Partha, age 27, was born in Aspiration and brought up in Auroville. His
parents are among the local Tamilians who joined Auroville during its
very first years.
Absorbing east and west
Growing up in Auroville implied assimilating a mixture of both Indian
and Western culture, and Partha absorbed it all..
From his very early years onwards, he felt strongly attracted by theatre
and played in a number of school plays and village theatres. Already in
the eighties, he played in a village theatre group called 'Revolutionary
Flowers' ('ProdchiPuccal' in Tamil), which participated in competitions
in Pondicherry at the time.. "And of course we won", he
says easily, "three times.." The scripts were written by a friend,
Srinivasan, who now still is active in the field of educational theatre
in collaboration with the Auroville Health Centre.
A new world
Several years ago, in 1999, Partha wrote and directed his first Auroville
play, 'A new world', with a group of youth from Auroville schools. This
performance was very well appreciated and everybody encouraged him to
carry on in this line. Encouraged by the success, the 'New World Theatre'
group was formed. It consists of around fifteen youth, mostly Aurovilians,
both genders, from the east and west.
In 2000 the 'New World Theatre' group performed another play, ''Harichandra,
a tale on Truth' in the Bharat Nivas Auditorium during the ten-day Youth
2000 programme for which many of the AV kids who were temporarily abroad,
returned home to the township. This was a real breakthrough. His troupe
at the time mainly consisted of students of Auroville's After School and
Last School, aged between some 14 and 20 years. While the play was written
and directed by Partha, the sets were by young Aurovilian artist Aaron,
music by Igor, lights by Jean, costumes by Uma, and co-directed and managed
by Joy. Duration 1 hour.
Integration between cultures
The auditorium was packed with a thoroughly mixed Tamilian/Western, very
responsive audience: never before did we have such an enthusiast, joyful,
finely detailed and integrated collaboration between the two cultures.
Many members in the audience felt touched and proud while seeing Auroville's
younger generation perform and function and mingle so well together, -
thereby producing a highly entertaining evening on the side..
The story is originally from the Mahabarata, with plenty of gold and silk
and kings and sages, and was re-written 'especially for Auroville' by
Partha.. It leads us through various aspects of Indian
life, with little touches of humor and drama, and lots of colour and zest,
displaying these touching idiosyncrasies of the culture around us which
we have come to appreciate so much, repeatedly evoking a smiling recognition
They also had us roar with laughter and dead silent with awe..
Seven deaths of Karna
Presently, preparations are undertaken for a next performance, 'Seven
deaths of Karna', which may come on stage in Bharat Nivas somewhere later
in 2001. Also this is based on a story of the Mahabharata, adapted to
the Auroville theatre world by Partha and his troupe.
Tamil New Year events
During the Tamil New Year celebrations (on April 14th), the group
takes every year care of a special event. Partha hopes that it will become
an Auroville tradition that during these occasions the various schools
and other groups in the bioregion will bring out their best in a day full
of colour, performances, fun, games and joy.
very interesting thing to note here is that the team spirit among the
members of Partha's troupe initiated an entirely different undertaking
as well. After the Harichandra performance, Partha tells us, "we
were looking for a way to stay together as a group, and at the same time
doing something useful. A theatre performance once a year maybe, but some
more activities in between! So we got the idea of keeping Auroville clean.
Especially on the roads one often finds plastic and other garbage, so
every week on Sunday some eight of us, collect it from the roads.. We're
having special 'Auroville clean' T-shirts, and after the work we enjoy
a snack together. It's fun! When you're in Auroville, come and join! "