Theatre for Community Development
Rehabilitation and Resettlement of Ahmedabad Based DNTs
Outside of theatre activities, Budhan Theatre is also engaged in the rehabilitation and resettlement activities of the De-notified Tribes and Nomadic Tribes of Ahmedabad. In Maninagar, the tribes are Dabgar, Vaghri, Rajbhoi, and Bairagi. From 2003-2007, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation demolished their huts around eight times because they were considered to be encroaching on the road. Budhan Theatre started activism for their housing rights in 2004, completed more than 65 applications to the local council, AMC, and initiated a dialogue between the oppressive system and society.
Finally, with the help of Bhasha Research and Publication Center, Budhan Theatre applied for the legal battle in Gujarati High Court for the housing rights of these DNTs. In 2009, we won the case in high court but AMC challenged us in the Supreme Court of India. With the help of some advocate lawyers, we fought the housing rights case in Supreme Court and on April 12, 2012, the Supreme Court of India ordered the state government and AMC to rehabilitate petitioners as soon as possible. Budhan Theatre is still struggling to get the land from the government, despite Supreme Court orders. Click here to view the Supreme Court judgment.
Besides housing rights, Budhan Theatre members are also engaged in the economic and social empowerment of the community and very much engaged in educational upliftment of the community children. Budhan Theatre has run informal school in the community for the last five years and has admitted 36 children from the community into schools. We also engage with the community girls, providing sewing machine training and bringing them into theatre activities. The government is supposed to give the land to 185 families of this community, and when the government allots the land, it is Budhan Theatre's dream to start full time community theatre for development of the community.
In conjunction with fighting for housing rights, Budhan Theatre produced a film, Bulldozer, that was screened at the United Nations in 2007 and at many institutions in India.
View film here.