A musical homage to rape victim on New Year’s eve


Rabbi Shergill and Madan Gopal join others to raise women issues

Protests pushed out parties this New Year's eve, with more than 1,000 students and teachers from JNU leading a march to the Munirka bus stop, from where the 23-year-old paramedic student and her friend had boarded a chartered bus on December 16.

The woman was tortured and gangraped by six men inside the bus as it was driven around on South Delhi roads.

The march ended with a musical homage to the gangrape victim at the Munirka DDA grounds. Musicians including Rabbi Shergill and Madan Gopal and theatreperson Maya Krishna Rao, members of Delhi-based progressive musical group Parcham, Asmita Theatre, Pandies Theatre and Danish Hussain and Mehmood Farooqui paid a tribute to the woman, who was cremated in Delhi on Sunday.

"The mood is sombre in the city. We wanted to put things in some context around the New Year's eve," Shergill said. He performed a song titled Aadhi Kranti (Half Revolution), the lyrics of which went Jaanta hoon, mangta hai tere ko aasuon ka hisaab, beshumaar hain sawal, and other poetry by Bulleh Shah.

"The idea was not about performance. It was about solidarity. Personally, it is figuring out what this controversy means and entails. It is also (means) climbing out of a hole that I feel I am in because of the current situation," Shergill said.

Delhi-based theatreperson Neel Chaudhari, who was marching with the crowd, said, "It was a senseless thing that happened and I am here in solidarity. Everybody who is here today has given up their plans to celebrate and want to support the cause of women."

The evening began with members of the Pandies Theatre, who staged a play titled Cleansing. This was followed by a dastangoi performance titled Dastaan-e-Sedition. The ancient art of storytelling, which once entertained the Mughal rulers of Delhi, found an audience in the students who heard their 'dastangos' in rapt attention.

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