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Nukkad Natak by Ved Dramatics Society of APG Shimla University

In our country, everyone has a right to vote, but it is not a fundamental right. The right to vote is a constitutional right, and no one can compel eligible individuals to vote. Voting is not even mentioned in Article 51-A, which lists 11 fundamental duties of Indian citizens. However, participation in the electoral process is essential for a healthy democracy.

The efficacy of electoral democracy hinges on the participation of the electorate in the electoral process, realisation of the promises made during elections, and the implementation of social/welfare programs promised by a political party after it forms the government.

Voter participation and various organs of a democracy — such as the judiciary, press, and investigative agencies — make the government accountable to the people.

In India, any citizen above the age of 18 is eligible to register as a voter. The voting age was reduced from 21 to 18 by the Indian Constitution (Sixty-first Amendment) Act of 1988.

Significance of street theatre

As per Wikipedia, Nukkad Natak/Street theatre is “a form of theatrical performance and presentation in outdoor public spaces without a specific paying audience”.

In India, Nukkad Nataks have been used as a medium of expression for the working class, the voice of the marginalized, and mobilising rebellion against the establishment. It traces its roots as far back as 5000 years.

Over the years, this art form was utilized as a platform for making people aware of social issues. The theatrical performances became popular due to the inclusive and accessible character of the street plays.

Nukkad Nataks also played a significant role in India’s independence movement in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Nukkad Natak for raising voter’s awareness

On 26 May 2024, members of the Ved Dramatics Society of APG Shimla University staged a Nukkad Natak (street play) at The Ridge in Shimla. Their performance had a specific purpose: to raise awareness about voter participation in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections scheduled to be held in Himachal Pradesh on June 1, 2024.

By choosing this theme, the members of the society aimed to motivate urban voters to actively participate in the democratic process. Through powerful dialogues, expressive acting, and relatable examples, the actors likely conveyed the importance of voting and civic responsibility.

By performing in a crowded space like The Ridge, the performers effectively engaged with passersby, encouraging them to exercise their right to vote and play a crucial role in shaping the nation’s future.