New Year Eve Celebration with Shekhar Sen’s One Act Play ‘Kabir’

Shekhar Sen as Kabir
New Year’s Eve offered many options to celebrate the arrival of Year 2008 and most of the activities comes in the category of ‘Mindless Entertainment’. But one event stands out which took place at Kamani Auditorium on 31st December, 2007. It was a One Act Play ‘Kabir’ by Shekhar Sen, a talented actor / singer who has performed his solo acts including play on Vivekananda and Tulsidas other than Kabir numerous times in India and abroad.
Kabir was the illegitimate son of a Brahmin widow who had set him afloat on the Ganges to avoid being thrashed by society but a childless Muslim weaver saved his life and took care of him.
Kabir was treated as inferior by both Mulla and Pandit. But he never bothered about them and made mockery of them by saying to Mulla, “Is your God Deaf that you shout his name from the minar of masjid?” and to Pandit, “If God is everywhere, why do you indulge in Idol Worship?” He kept provoking all those who didn’t believe in loving fellow human beings and preferred to engaged in mindless rituals.
Shekhar Sen sang many songs of Kabir during the play and the impact of his mesmerizing voice and Kabir’s timeless devotional songs can’t be explained in words. A play like this must be watched or listened as the Audio CDs are also available.
Here is one popular kabir song :
Mo Ko Kaha Dhoonde Re Bande, Mein Toh Tere Paas Mein!
Na Mein Deval Na Mein Masjid, Na Kaba Kailash Mein!!
Na Toh Kono Kriya Karam Mein, Naahi Jog Birag Mein!
Khoji Hoye Toh Turat Miliho, Pal Bhar Ki Talash Mein!!
English Translation ( a little different ) :
Are You Looking For Me?
Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
You will not find me in the stupas, not in Indian shrine rooms,
nor in synogogues, nor in cathedrals:
not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding
around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but
When you really look for me, you will see me
you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.

The play depicts many funny and touching instances of Kabir’s life which are very relevant in today’s world but i would mention one stage of his life which is when he got married. After his arranged marriage, he came back to his village and found that his hut was burned down by those who were against him. But Kabir wasn’t much affected by this and told his wife to sit outside and cook some food. But his wife started crying saying why his father married her to such a person. After much insistence by Kabir, she told him that she loves someone else in his village. And Kabir immediately offered her to take her to her lover. For a while, she was shocked and surprised to hear this. But then they started their journey towards her village and in the midway, she started crying again and Kabir asked her what’s the problem now. She told him that she wants to live with him only as he is a nice man and her father must know what’s good for her.
I mentioned this instance because we read in newspapers stories mentioning that a lover threw acid on his girlfriend or shot her dead.
In the name of love, we believe in possessing the other person and don’t realize that love is all about giving.
Kabir was ready to send his wife to her lover so that she can be happy in life. Her happiness was more important for him than clinging to her and thinking of his own prestige and comfort.
We surely need more Kabirs in the world to set an example of love and peace!

Source Event : THEATRE : Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra presents “Kabir” One Act Play by Shekhar Sen at Kamani Auditorium - 31st December, 2007


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