Tag Archives: concert for freedom

Creative Writing and Art competition

doc20131021170400_001On the occasion of Human Rights day, we celebrated the right to Freedom of Expression at Bluebells School International, with the students from their senior classes and the theatre group of Keshav Mahavidyalaya.

Khushboo Jain, a sociologist and researcher, spoke to the students about her work with kids at the railway stations in Delhi. Her interaction was followed by a performance by the Yuva Ekta facilitators group, which was centered around the freedom to express and be respected for who you are!

Aseem Trivedi, our second speaker for the event, who is an award winning cartoonist and part of the Cartoons against Corruption movement, spoke about free speech and the tendency of authority to oppress anything that goes against their agenda.

This was followed by an energetic performance by the theatre group of Keshav Mahvidyalaya, whose performance on honor killing and caste discrimination shook everyone up! Their lilting songs and powerful performance drove the students to understand the freedom of loving and being!

Varun Narain, eminent puppeteer and performer, was one of our judges for the creative writing and art competition, along with Aseem!

The judgement for both compeition was as follows:

ART- Winner- Vedika Aggarwal from Vasant Valley School
Runner Up- Sambhavi Thakur from Shri Ram School
Special Mention- Saurabh from Father Agnels School

WRITING- Tanya Rohatgi from Shri Ram School
Runner Up- Ridhima Wahi from Vasant Valley School
Special Mention- Aliza Khan from Vasant Valley School

The ‘Street’ That Leads To Freedom

Satyawati College

There is something very egalitarian about the ‘street’. Somehow the thin lines distinguishing status, caste, race, gender seem to get erased once everyone is on the street. It almost has a levelling tendency, such that each voice that emerges from the street will be heard in the same way as any other. It is this very equalizing nature of the ‘street’ which gave rise to the concept of ‘street theatre’ or what in India we call ‘Nukkad natak’.

It is interesting how the concept of street theatre is set apart from other kinds of theatre. There are no music halls or lavish auditoriums, no expensive tickets sold to the audience, no celebrity endorsements,  no heavy expensive instruments or props used. Street theatre is by everyone and for everyone. Through the use of voice techniques, catchy songs and dialogues, exaggerated expressions and a lot of music, street plays have a very effective educational role to play. When Teamwork collaborated with Yuva Ekta Foundation to organise an inter-collegiate street play competition, the idea was to reach out to the common man. The central theme of the competition was ‘human rights’ focussing on ‘freedom of expression’. The winner of the competition would be given an opportunity to perform in the “Concert for Freedom” to be held in February 2014 and would also be given grants to perform in public spaces throughout the city.


“If I had to talk about power, I would talk about you, the common man”. This dialogue of one of the actors of the street theatre society of Shri Ram College of Commerce struck me as one of the best ways to define ‘freedom of expression’. The inertia of the common man, his reluctance to speak out, was what these young boys and girls addressed very effectively. What clearly marked them out from the rest of the colleges was the extensive use of humour.  “If we say something seriously, then it appears preachy. However, if we can say something with a pinch of humour and give out a message too, then people remember it and think about it”, said the director of the play. While marking out their position as clear winners, the theatre group managed to win the hearts of many passersby and the judges.

When expression is curbed, democracy fails, but most importantly, humanity fails. It is the right of every human being to speak out against any social evil if they believe it to be an evil. This was the message given out by Keshav Mahavidyalaya as they energetically demonstrated the brutalities of the caste system and honour killing episodes through their play ‘Haq Hain’. While securing the second position they were highly praised by Judge Adil Hussain for the way they connected with the audience.  


The right to life is the primary unit on which a society rests. When that right is taken away, belief in any social institution dies. Shri Venkateshwara College’s theatre society raised issues of capital punishment and juvenile delinquency through their play and managed to get the third position. Their message was clear, “ everyone must have the right to choose, one cannot blindly follow another’s dictats; free will”.

The theatre society of Satyawati College, gave us a window into the gross inequality between the sexes, with a focus on gender discrimination and gender violence. Their play ended with the resurrection of Goddess Durga, a primeval feminine power that overpowers and crushes all forces of evil and greed.


