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Activist Street Theater in India

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Activist Street Theater in India

You probably have seen street theatre performers before.  There's the statues that come to life outside of Water Tower Place , and then the juggling clowns at the summer festivals.  But there's a street theatre in India that's a little different. 

Jana Natya Manch, or People's Theatre Group, is one of India 's most well-known street theatre groups. 

They use street theatre as a form of nonviolent protest in their struggle for social justice.

Jana Natya Manch – known as Janam, meaning birth, for short – has done plays on issues ranging from economic policies to women's rights.

The group gained attention worldwide when a founding member was murdered while performing a play on factory workers' rights in 1989. 

Janam continued its work after the murder, and has had over 7500 performances in 140 towns and cities in India over the last three decades.

Sudhanva Deshpande is a member of Janam.

And Moloyashree Hashmi is the widow of the man killed, and also a member of Janam.

They were both in Chicago as part of Janam's nation-wide tour. 

Moloyashree Hashmi told Jerome how Janam got started.

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