Posts Tagged ‘Radicalization’

The ultimate fork… and the point of No Return.

2 possible roads to travel on. One decision.

Will he pull that trigger?

That’s where Y begins – and that’s where Y ends. With a question. A really BIG Question.

Y Gripsyouthplay

When it begins you are thrown into a maelstrom of emotions, of memories, of ideologies and ideas. How can anyone get to this point? Specially an innocent, ordinary young adult; one who is the butt of jokes in every context because of his timidity, his aversion to confrontation, his shyness….

Exploring the process of radicalization is a tricky thing. When does it start? How does it begin? Who is responsible? What are the tell-tale signs? What’s the tipping point?

And the real biggie – What can we do about it?

Last night I returned home after experiencing Y. Not watching — experiencing. I have a dislike to violence of any kind and find it difficult to stomach even the thought of it. Even when I know it’s ‘pretend’. And there are several key points in several scenes where the dialogues remind you that it’s ‘just a play’. But is it? Reflecting as it does real life and the very real danger many young people find themselves in of going down that path – it makes me uncomfortable.

And I’m glad it makes me squirm – and I hope it makes everyone in the world feel disturbed, distressed and haunted by the question – “What can I do about it?”

Y explores the process of radicalization and achieves the challenging task of maintaining a balance between the varied perspectives – The intelligentsia that discuss concepts of freedom of thought & expression and expound on the need for liberalism. The zealous radical already sucked into the quagmire of fanaticism. The ‘bystander’ who apparently sees nothing, does nothing, is not involved and is not responsible…

It’s scary as it moves along [though some scenes could be a bit briefer and crisper]. As you recognize every subtle and not so subtle strategy used to the lull the senses, to blunt the capacity for critical reasoning, to chisel away at the ‘neutral’ beliefs of the unsuspecting target; pandering to his ego and crafting a false sense of power and confidence, you recognize that the target has become an accomplice – first by mere presence, then by subterfuge, and finally through a combination of false promises for the afterlife and coercion.

As the play ends, Palu transformed into Anjaney stands at a fork. Will he pull the trigger that will be, literally, his baptism by fire and send him irrevocably down the path of an extremist, a fanatic, a terrorist?

Does he still have a choice? Does he recognize that he does still have a choice?

Well to find that out, go experience the play. Get uncomfortable. Stay uncomfortable. And ask yourself the Big Question – What can I do about it?

 Note: Do the countless young (and not so young) people out there recognize that there are choices and decisions we have been making every step of the way that affect us and those around us? My primary interest is in the development of young children and the environments we create in which this development takes place.

The threat of extremism surrounds us; our capability to accommodate for individual and cultural differences takes a beating at every turn. I keep thinking of a caution, a hope I share with many different Grannies in The Granny Cloud. Though we began with the key goal of helping children learn a language, there are other goals that are just as important. [I think even more important]. To enable the capacity to ask questions, to search for related information, to arrive at rational, considered decisions.

Interactions between the children and the Grannies naturally lend themselves to an exploration of different lifestyles, of beliefs, of cultural differences among other things. Much of this is fun; but beneath that sharing lie the seeds of genuine mutual acceptance and respect. It’s what gives me hope for the future. It’s what makes me glad that it ends with a ray of hope. Thanks to the team and Maharashtra Cultural Centre, [not to mention the superb collaborative writing with Lutz Hubner] for another thought provoking performance. Thanks Shrirang Godbole, Vibhavari  Dixit Deshpande and the entire team.

We have a choice. Let’s exercise it.


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