Some fifty years ago when Mr J.M.Raina was District Magistrate of Allahabad, he used to encourage cultural activities, especially dramas with a progressive theme and mass appeal. If I remember rightly some stage shows were presented for the benefit of the village folk too.
I remember seeing the play ‘Savera’ staged by Rangshala, a drama organization whose key artistes Bipin Tandon, Raja Zutshi, Asha Brown are still there to testify to the glorious applause that this play received. It was also presented on the stage of the Palace Theatre and I had viewed it then. The play highlighted the evil of superstitions and stressed on the eradication of the same. It was in folk dialect—I think Bhojpuri. And Asha Brown was fantastic in delivering the dialogue in Bhojpuri. The scene showing a woman overpowered by an evil spirit was very, very frightening. The artiste enacting the role was behaving in a highly abnormal manner, her hair all open and fluttering like that of the imaginary witch. Such was the makeup as to make her appear like one of the three witches of Macbeth! Rajkumariji enacted that role.
I need hardly add that reports about the popularity of this play reached Pandit Nehru’s ears too. He invited Vimla Raina’s drama troupe ‘Rangshala’ to Delhi to stage shows there as well.The power of stage shows was recognized by Nehru. If such shows are presented in the Magh Mela for the benefit of the rural folks visiting Sangam for a dip, then they would certainly attract sizeable audience.
AIR Allahabad used to present Mela report daily in the past. On Mauni Amavasya day we should be having a radio running commentary too. In the past top commentators used to visit Allahabad to give running commentary on the bathing day. We hope that the tradition will be maintained this year as well.