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Ahimsa: The End of Violence
How does one tell the story of violence? How far back in the chain of events should we go to catch it at its source? And how does it end? We will follow this drama as it unfolds in plain view on the street and in battle with guns and swords. But we will also follow violence to some of its lesser known hideouts, spying on it in the palace halls of an ancient demon-king, creeping up on it as stealthily as the thief it has possessed, unmasking it where it impersonates its peaceful rivals, and startling it in the fiery heart of a woman madly in love. Join us as we find out why some great men and women succumbed to violence, why others renounced it, and how—if at all—this thorny tale ends.
We live in a violent society. A society that grows more and more violent each and every minute of each and every day. History tells us that we have had periods of relative peace. It also informs us that the emotions of violence are not restricted to one region of the world or one kind of peoples. It tells us that all living beings have faced emotions that often overwhelm us and cause us to become violent.
Kalapriya artists have researched many stories from scripture and literature. We will first bring these to the stage in a harikatha. A Harikatha or Katha kalakshepa, is a storytelling art form from ancient India. The raconteur enlivens an otherwise simple tale with song, philosophy, scripture, and humor and music, creating a mood and a world of story around the audience. Our stories explore the various traditions from these stories interspersed with songs looking for relevance to the world we live in today. Our harikatha weaves together a patchwork of reflections on violence from a range of genres, cultures, and times. It will feature the Buddha and his teachings; the prince Prahlada, whose peaceful devotion to Vishnu culminated bizarrely in a grotesque act of violence; the commander Agamemnon, whose impossible dilemma spurred on a series of family murders; Starbuck, chief mate aboard the Pequod, who failed in his attempts to thwart Captain Ahab’s suicidal mission; the incarnated god Krishna, whose spiritual teaching urged Arjuna to fight in battle, against the warrior’s misgivings; and many other thinkers and characters from the world’s wisdom traditions.
We hope to engage audiences, informing them and inviting them into a group discussion.
Later in 2017 these stories and music will be produced as dance productions.
Over the next years we hope to grow these stories and embue them with new vigor. Through this endeavor we hope to heal and bring peace for our community
Kalapriya’s Creators, Composers and Performers
Ms. Aditi Sriram is Assistant Professor at Ashoka University where she teaches courses for undergraduates in Writing & Critical Thinking . Ashoka University is one of India’s newest liberal arts universities. Prior to that she taught creative writing at The State University of New York(SUNY) in Purchase. She has an MFA from New York. One of her interests has been to revive the old Indian story telling art form of The Hari Katha. The Hari Kathas she writes are performed in English and bring to life old Indian scriptures and philosophies and making them relevant to the 21st Century. She finds connections in world literature that can excite young adults to think and participate.
Mr. Shiv Subramanian is a Fulbright scholar working on his Ph. D. in Sanskrit Literature from Columbia University. He has just returned from India where he worked on the Sanskrit poetry. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago where he studied comparative literature. From a very young age he studied Carnatic music performing at prestigious venues in Chennai’s Music Festival, Cleveland Tygaraja Music Festival and many prestigious locations. He has been a student of P.S.Narayanaswamy since 2000.