Sarai performance: This Evening Too- From Lal Ded to Ahad Zargar

An inversion of the emperor’s new clothes.

meat for some eyes, poison for others.
Housed talent exhibits.
Lal Ded/Lalleshwari is a 14th c saint poet from Kashmir.
Abdul Ahad Zargar’s vacchun was the background tune to Indersalim’s performance.
He ate dust, created a black and white palette on his torso which he used to paint the lyrics of the background song on paper rolling from the wall. The words were akin to bull for us as we knew zilch urdu- his hieroglyphics could have been Greek for all we knew.
lal Ded’s text was on his back which faced us as he wrote out a century old thought.
Although his performance was thought provoking, mocking us as we struggled to decipher his stasis, i wonder how much we took away from the spectacle.
His body overshadowed the message, which we only dimply comprehended, not sharing his heritage. the plaintive strains of the song climaxed with him as we sought to match the words to his motion.
The performance could have been 1/9 of its length as he circled the text. the sheer length of the play forced us to pause, as we were forced to consider the questions he raised, the answers he tore and handed to us. the paint was still wet.
I feel much of the text’s beauty was lost in translation. as Urdu is similar to Hindi, perhaps a handout of Urdu in English script would have helped us match the song to the act more.
However, i have a sneaking suspicion that to have done so would have reduced the importance of the artist- perhaps, he wished to be in the limelight as an enigma rather than as a representative of his culture.



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