Voices of Partition
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Voices of Partition


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7 Pages


Mán Melá Theatre CompanyVoices of Partition1947–2007The Challenge and the LegacyImage: Margaret Bourke-White, Time Life, 1947A major project marking the 60th Anniversary of the Partitionof British India including Theatre Performance, CommunityWorkshops, Presentations and Oral History, and a Panjabi playUmraan Langian Phabbaan Bhar : A Lifetime on Tiptoesby Mazhar Tirmazi World premiere Edinburgh Festival August 2007Patrons: John McDonnell MP and Ranjit Sondhi CBE2 Why Voices of Partition?Mán Melá Theatre Company launches Voices of Partition to mark the 60thAnniversary of the Partition of British India and its horrific aftermath, whichcontinues to resonate in people’s lives today.The project seeks to share people’s experiences through theatre and personalstories to encourage mutual understanding with the aim of bringing abouthealing, forgiveness and reconciliation for future generations."I was born in Lyalpur A message from our Patron, Ranjit Sondhi, CBE, April 2007:(now in Pakistan), Iwitnessed the whole “The Partition of India and Pakistan was one of the most cataclysmic eventsepisode of Partition with of the last century. The futures of countless families, including my own, weremy own eyes. People altered forever. The fragility of civil society was grotesquely exposed, but solost their land and whole were individual stories of courage and fortitude. However, there are many thatfamilies were destroyed, are yet to be told, indeed must be told, ...



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Why Voices of Partition?
M∙n Mel∙ Theatre Company launches Voices of Partition to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Partition of British India and its horrific aftermath, which continues to resonate in peopleÕs lives today.
The project seeks to share peopleÕs experiences through theatre and personal stories to encourage mutual understanding with the aim of bringing about healing, forgiveness and reconciliation for future generations.
A message from our Patron, Ranjit Sondhi, CBE, April 2007:
ÒThe Partition of India and Pakistan was one of the most cataclysmic events of the last century. The futures of countless families, including my own, were altered forever. The fragility of civil society was grotesquely exposed, but so were individual stories of courage and fortitude. However, there are many that are yet to be told, indeed must be told, if future generations are to cleanse themselves of the gnawing bitterness and resentment that makes reconciliation impossible. ÒThe Voices Of Partition project will remind us that there is far more that unites the people of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh than divides them. We must pay close attention to what they have to say. In other peopleÕs intimate stories of Partition, laced alternatively with tragedy and hope, we find our own.Ó
Ranjit Sondhi is also a member of the BBC Board of Governors as the Chairman of the English National Forum
Voices of Partition : Theatre Performance, Community Workshops, Presentations and Oral History
Theatre Performance
At the heart of Voices of Partition is M∙n Mel∙Õs production of Mazhar TirmazÕs Panjabi playUmraan Langian Phabbaan Bhar (A Lifetime on Tiptoes). The world premiere will be at the Edinburgh Festival August 2007 and then tour nationally, with performances in Panjabi and English.
An English translation by Gurbakhsh and Ruth Garcha ofUmraan Langian Phabbaan Bharwill be published in summer 2007.
Community Workshops
Bilingual community workshops and presentations will take place across the country to collect oral history and written stories arising out of memories of Partition. The stories will be shared on a specially created website.
An anthology of storiesVoices of Partitionwill also be published.
