India West reported on two plays presented by The Indic Foundation on March 31, 2013. The articles discribes the plays and the vision of expanding the Hindu Studies curriculum at Claremont Lincoln University.
Co-presented by the Indic Foundation and CLU, the March 31 event featured two plays written and directed by Anand Rao Lingayat, both aimed at sharing stories of Hindu and Indian life.
Each play running about 45 minutes, the productions delved into religious conflict and adultery.
The first play – “Grandma’s Court” – was adapted from an original story penned by Kumud Parikh and demonstrated the challenges of Hindus and Muslims finding harmony. A young college student, Samira, arrives at her friend Sanjay’s house to drop off his notebook. When Samira arrives, she meets Sanjay’s grandmother. During their ensuing conversation, it was revealed Samira is studying to be a doctor, romantically interested in Sanjay, and a Muslim. The Hindu grandmother over-dramatizes her reaction before making her point that one cannot tell the difference between Hindu blood or Muslim blood.
Blessing the Samira’s romance with Sanjay, news quickly spread across the village but was not welcomed with open arms. One of Samira’s relatives expressed his disdain of the budding Hindu-Muslim love story by threatening to take the grandmother’s life. However, he was stopped when Samira’s own father arrived and announced his support of his daughter’s love.
“Grandma’s Court” starred Sonal Shah as the grandmother, Puja Bhakta as Samira, Axay Shah as the village’s Sikh mayor, Gurbax Rai Marwah as Samira’s father, and Mahesh Jain as the non-supportive family member.
The second play – “Life Compromised” – forayed into how a family was torn apart by adultery. One night, a father and mother awaited their daughter, who was out late, to come home. Not pleased with her being out past midnight, the father was ready to admonish his daughter. When she finally arrived, both daughter and father indeed argued, with tensions escalating when the daughter’s mother was drawn away to attend to an emergency.
During the argument, the father’s adulterous actions were revealed. Matters became worse when the father’s son arrived, with both children expressing their disdain of their father’s actions. Both children expressed the shame and embarrassment they experience whenever they attend community events, as their father’s adulterous activities became public knowledge amongst other Indian families.
Raj Mantha starred in “Life Compromised” as the father and opposite Sonal Shah as the mother. Puja Bhakta portrayed the daughter and Nirav Bhakta starred as the son.
In between both plays was an Indian classical dance – an ‘Ode to Shiva’ – presented by the Arpana Dance Company and under the direction of Ramya Harishankar.
Rupesh Kotecha provided the background music for both plays.
Prior to the actors taking the stage, Dr. Deepak Shimkhada welcomed everyone to the Performing Arts Center and provided some perspective of the Indic Foundation’s vision.
Speaking on behalf of CLU, Claremont Lincoln University president Dr. Jerry Campbell briefly discussed the school’s plans to expand its Hindu Studies curriculum to complement the other religions studied at the university.
Dr. Shukavak Dasa of the Riverside Lakshmi-Narayan Temple performed the invocation.
A non-profit founded in 2001, the Indic Foundation aims, according to its mission statement, “to promote Indic art, culture, philosophy and religions through education.”
According to CLU executive vice president and provost Philip Clayton, the university is aiming to open the College of Hindu Dharma Studies. Organizers stated that proceeds from the two plays presented in Claremont would benefit the Hindu Studies program at CLU.
Lingayat is an Indian American writer and novelist who is currently translating 151 verses of the Mahabharata.
Aroma Grill and Banquet provided food at the event.