The Optimist Citizen

Meet the man who is communicating through Theatre to create Social Awareness

Story of Fahad Khan and his “ANTRAAL : A Theatre for change”

Social evils and atrocities have always stirred the conscience of concerned and spirited citizens nationwide. With that spirit, the outrageous minds then put their reformative thoughts into actions. There are numerous approaches- Some choose activism, protest rallies and presentations; some take up writing poems, prose as well as authoring and publishing books or some procreate organizations and work for constructive solutions.

Here, meet an ‘artistic’ person who chose ‘theatre’ as a medium to curb social evils.

Born and brought up in places like Chambal, Bundelkhand and other parts of Uttar Pradesh, Fahad Khan has witnessed social evils and crime since childhood. After the events of 1992, his victimized family had to shift to Mumbai. A few years later, they returned to Urai in Jhansi, which is a small underdeveloped city with minimal resources for education. Somehow after completing his schooling, Fahad joined ‘Indian People’s Theatre Association’ where he learnt theatre. This was his first exposure to a genre which eventually became his passion. His growing interest towards working for social reforms made him pursue his graduation in Social Work from IGNOU.

Fahad performing at a theatre show
Fahad performing at a theatre show

The turning point in his life came when he joined National Association of Blind (NAB) as a volunteer. At NAB, he experienced a wave of inspiration when he saw immense enthusiasm in Blind women for education and art. “It was a delight to see blind women operating computers and excelling in every field”, says Fahad. His wish of enhancing their acting skills made him start theatre classes for them where he polished their rhythmical body movements and artistic expressions. He and his team performed various plays on issues like ‘education of blind girls’ in Gurgaon and Delhi. One of their recent performances at Indian Habitat Centre in Delhi was about the kind of relationships and emotional attachments Blind women have in their life. Fahad is presently appointed as a resource person at NAB. As days passed, his inclination for theatre elevated which drove him to conduct theatre workshops in various schools and colleges.

‘Art’ was his passion and ‘social welfare’ was his vision. The amalgamation of both gave birth to ‘ANTRAAL’ –  a ‘Theatre for change’, which stands apart from the other theatre groups as it provides a space for the youth of today to think and act for bringing a social change. Their work primarily concentrates on community development principles.

“We are basically a group of youth who generally meet on weekends, have long discussions about various current social issues, write a script accordingly and then enact it at various places. Our objective is to influence the society to bring a CHANGE at a bigger scale”, says Fahad, director of Antraal.

Actified in 2007, the team of Antraal has performed various plays including “Mausam ko na jaane kya ho gaya” which was based on migration of Indian farmers to urban areas and “Jis Lahore nai dekhiya wo janme nahi” which focused on Hindu Muslim differences. They have performance in many cities inclusive of Delhi, Bangalore and Khandwa. One of their upcoming plays “Future Bazaar” -written by Akbar and Azam, co-founders of Antraal, highlights an ironical situation where we will find that all the basic amenities like air and water, will be sold.

Bringing social welfare by highlighting and focusing such issues is Antraal’s major objective. Such rare yet creative and innovative vigor of using art forms for constructive change have the potential to influence the mass and revolutionize their minds for social good.

Edited by : Tuhin Kumar Sen  | Compiled By : Nikhil Sharma

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