the best of her capability.

Then the scene goes back to Bina’s memories of childhood, when she is discriminated as a girl and deprived of education. However, she gets an opportunity to study, thanks to her strong determination. But then a time comes when she has to get married and all her efforts to oppose it turn futile. She then faces another major hurdle — during the Maoist insurgency her husband is killed and she faces discrimination from society too.

All around she sees injustice and discrimination towards women. Women are being tortured physically and mentally not only by men but also by women themselves. She resolves not to give

in to all the social stigmas and discrimination, and pledges to fight against it.

The play ends with women and even men supporting Bina, who leads them

towards a new and better

future, empowering them with education.

Director Ashesh Malla brings forth social issues that are prevalent, especially in the rural areas of our country. There are some powerful and touching scenes in the play. Women protecting men in time of need and the lead character emerging clad in a white saree after she becomes a widow have been portrayed well. Not just dialogues, musical tones have also been incorporated in the play. The use of fabrics has also given the play certain uniqueness.

Even after the play ends, the actors still have a job left to do. They go to the audience and get their opinions. Susma Koirala, the lead character, said, “I was deeply moved after an incident that followed our show in Dhangadi. A woman called Shakuntala said that it was her story that had been reflected in the play. She cried and hugged me, which I will never forget.”

Another instance she fondly remembers is when a child in Palpa who loved one of the songs, asked her to sing it repeatedly for her. “The child even said that she wants to be just like me when she grows up, which gave me immense joy,” shared Koirala.

The play is being promoted by UNMIN and financed by UNFPA. The street theatre will again be touring various parts of the country.