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Following a visit I made to Punjabi University, Patiala, India, in February 2018, to give a talk to students on the MA English course, a group of about a dozen students helped me to write a play about gender inequality in modern India.
Using information and personal reflections provided by the mainly female students, I began drafting a script. Successive drafts sent via WhatsApp for criticism and comment over a period of four or five months resulted in a finished script with a prologue and epilogue written by individual students.
Unborn was performed at the university on 20-22 February 2019 with an all-female student cast.
“In the land where women are worshipped as gods, in that same land women are not allowed to break their chains. A woman is not allowed to dream. A woman is not allowed to have her personal space. A woman is not allowed to have her own identity. A woman is made to be afraid of darkness. A woman is not safe. A woman is inferior. So, dear worshippers, either stop worshipping her or set her free, totally free. Give her back her wings and let her fly. If she can give birth to a child, she can do anything. She is the strongest.”
Prologue, Sehjot Ahuja, student, Punjabi University, Patiala
The play was later adapted for radio and broadcast by Chapel FM, a community radio station in Leeds. The parts were played by Anji Clark, Olivia Richardson, Maureen Willis and Pam Wilson, all members of Leeds Arts Centre. The broadcast also featured some of the Punjabi University students talking about their own experience of the issues raised by the play. Click here to listen.