Major Themes in ‘Procession’

The play had multiple themes but no story element or plot as such. The play depicted the afflicting influences on the post independent-India communal riots, conflict between political parties, oppressor and oppressed, impact of partition, unemployability etc. These were major themes of the play. Badal Sarkar poignantly highlighted all contemporary burning sensitive issues like strikes, loss of spirituality, increased greed for material aspects, down fall of families, poverty, and many more such problems. The play, however, ends with an optimistic note.

The play Procession is deeply rooted in socio political anarchy dissent and its protest to the contemporary trends. The play began with the Chorus- five men – One, Two, Three, Four, Five and the Six – girl on stage talking about the murder, assassination, kidnapping, and disappearance. When the play starts, we can observe the conversation of the Chorus about power (current). ‘One’ speaks to ‘two’ about power cut. They discussed about the load-shedding. Everyday darkness engulfs the area. ‘Five’ warned others to guard their pockets. The chorus hear a piercing death scream. Here Chorus pointed out about the
screaming. They conversed with each other about murder. The search for a ‘torch’.

One: Does anybody have a torch? A torch?
Two: who would carry a torch in the city?

The play showed that there was a young boy called Khoka, went on being killed every day on the roads and there was an old man who gets lost his way. Michhil of allsorts- protest for revolutions, social-spiritual procession, festive procession, funeral
procession, political procession, flood relief procession, military procession, unemployability procession, operation procession, unemployability procession etc. Both the Khoka and the old man are in search of the real home. They tried to search their home but failed to find the road. The young man in search of his home following the procession helplessly in the expectation of getting his own home. Nobody knew anything about their search. They were simply walking on and walking on. They’re following all sorts of processions fruitlessly, hoping that particular procession will lead them to the real home. Khoka was lost, killed assassinated, kidnapped. He tried hard to search his home. He thought that he would find the road leading to his new home but again returned at the same place with frustration. Khoka represents all those who were lost, killed similar to the young kids of Bengali parents during the period of riots. Khokamet the Old Man who himself had lost his way trying to search for his home seeking the true procession with the hope because he believed, “if you’re lost you can get search if you can search then you can find young Khoka believes on the old Man’s opinion and tries to search for the new home.

The play rarely focussed on the urban people. It was very well accepted by poor villagers. The play was performed at various places. Procession is very popular and significant for its projections of real image of processions. It closely connects to the audience because the play involves the spectators actively in the performance itself.

The play Procession ends with the performers holding hands of each other, inviting spectators to join the procession and hoping for the better future in the gloomy present. The play connects audience emotionally and offers hopes for the better future. Badal Sircar never advertised or promoted his plays. Satabdi was founded in 1967, most of the plays’ performances were performed under Sircar’s guidance as director but unfortunately his plays are still generally ignored by the Theatre intellectuals.

The major themes like suicide, execution, the dead or disappeared, frequently appearing and explaining the difficulties in living, has accurately captured by the dramatist.

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