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Friday, 28 April, 2000, 18:49 GMT 19:49 UK
Theatrical fundraiser for Kashmiri migrants

Many Kashmiris have fled the fighting in the region
By Pallavi Ghosh in Delhi

One of India's renowned theatre directors, Feroz Khan, has been putting on a series of plays in Delhi, to raise money for displaced Kashmiris.

The festival, called 'Celebration of Feroz Khan's plays' is staging four of the director's popular plays.

The proceeds from the festival will go to charities working towards helping the families of Kashmiri Hindus, displaced because of the ongoing violence in the region.

About 250,000 Kashmiri Hindus have fled the Kashmir valley.

While some families moved to other parts of India, the majority stayed on in Jammu, in the hope that they would be able to return to their home one day.

Festival

Feroz Khan is one of India's youngest and most commercially successful stage personalities- a rare feat for Indian theatre which has yet to gain commercial acceptability.

The festival opened with Tumhari Amrita, Mr Khan's first work which is also one of India's longest running plays.

Feroz Khan
Feroz Khan: One of India's youngest directors

Film stars Shabana Azmi and Farooque Sheikh played the lead roles.

The play explores human relationships through the exchange of letters between the two pen-friends.

Other plays being staged are Salesman Ramlal, an adaptation of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, and Mahatma vs Gandhi, which examines the relationship between Mahatma Gandhi and his son Hiralal.

Another play, Saalgirah, studies the complexities of marital life through the eyes of the two lead players on the eve of their divorce.

Emotional connection

Feroz Khan told the BBC that he chose to highlight the condition of the Kashmiri migrants because of an emotional connection with people in that state.

Many of the refugees, who preferred to stay back in the state, continue to live in makeshift tents, often crowded into one room with only the most basic facilities.


Refugees live in makeshift tents
The charities involved in the venture are directed at various causes.

One looks to provide basic medical assistance to the refugees.

Another has adopted 204 villages and Colonel Behl's Project Harmony while a third will provide relief to people affected by violence.

Kashmir has often had to grapple with the refugee problem due to its long history of turmoil.

The Kargil crisis in May last year caused 23,000 residents to flee from the region.

The massacre of 35 Sikhs last month in a village in southern Kashmir led to a further exodus, with many of the Sikh minority fleeing from their villages.

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21 Mar 00 | South Asia
Safety fears for Kashmir's Sikhs
21 Jan 00 | South Asia
Kargil's theatre of war
23 Jul 99 | South Asia
Winter worries for Kashmir civilians
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