A group of Catholic religious are spreading the message of peace and communal harmony through theatre at the ongoing Maha Kumbh in Allahabad.
Father Anand Mathew of the Indian Missionary Society (IMS), based in the neighbouring city of Varanasi, is leading a group of theatre artistes to spread awareness about health, religious tolerance and social harmony during the mega event, which comes after every 12 years.
Eight artistes belonging to Prerana Kala Manch, the theatre wing of Fr. Anand’s Vishwa Jyoti (Light of the World) Communication are performing street plays and stage plays on the major bathing days during this religious fair, which would culminate on March 10
The group had a series of performances on Jan. 26, 27 and 28 in the makeshift exhibition stall of the Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (UPSACS).
The artistes led by IMS Brother Praveen Joshi gave marathon performances spreading awareness on the need to give compassionate care to the HIV/AIDS patients.
Fr. Mathew and his team will be performing street and stage plays on social and religious harmony in collaboration with a local organization committed to maintaining unity and cultural diversity of all religious faiths.
The plays will also highlight the pollution in river Ganga as it is increasing since millions of people are expected to take a dip in the holy river during the fair.
“In the second half of the Kumbh mela, we will be presenting a multi-media stage show on the theme of the abuse of river Ganga and the abuse of women, highlighting the greed, selfishness and consumeristic attitude of man towards nature and women,” said Fr. Mathew.
Shankaracharyas (heads of the various centres of Hindu religion) have boycotted the Kumbh and some others already camping there have refused to take bath in the river.
This goes against the age old tradition of the ritual bath being led by the seers.
This year, various religious organizations spearheaded by the Shankaracharyas and other religious leaders have organized seminars on the theme of environmental protection and cleanliness of Ganga.
Sadhu Krishna, a native of Varanasi, who has been working in the United States for the past 14 years, is camping at the Kumbh mela and organizing seminars and workshops on reducing pollution in the river.
A total of 100 million people are expected to take part in the Maha Kumbh, out of which 1 million people are staying in Allahabad though out the fair, considered as the largest gathering of people in the world.