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It is not just a play

A play being staged today, will throw light on the street vendors’ plight.

entertainment Updated: Aug 30, 2010 00:59 IST
Kinni Chowdhry
Kinni Chowdhry
Hindustan Times

Chote chote shehron se, khali bore dopeharon se, hum to jhola uthake chale, Raidi lagane aaye hum, khabrein dene aaye hum, har nukkad par hum hi milen. (We have set out with our bags, left behind those small towns and boring monotonous days to work in the city. With our carts we have arrived, to give you news, you would find us at every nook and corner). These are the lines from a street play called Jeevika.

Directed by Arvind Gaur of Delhi-based The Asmita Theatre Group, the play revolves around the plight of Delhi’s street vendors. “There are 10 million street vendors in India. They provide the magical allure, the sights, the smells and the sounds,” says Gaur. “Today in the name of development, we are throwing them out. It’s sad to see that after 63 years of Independence, there are no proper rules or regulations for them.”

Spreading this strong message, the troupe has already performed in 10 colleges and various other venues in Delhi, such as Dilli Haat and India Habitat Centre.

The theatre world apart, the problems of street vendors are real. There are around 3,50,000 of them in Delhi. In June this year, National Association of Street Vendors of India slammed the Municipal Council of Delhi for its “threat” to evict roadside hawkers ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in the city and said it will continue the “fight for rights”.

“I’m in this occupation for 30 years. This is my livelihood and now they (authorities) ask us to leave it,” says street vendor Rambir in Janpath.

This street play by Gaur can hopefully helps us in a better understanding of the human dimensions of this segment of Delhi’s population. The troupe will perform today at Dilli Haat, 5 pm.

First Published: Aug 29, 2010 16:45 IST