Performed, Directed & Edited by Manjari Kaul
Sound: Neel Chaudhuri
Dramaturgy: Nisha Abdulla
Research: Trishna Senapaty
Firefly Women is a website based Digital Theatre piece supported by ReFrame Arts. It explores ideas of Feminist utopia against the background of letters written from jail by two women wrongly incarcerated under a draconian law. Through these letters, the piece attempts to find inroads into Feminist solidarity, resilience and hope in these dark times. The letters written by Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, student leaders and powerful voices against the Anti-CAA movement in India, talk of their hopes, dreams, Feminist solidarities and anxieties.
In over a year that Narwal and Kalita spent incarcerated, they wrote numerous letters to members of Pinjra Tod, which would sometimes take up to a month to be delivered. They wrote their letters over several days, almost like journal entries, with one letter often having several dates at the different points, indicating when those portions were written. Narwal and Kalita talked about their daily lives in Tihar, their struggles and anxieties, moments that gave them strength, reading Hossain’s “Sultana’s Dream” with other inmates and of dreaming about fireflies, rainbows and a “naiya” [small boat] of hope.
In one of her letters Kalita writes, “The unknown awaits us. We will have to embrace it with all the courage we can muster together, open ourselves to new beginnings and the harshest of challenges. A new reality that has arrived too soon, too suddenly, it’s incredibly daunting and scary, but I believe we are together slowly learning to navigate and inhabit it. What can we do but move forward, learning from history of the world and our own—to equip ourselves to handle what is unfolding and awaits, it is also a graver responsibility. Not that I had any doubts about it—even as I never spelt it out to not burden—that after all these months, and despite