Voices of Partition :
2005 July
October Oxford
The Development
An early reading results in M∙n Mel∙ taking on development ofUmraan Langian Phabbaan Bhar and working with Mazhar Tirmazi First public workshop and reading
2006 March LahoreWorkshop and performance at Panj Pani Festival, Pakistan August EdinburghCommunity workshops at Scottish Poetry Library September SmethwickCommunity Workshop, with Black Country Touring October WalthamstowPresentation for Waltham Forest Arts Council with actor Vincent Ebrahim November LondonPresentation at the House of Commons December EastLondon Communityworkshop at Lynk Reach, with actor Kulvinder Ghir
2007 January BirminghamBilingual workshop and reading with Sampad South Asian Arts Bristol Interviewson Sangam programme BBC, Colourful Radio London and the Anita Rani Show BBC Asian Network February JalandharPresentation at Conference Panjab, India. Lynk Reach Lahore Presentationat FM Radio Lahore Panjab, Pakistan Loughborough AssemblyPresentation at Limehurst High School with Kala Kahani Project:Children of Partition March EalingPresentation at The Five Rivers Literary Festival Rawalpindi Bilingualworkshop and reading at the National College of Arts Panjab, Pakistan April NewhamPresentation Multi-lingual Month with Lynk Reach, East London Southall CommunityPresentation Dominion Centre Loughborough CityLibrary performance by Students of Limehurst High School May EdinburghPresentation at Mushaira London Launchof publication ofA Lifetime on Tiptoes June LeicesterPresentation at Mehfil-e-Shairi London Previewperformance in Panjabi and English July SouthamptonPerformance at conference 60th Anniversary Reflections of the Independence of India and Pakistan (Southampton University) August EdinburghPerformances at the Festival followed by a national tour
“I discovered myself to be living under the shadow of my mother’s suffering and I can only heal myself through telling the ‘qissa’ of our Partition”
Image: Margaret Bourke-White, Time Life, 1947
an Phabbaan Bhar Tiptoes)
e playby Mazhar Tirmazi
oet, Madholal Hussain, famously said ÒOh mother, in of separation with?Ó
ief and using the metaphor of separation in our he same metaphorical tradition can be traced in
societies has no limits, mothers offer catharsis in the ell their loved ones. Panjabi mothers were destined to various forms dictated by our ancient culture.
a in 1947 increased that suffering and traumatised sons were killed in front of their eyes Ñ and vice heir sons. All this happened in the name of religion to and the main sufferers were Bengalis andPanjabis.
c that it became difficult for people to talk about. about the tragedy could also be put down to guilt nities were involved in the killing of innocent people their homes. The older generation today who are and faced displacement, are diminishing.
ration and separation from ÔdesÕ (mother land) has anding of the suffering of my traumatised mother. I ing under the shadow of my motherÕs suffering and ugh telling the ÔqissaÕ of our Partition.
y motherÕs old home and after visiting my ancestral dia) I wrote a poemSarhaal Qaziaan. I went back ge pilgrimage to tell my mother the story of my visit. vision of peace and harmony which broadened my anjab before the partition of India in 1947.
poem I have tried to recreate the actual scene by rrealism. My friends in Lahore appreciated the play hat the silence surrounding such a huge human igion should be broken, and justice to prevail the forces responsible for the atrocities.
is faced with the same sort of segregation of tween the faiths. The increased division among d in the animosities incited in the people of the 1947
ating itself and staging yet another drama on a tred which continues to divide people in the name ot just as a nostalgic reminder of the peace and active instrument of struggle for peace and .
Key Project Contacts
Dominic RaiDirector Flat P4, 50 Roman Road, London E2 0LT dominic@voicesof partition.com 07966 215090
Fahro Malik Manager/Producer fahro@voicesof partition.com 07958 550508
Caroline Goffin
Ajay Pamneja Website/Media coordinator ajay@voicesof partition.com 07956 617917
Voices of Support
Through presentations, community workshops and radio discussions, M∙n Mel∙ has already attracted the interest of a number of organisations and individuals who have promised their support to this project.
“Mazhar Tirmazi’s play A Lifetime on Tiptoes speaks with poetic eloquence. His character’s “interior” voice is a potent stimulus to an actor, who must transport an audience to the sometimes surreal world of the migrant. We share the anguish of separation from kin, the longing for a sense of the familiar, sounds, smells, tastes. We are perplexed by the “real” world. Madness beckons. Reading the play in English to an audience, nothing is lost in translation.” Vincent Ebrahim, The Kumars at No. 42
“The all-party group has recently lent its support to a new venture in the Panjabi community. The group hosted the launching in the House of Commons of the Mán Melá theatre group, which is developing a drama project to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Partition of the Panjab. I draw attention to the work of the director Dominic Rai and the writer Mazhar Tirmazi. When he came to the House, he gave us an exposition of the play and its development as a drama project; it was one of the most moving occurrences that I have attended in the House. The all-party group is urging support for the development of this project. Its aim is to perform at the Edinburgh Festival in August and tour nationally throughout the country in the Autumn.” Panjabis In Britain All-Party Parliamentary Group CHAIR JOHN MCDONNELL MP, DECEMBER 2006
Voices of Partition : Core Partners
Lynk Reach Lynk Reach is a dynamic charity, which works in the education, arts and community sectors. Its aim is to facilitate and manage a range of innovative projects and to bring those involved together, building bridges between groups and enhancing community partnerships through learning and creativity. www.lynkreach.co.uk
Desi Radio Desi Radio aims to encourage, promote and develop a sense of community among Panjabi people and to raise awareness of Panjabi language and culture through the provision of a community broadcasting service and access to facilities for media training, education, production and cultural events. www.desiradio.org.uk
Panjabis in Britain All-Party Parliamentary Group Contact: Mr John McDonnell MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
The Institute for Creative Excellence: Director Richard Dunning Contact: richard@creative-excellence.co.ukwww.creative-excellence.co.uk
www.asiangigs.com An established website for Asian entertainment events and related services and actively involved in the promotion of this project.
