Oral History : Kahani ka Pitara
Ji aap kahan se hai? Where are you from?
Aapka ghar kahan hai? Aapka “native”?
Questions that people in India usually encounter on a daily basis.
It is just people being curious about one’s roots. In a country as vastand as diverse as ours, what do roots mean anyway?
‘Kahani ka pitara’ is an attempt to gently pull away the soil around these very roots to know what are the places they go to, where do they come from and to ask this question “what makes one a local? ” in a place like Dharamshala.
What is it that constitutes Dharamshala? Who are the people in Dharamshala? What is it that makes it so endearing for us to come settle here and make this our adoptive home? What is it that people miss about Dharamshala when they leave?
This exploration and questioning takes up from where our 2020 production “Ek, do, teen, char… kadam”, left off. A short play, devised and performed in our annual theatre festival, it looked into the roots of both the actors who now hail from Dharamshala. Through tracing one’s belonging to this region, moving back, tracing one’s steps back one, two, three or even four generations and realising that migration happened at some point or the other. That as humans, we are constantly moving…So then, in that case, what makes a “local”? Is there a time frame that deems you to be an “authentic” local, “a son/daughter of the soil”, someone who has always belonged?
We spoke to a varied group of Dharamshala residents to listen to their musings and their responses around this once sleepy town called Dharamshala.