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Then & Now
A day in Ashram

Swaarajya (Rule of the Self) 15th August 2005

Patriotic fervour was seen at its best when the students of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning enacted a drama titled Swaarajya, which conveyed the theme that Bharat would attain its true independence (Swaraajya) only when people eschewed the six evil qualities, which had actually imprisoned them and damaged the moral fabric of Bharat.

The backdrop of the drama depicted the map of India bound by iron manacles, unable to escape from the clutches of the British rule. But at the end of the drama the iron chains are snapped, which meant that people have really attained Swaarajya under Bhagawan's loving guidance, having won over the evil qualities of Kama (desire), Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed), Mada (pride), Moha (delusion) and Matsarya (jealousy). The drama was divided into different scenes. The first part consisted of scenes portraying the pre-independence era and the second, the post-independence era.

The drama began with a dance sequence. Then an old man appears on the scene and talks highly of the glorious past of Bharat addressing Bharat Matha (Mother India), and decrying the present state of affairs.

In the next scene, the audience is transported to the pre-independence time. Portrayal of Alluri Sitaramaraju, the freedom fighter from Andhra Pradesh takes the centre stage. He had the support of local tribals and opposed the British rule with all his might. He was killed in the struggle, but not before he proclaimed that every drop of his blood would give rise to many more such Alluri Sitaramarajus to fight for the country's freedom.

Another scene depicts illustrious freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Sardar Vallabhai Patel. They discuss as to how to fight the British and achieve freedom. An armed struggle by the Bharatiyas would be no match to the British might. Mahatma Gandhi says an eye for an eye would only make the world blind. So, they decide to wage a non-violent struggle through the policy of non-violence. They decide to boycott all that was run by the British - to stop working for British administration and their factories.

In Bihar, at a place called Chowri Chowra, 22 British policemen are gruesomely killed by the armed extremists. This upset Gandhiji and made him rethink on the policy of non-cooperation. He even felt repentant since he was spearheading the freedom movement. But others did not subscribe to his view. Then Gandhiji resorts to continuous fasting, which made everybody relent and accept his viewpoint.

Even the physically challenged wanted to participate in the freedom struggle. A blind boy was repeatedly asking his father about his wish to participate in the freedom movement. His father was trying to make him understand his physical condition. But the boy was resolved in his stand.

A father with his son goes to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and offers his eldest son's earnings. He is even prepared to sell his lands for the cause of freedom struggle. But Netaji is unmoved and wants his son to participate in the freedom struggle. Thus illustrates the saying, "Men are more valuable than all the wealth of the world."

The next scene shows Bhagat Singh, Jatinda and a few others in jail fasting unto death to express their solidarity against the British rule. When one of them asks for a glass of water, he is offered a pot of milk and accepting it would amount to breaking the fast. All of them are in the throes of thirst. So, in that condition, the prisoner is driven to accept the milk, but the others vehemently dissuade him. They went without food and water for a number of days, and finally Jatinda dies of starvation. All these incidents showed the valiant sacrifices made by the freedom fighters.

The next scene shows India achieving freedom after all the struggle. This is symbolically represented by the Indian Tricolour fluttering in the background. The famous speech of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's Tryst with Destiny is played in the background.

The cameraman and director who had successfully filmed the pre-independence period and won a lot of accolades for their commendable effort are asked to film the post-independence period too. Now the scene shifts to the post-independence period. The cameraman and the director are inspired to capture the moments of the post-independence era - the achievements of Bharat after 58 years of independence. It is for this purpose that they visit a village in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh.

A farmer in the village takes them round the village. They see the acute drought conditions prevailing in the place. But still he offers his hospitality and feeds the guests. At this time, the son of the farmer comes to him asking for food. But the farmer sends him to his mother. The boy sheepishly reveals that there is no food with his mother. The cameraman and director are moved by the pathetical condition of the farmer and his large-heartedness in feeding the guests in spite of his poverty. It is at this moment that the old man makes his reappearance. His character is revealed to the audience as the spirit of Bharat. He says that there is rampant corruption, rank materialism and religious fanaticism in Bharat. Only when people give up the six evil qualities, can Bharat achieve Swaarajya. Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has come to show mankind the path and lead man to his goal. At the end, National Anthem was sung by all the participants. The audience too rose and sung in unison the National Anthem of Bharat.

Thus came to a close a fine portrayal of the Independence struggle of Bharat. Histrionic skills of the students came to the fore in this drama. In all departments of stage acting, the drama was a tremendous success.

All the participants converged to offer their obeisance to Bhagawan. Swami graciously posed for group photographs. The participants neatly arranged themselves in small groups for the coveted occasion. The programme came to a close with Arati to Bhagawan.