Dreadful Reality

Anandabazar Patrika, 03-Dec-05
Biplab Kumar Ghosh

December 3, 2005

A scene of Istishadi
A scene of Istishadi

Sangram Guha has made us face another critical question through his latest play “Istishadi The Suicide Squad”. As experienced Biplab Kumar Ghosh.

Dreadful Reality

Al Quaida, Kashmir, army, love, killing and attack - all these make the next question more emphatic “Who?” The curiosity builds up from here only, and astonishment, too!

“Istishadi The Suicide Squad”. An awareness to revolt! A revolutionary pattern in rebellious form! A well thought out, well directed and well planned dramatisation by Sangram Guha once again. The lashing of truth severely falls on the myth of falsehood. The dreadfulness is truly unveiled! Right from the inception, this drama has created sensation amongst the people varying from masses to the political community. Defense Ministry is greatly stirred, too. Various political parties had raised their voices against the role of the then Ministry of Defense behind the sudden withdrawal of “Operation Leech II”, launched in 1998 against the terrorists' groups involved in illegal drugs and arms trafficking. Guha's drama has also raised the allegation of gunning down the surrendering terrorists involved in this, after being taken in into the surrender camp.
Even our eyes find it difficult to believe that inhuman spectacle when it is presented on some stage of Kolkata. In the crowd of armed soldiers,come forward the terrorists of Lashkar-e-Taiba, one by one, in order to surrender with an expectation of going back to the mainstream of the society. In that group, there is a young woman, too. But, what is this? Suddenly, being signaled by the Brigadier, the unarmed terrorists were shot down by shower of bullets fired from a guard's machinegun. But no! Being unable to bear this gross injustice, Subahdar Yousuf shots at that soldier. Though fifteen terrorists get killed, seven manage to escape.

That is the moment from where the real drama begins. The conflict between two different entities, Yusuf in uniform and Yusuf as a human being, begins. Religion, family, conscience and injustice these four issues keep coming back through various incidents.

On the other hand, the credibility of the drama increases its acceptability to the audience unbelievably when the lawyer Dona got introduced with Farah Anwar, the escaped terrorist from the surrender camp, over phone. It takes place at the residence of M.K. Hassan, a Professor of International Relations in Delhi University. Farah was given shelter there.

With further development of incidents, the characters keep vanishing by an “unseen” force. First of all, Farah gets arrested, secondly, Hassan's death by gunshot at his residence, thirdly, death of Dona due to “lungs' infection” within a few days of taking her away to the Tihar Jail. Fourth and finally, the admission of Subahdar Yusuf in to a mental asylum.

As the truth is that the pace of the drama has made the breathing of the audience heavier, it brings tears, too, in our eyes when Aladin, the kid brother of Dona, raises a terrible question before the conscious audience while putting the flower on the dead body. It seems that the eyes of the child wants to ask, will the next generation, too, have to just watch the procession of death in the same fashion?

The helpless confession of Dona haunts the audience even after the play comes to an end. Right after Hassan's death Dona is saying, “Papa, am I losing the battle? The world around me is getting shrunk.” What a heartrending expression at the final moments of the demise of democracy in a democratic country! All the actors like Sampa Sen, Samudra Guha, Ashok Bandopadhyay, Shankar Prasad, Sangram Guha, Debnath Chattopadhyay and Abhigyan have not only succeeded in portraying their characters but also made them very much real. At the end, this columnist feels that it would have been memorable if a faint track of the national anthem could be heard just before the fall of curtain, when Mahesh Srivastava, after resigning from the service in protest against injustice, signifying the audience as common people or may be something else, throws his frustration, anger and emotion towards them. Sangram, if possible, please give it a thought.

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