Voices of Partition Appeal Day STOP PRESS! Hosted by Patron John McDonnell MP 23 May 2007 at 7.30pm 7 Millbank, Westminster Palace, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
Voices of Partition 2007
Voices of Partition c/o Dominic Rai Flat P4 50 Roman Road London E2 0LT
han now. nity to w the gift offer cceed
£15K £2K £10K £3K £10K £15K
view in l also be r
I wish to become a Sponsor and enclose a cheque made payable to Voices of
Partition for £
Or for further information contact Dominic Rai on 07966 215090 or email sponsors@voicesofpartition.com
Name: Address:
Telephone: Email: Signature Date: Please return in the enclosed Voices of Partition envelope.
OrTransfers to the Voices of Partition bank account with the details: Sort code: 40-02-25Account Number: 11241354
Many thanks for your commitment to this project.
of Partition : Biographies
heatre Company novative and challenging theatre
n established British Asian theatre company having a proven record of ement, community involvement and active commitment to the initiation of nurturing of new talent and the development of new audiences. The company lies in its ability to produce work inspired by the Indian sub-shaped and influenced by contemporary Britain. M∙n Mel∙Õs work has in schools and further education. a.org.uk past projects:www.salidaa.org.uk tors:Tim Bennett-Goodman (Chair), Jarman Parmar, Harpreet Kaur, orman Goodman, Ajay Pamneja Caroline Goffin caroline@voicesofpartition.com
iDirector ramaturge with special interest in developing new writing that engages and community audiences. Dominic is from Birmingham. He founded the atre Company in London in 1993. He launched thePanjabi Mehfilin 1994 for Panjabis to share their poetry and celebrate their language. Panjabi nationally in 1999 with poets Amarjit Chandan and Mazhar Tirmazi. He also hows inspired by the writings of Mulk Raj Anand,Across the Black Waters uchable Century. From 2001-3 Dominic was artist-in-residence with Whitechapel, where he developed the Young Writers and Performers group. k as a writer includes the BBC Singers onThe Ballad of Bethnal Green ector: Chol Theatre and Bradford Festival on theGhost Lesson,Sheesh m Hussain Syed in London at the SunayÕha Festival of new work from 05. He taught the World Theatre course at Loughborough University in irectedFall Outby Roy Williams as a site-specific piece at Sir George ge, Walthamstow, East London.
aziWriter zi was born in 1950 Chichawatani, Sahiwal, West Panjab, and has lived in 1975. His collected poemsKaya Kagad, were published in Pakistan in 1998 ed by a collection in 2001. English translation of his poems are part of eÕs anthologyMother Tongues, and a collection of poems is due to be 008. He has worked as a journalist withAwaaz International, an Urdu-al daily published in London, andAkbar-E-Wattan, an Urdu daily also ondon. He is a regular contributor toWichaar.com,an internet-based y magazine. He is especially concerned with Panjabi language and literature ised conferences on the subject in Britain and Australia. His poetry is ersities in Panjab. Mazhar was given the Panjabi Cultural Award by Panjabis arty Parliamentary Group (APPG). The English translation ofUmraan baan Bhar: A Lifetime on Tiptoeswill be published summer 2007 and he Edinburgh Festival.
an education adviser who specialises in raising the achievement of Black mmunities. Previously she has successfully managed two Lynk Reach ry Funded projects:Now We Are Talking, promoting the linguistic and ge of the diverse communities in Newham, and she is currently finishing the ives, an Olympic Heritage project promoting the sporting traditions of verse communities. Fahro is an ex-teacher with 20 years of teaching he continues to work in schools as an artist collaboratively with Performing nts, including history teachers. She is always seeking ways of cross-cultural