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Posted at: Jul 10, 2017, 1:09 AM; last updated: Jul 10, 2017, 1:09 AM (IST)

‘Khoya Bachpan’ depicts pain of conflict-hit Valley kids

‘Khoya Bachpan’ depicts pain of conflict-hit Valley kids
Artistes enact the play, ‘Khoya Bachpan’, at Abhinav Theatre in Jammu on Sunday. Tribune Photo

Sumit Hakhoo

Tribune News Service

Jammu, July 9

While separatists in Kashmir have romanticised stone-throwers without bothering about its devastating effect on children, a play woven around a true story has tried to highlight the life of stone-throwers, going through emotional conflict who meets a Kashmiri Pandit boy born in exile, then a conservation and resultant change of heart.

The play titled “Khoya Bachpan” by theatre group “Vomedh Rangmanch” depicts the pain of children, both Hindus and Muslims, due to continued unrest in the Valley and reflection of the ‘imposed mindset’ on them, caught in the web of radicalisation and approach of the Pandit children living in forced exile to convince Altaf, a stone-thrower, of the futility of ruining childhood into the unending political quagmire.

Powerful performances on the lost childhood by young artistes enthralled the audience at the jam-packed Abhinav Theatre.

Story begins with Altaf, a young Muslim child, coming to Jammu for his treatment along with his father Muzaffar. They stay at the house of their family friend, a Kashmiri Pandit whose daughter’s wedding is in progress.

Altaf has never seen life outside Valley. He feels that is what the norm is. But then he meets the Pandit children, brought up during exile and camps of Jammu, interacts with them and realises that there is much more to life than hatred. He questions himself — is he willingly doing everything which has emotionally ruined him. Later, after spending a few more days, he returns to the Valley as a changed person and stops taking part in protests.

“It’s based on a true story. An introspective and reflective story of how parents think it is their prerogative to push innocent children into their disputes and conflicts,” said Rakesh Roshan Bhat, writer of the play.

According to director of the play, Rohit Bhat, the theatre group, Vomedh Rangmanch, does not endorse any particular political ideology or thought.

“We are just a group of conscientious and passionate artistes trying to evoke positivity, self-introspection and integrity through our plays,” said Bhat, who had directed another play, ‘Ek Aur Birbal’, depicting resistance of Pandits against the cruel Pathan rule.

Meanwhile, chief guest Ajay Bharti, MLC, said: "The first and most-affected victims of any conflict are children. Whether the conflict is inside the house or outside, children get affected. Ironically, they get embroiled into the conflict without knowing about its impact on the psyche."

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