Play: Doora Nee Saavu Moodindi, 1990
Written by: M. Nagabhushana Sarma
Directed by: Ramana, Adarsh Yuva Bharati group
Social structures based on hierarchy, inequality, and exploitation have been integral to land relations in rural India. The condition of indigenous communities is precarious — land and forest produce remain their main source of livelihood but the availability of land is restricted by the government-controlled forest reservation on the one hand and non-tribal encroachment on the other. In the context of Andhra Pradesh, ‘Doora Nee Saavu Moodindi’, a Telugu play written by M. Nagabhushana Sarma and first directed by Ramana describes how the looting of land, superstition and economic exploitation intersect at the local level. The play was produced by the Adarsh Yuva Bharati group and was performed at the South Zone Theatre Festival held in Pondicherry in 1990.
In the play an urban trickster becomes the landowner of a village, deceiving people by making them believe that he has been sent by the Mother Goddess to rule. When the people learn about this exploitation, they chase him out of the village with the help of a local businessman. While the trickster escapes, he is haunted by his past deeds; hunted in his subconscious by those whom he had deceived and exploited. Composed using tribal and folk idioms of performance, the play is narrated by a sutradhar, who represents the indigenous community.
‘Doora Nee Saavu Moodindi’ is a commentary on the newly emerged peasant class in the post-1980s as a result of the Green Revolution with a new emerging economy in Telangana and Rayalaseema. Despite the adoption of a large number of laws, including the Andhra Pradesh Land Reforms (Ceiling and Agricultural) Act, 1973, land reforms were never adequately implemented in Andhra Pradesh and as a result, in the 1990s, the state witnessed a rise of Maoist insurgency in the region. “In coastal Andhra, there was intense caste conflict between the rich peasant class and that of landless agricultural workers belonging to Dalits during 1985 and 1991 (N. Prasad, “Agrarian Class and Caste Relations in ‘United’ Andhra Pradesh, 1956-2016”, EPW vol.50 no.16, 2015, 81).” The play suggests that an organized force can stop the exploitation referring to the armed struggle that was ongoing in Andhra Pradesh given its long history of conflicts over ownership and land reforms.Play- Doora Nee Saavu Moodindi, 1990
Source :Brochure, ‘Dora Nee Saavu Moodindi’, January 15, 1990. Image Courtesy – Anand Gupt Collection/ Alkazi Theatre Archives