New Delhi | Actor, composer, singer and theatre person Shekhar Sen brought alive the life and works of Swami Vivekananda on stage here in a mono act play, which he says he had performed a total of 261 times earlier.
The musical play in Hindi titled ‘Vivekananda’ was staged here late last evening by Sen, who is also the chairperson of Sangeet Natak Akademi and a Padma Shri recipient.
Beginning with Vivekanda’s childhood, the play portrays how the mischievous but rational Narendranath Dutta met Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, and underwent a transformation under his mentorship and later took the name ‘Swami Vivekananda’.
Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha who was in the audience said, As Indians we belong to the most tolerant, pluralistic, diverse culture in the world and there are many great people that have lived in this country of ours and Vivekananda Ji is one example and he has spoken on the message of tolerance.
It is wonderful to have such great examples in front of us. With both singing and acting, Sen brought alive stories of Vivekananda’s childhood, the impact of the Brahma Samaj, the meeting with Ramakrishna Paramhansa among others. Sen had written as well as directed the 96 minute play on the sage whose birth anniversary is celebrated as national youth day on January 12.
Vivekananda’s journey from India to Chicago and his unforgettable speech there, which brought India and Hinduism into limelight was also beautifully executed.
Opening his speech with Sisters and Brothers of America, Vivekananda had spoken for 12 days while representing India and Hinduism in Chicago at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1893 which lasted for 17 days. Sen, who became the Chairman Sangeet Natak Akademi this year reiterated his stance on the much debated issue of tolerance and ‘award wapsi’ campaign.
Sen, who has to his credit over 200 musical albums has to his credit other monologue plays such as ‘Tulsi’, ‘Kabeer’, ‘Sahab’ and ‘Soordas’. Tolerance, indeed exists in our country. Without it the world and especially our country can’t progress. It depends on our mentality as to how we perceive things, he said after the performance.
The actor was speaking with reference to a campaign where 40 writers and artists had returned their state awards to protest against rising intolerance. On the issue of returning of awards by people from creative areas I believe that everyone has the right to protest.
For instance, I have written these mono plays which is my way to protest against the common forms of plays as I found people weren’t doing plays which I wanted to watch. You can either get an award or lose it but can’t return it. Can you return the respect which you received from your mother? The way of protesting is wrong.
An artist is incomplete if he fails to protest but his method of protest must be fair, he said. Meanwhile the audience gave a standing ovation to Sen after his performance.
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