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The Mahatma and the Poetess

art and culture Updated: May 07, 2010 21:11 IST
Shalini Singh
Shalini Singh
Hindustan Times
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Reserve Saturday evening to brush up your history — not a boring classroom lesson but a reading of old letters exchanged between two national icons — Mahatma Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu.

Stepping into the Mahatma and the poetess’s shoes are theatre veteran Tom Alter and dancer-activist Mrinalini Sarabhai respectively. The duo has collected all the letters exchanged between them between 1914 to 1948, selected 35 and have staged over 25 readings over the last four years.

But don’t expect an enactment of Gandhi, says Alter. “I don’t play Gandhi and Mrinaliniji doesn’t act like Naidu. We just read out the letters and add our personal observations to them.”

The work has been taken a step further with a show at Noida’s Genesis Global School this evening that involves schoolchildren from classes three to eight, who have expressed their idea of freedom in words and colours. “They’ve also memorised Nehru’s Tryst With Destiny speech and his favourite poem by Robert Frost, Miles To Go Before I Sleep. They may not know much about Naidu but with something like this, they’ll Google her at the least,” he says.

Another interesting connect: Mrinalini got her name from the Nightingale’s sister.

Entry free. 6:30 p.m. May 8, Genesis Global School, A-12, Sector-132, Noida.