Marking International Women's Day 2014, noted dance troupe Shadhona -- in association with the development organisation OXFAM-Bangladesh -- arranged a celebration programme featuring staging of Shadhona's latest production “Pala Bodoler Pala”, presentation of an animation video and discussion at Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad auditorium of Bangla Academy, Dhaka on March 6.
“Pala Bodoler Pala” is an experimental production that explores women's diverse and significant roles in the arena of agriculture and food security, and above all, managing a household and family. History suggests that women initiated the journey of agriculture in ancient society. With the increasing growth of agricultural production, the numbers of women labourers has also increased over the time. But, the frustrating scenario is that women's contribution to agriculture has been ignored in traditional society like ours. To trace that point, the production came on stage with a new approach of recognising women's laborious contributions towards agriculture.
Shadhona dancers, together with women agro-labourers from Bogra, jointly staged the production focusing on the abysmal state of marginal woman peasants through the presentation of dances and dialogues. Through presenting a little satire and social incongruence, the production also sought village markets for women. “Pala Bodoler Pala” aims to break the conventional male-dominated society's structures; to wipe out superstitious beliefs and to recognise women's co-existence, cooperation and contributions alongside men in the field of agriculture. The production included two patriotic songs “Dhono Dhannye Pushpe Bhora” and “Ekti Bangladesh Tumi Jagroto Jonotar” and demanded inclusion of several folk songs and lokoj pala gaan to connect to the greater audience especially those living in the villages.
Artistic director of Shadhona, Lubna Mariam expressed determination to stage the production at Baroaritola or on the yards of peasants in the villages of Sylhet, Rajshashi and elsewhere in the country. Shamim Hasan and Shakil Anwar Khan directed the production.
Shirin Aktar, MP, graced the occasion as chief guest. Apart from the chief guest, Programme Manager ABM Akhtar and Policy Advocacy Manager Monisha Biswas of OXFAM; Shireen Haq of Naripokkho; Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury of Gonoshasthaya Kendra and Lubna Mariam spoke at the event.
OXFAM is involved with an international campaign called GROW. With the theme “Food Life Planet”, GROW works for food security, agriculture and climate change. The event featured the screening of an animation video that highlighted devaluation of women's labour and their contributions to agriculture; denial of women's access to the agro market and technology and deprivation of women's rights in most regards in society.