Creative Contention from an Indian child labor rights’ group perspective
Here is an interesting form of creative nonviolent contention I came upon today, and it’s from an equally interesting website, to boot! (One which will no doubt antagonize the heavily-propagandized whom assume that their education on the subject is “all there is”; but will they actually investigate the ideas put out by these youth, is the question, or be right where they’re “supposed” to be: mobilized for the uncritical benefit of the Status Quo?!?)
So anyway, this excerpt from a “child labor rights'” group is entitled: A wise king’s justice – Children use traditional folk media to make local governments accountable.
“They did not merely want to meet officials in their offices and hand over petitions, which would just be thrown into the waste basket. They also did not want to go on the confrontation mode, as this would breed antagonism, so they decided to devise another scheme. Some of them had learned Yekshaghana (a traditional form of dance drama specific to Karnataka) and they decided to use this.
“They dressed up in Yekshaghana [traditional] costumes depicting a King and Queen and their court of Ministers and of course a court jester. They went from village to village to collect petitions from children and adults alike and the Ministers concerned would put them into a sack that each of them carried.
“The walkathon was to culminate in Kundapura Town at a large playground where all the Government Officials had been invited together with the general public. The highlight was the Yekshaghana.
“The ground was packed and the officials had seated themselves in the front row for the Yekshaghana. The King talked about justice and how well he had ruled over the land. The Queen talked about all the things she had done for the women and children and then they began to hold court. The drama dealt with the common problems in the village with a minister stepping forward to state his business. Petitions which were collected from the villagers would be read out, to which the court jester would make comments. The crowd enjoyed the event.
“The King would then ask the Minister who was responsible for the problems. The Minister would name an official. The King would summon him or her from the front rows of the audience. It was difficult for these officials to refuse. The audience by now cheered and repeated the call of the king. It being a play no one was sure how real all this was.
“The official came up on the stage and then he was asked to explain. At first they tried to pass it off with some irrelevant remark. To this the court jester would remind him of his obligation and recommend that the King ordered 20 lashings or “off with his head”. By this time the audience demanded a responsible reply and the official had to make a firm commitment. He was then pardoned and let off. By the end of the play all the officials had made some commitment and audience were witness.
“This event enabled the children to follow up on all these issues and several were addressed. (…)
“The children were able to maintain a good relationship with the officials. Subsequently the children decided to formalise this interaction with Government and the Makkala Panchayats (Children’s Panchayats) were born.”