Shifa highlights issues related to HIV discrimination
By Sonia Sarkar
Her grandmother silently mourns her daughter’s death “Little had I thought, I would be living in my daughter’s house and being mother to her child who cannot even attend regular college because of stigma and discrimination associated with HIV,” says the frail mother.
The play, enacted to mark the World AIDS Day, captured the despair and discrimination faced by people living with HIV-AIDS through the powerful medium of theatre. Each scene etched out a painful and hard hitting glimpse of people who are suffering from stigma associated with HIV-AIDS.
Supported by UNICEF and National Aids Control Organisation (NACO), Shifa was directed and scripted by Ms Tripurari Sharma, Associate Professor at National School of Drama, New Delhi.
The screenplay of Shifa has been inspired from in-depth research and interviews with positive people and their families, conducted by Sharma for over one-and a half year. The highlight of the play was the message of hope projected through the stories of endurance and survival of its woman characters.
"The challenge for me was to realistically bring out the desperation of a pregnant widow who was being marginalised due to her positive status. I had to live the stark loneliness of a pregnant woman facing death, tormented by the thought that she may have transmitted the infection to her unborn child,” says Kaur.
National Award Winner for Young Theatre Artist for 2010, Teekam Joshi, plays the role of a young man who has just been diagnosed as a HIV positive person. Joshi brings forth the struggle of a character who knows that death is not far away and now seeks to appreciate every moment of his life.
A jam packed audience appreciated the performance of the actors and lauded the organisers for bringing such a sensitive issue into the open.
“After watching this play, my attitude towards HIV positive people has definitely changed.” said Anita Verma, one of the persons attending the play. “I will spread the message among my friends that HIV positive persons have the same right to love and respect as any normal being,”