When the youth comes out onto the streets to make a difference, their voices can be heard the loudest and the echoes can reach the furthest.

- Adrija Roychowdhury is a Masters student studying History from Delhi University. With a keen interest in theatre, adventure and human stories; she aspires to become a journalist in the future. She is currently, also  volunteering at the Foundation to write about different narratives of human motivation, social justice and human rights.

Sounds of Freedom, a Teamworks initiative, is a platform to gather Indian and International musicians, human rights activists and thousands of people to  join hands in their efforts to raise consciousness and encourage freedom of expression, dialogue and discussion towards inclusive social change; to take place next year in February.

This year as a build up to the concert, The Tehelka Foundation, partnering with Teamworks, has organised  theatre and music workshops with college societies from Delhi University, Ambedkar University and Jawaharlal Nehru University, to highlight issues of  freedom, human rights struggles and social causes. While we got the opportunity to bring in some young energy into the build up to the concert, the college societies got the opportunity to workshop with some well known personalities in theatre and music circuits, as well as share their work with audiences cutting across the aam janta to millions online as well as the Concert for Freedom audiences.

The culmination of the Youth Outreach in colleges through theatre, for the Concert For Freedom, organised by The Tehelka Foundation, took place on the 30th of October. Colleges competed at our nukkad naatak competition in Greater Kailash 2 in front of an audience of fellow performers and curious residents.


Hum Samaan Hain(Fly)

As part of the SOF music workshop with colleges, students worked on a song about equality and freedom. Hum Samaan Hain is their take on optimism, being pro active and making new beginnings!

After the first day of interacting with Taru Dalmia, Chayan and Ujwal and getting inspired by their work, groups worked with their facilitators on various themes under the umbrella of human rights. Some of the themes that emerged were corruption, gender discrimination and equality. On day two, some groups merged together and combined their work from the first day, and what emerged was this song

One of the most challenging things with this song was combining so many amazing ideas and singers together. The result was an attempt to give each singer and each instrumentalist the space to do what they’re best at.

Hum Samaan Hain:

Hogi subah iss raat ki
Manzil milegi ek din
Zindagi ka kya pata
Raahein hui anjaan si
Saari rasein hain usmein basi
Usmein hain sari pehchaan si
Kar liya hain kaafi intezaar
Ab karni hain nayi shuruwaat
Stars don’t hide tonight
Keep on shining high
Fly, I’ll fly so high
Hum samaan hain

Orange Sky

“Who are you? Who am I?

Aren’t we connected by the orange sky?”


Ten young students from various colleges of Delhi University, who came together during a music workshop organized by the Yuva Ekta Foundation and Teamwork unraveled a very basic human right through a beautiful song! Based on the theme of equality and breaking barriers, “Orange Sky” is a result of a two day music workshop with facilitators such as Chayan and Ujwal from Advaita, Taru Dalmia a.k.a Delhi Sultanate, and co facilitators Samson, Ritwik and Snigdha.

The workshop started with a generic introduction to human rights after which Taru shared some of his work as part of Word. Sound. Power.-his project centred around using music as a tool to explore social and political issues around the country. Ujwal and Chayan then worked with them song structuring, melody and incorporating elements into cohesive whole.

The groups then worked on songs through a democratic process, and what emerged is two intriguing songs- “Orange Sky” being one of them.

Orange Sky
Shatter the mirrors,
Mirrors that consume you
Shatter them, you’ll find
We become they
Me becomes you
Who are you, who am I
Aren’t we connected
To this orange sky.
Do nazm kalam karke chup na baithey
Gar paa-ba-jaula hain kadam tum rik na baithey
Aaj dard-e-hijra ko jad se mitaana hain
vaad-e-sabaa ki aah se vajood laana hain
Farq kya hain mujhmein tujhmein hum bata dengey
Dariya aaj phir lahoo ka yoon bahaa dengey
Na miley do gaz zamin na daphan ki mitti
Tere khatir aaj hi mitti jutaa lengey