On Tuesday evening, the Mandela Room filled up quickly for a performance of the play “Kultar’s Mime,” hosted by the Binghamton Sikh Association.
Across campus and around the world, this discussion about eliminating hate is gaining steam. Earlier this week, in front of Glenn G. Bartle Library, there was a chalk drawing and memorial for those killed in terror attacks last weekend. Art has been proven to have true healing power and the artistic climate of BU came to show its support.
Audience members ranged from very young to very old, with community members sitting among the students. Recently, the show has been performed in London, Vancouver and Delhi, among other places. Amongst the crowd, there seemed to be an interest in learning more about the Sikh religion.
Based on two poems, “Kultar’s Mime” by Sarbpreet Singh and “In the City of Slaughter” by Haim Bialik, “Kultar’s Mime” chronicles four young Sikh children who survive the 1984 Delhi Massacre. Their story is woven together with that of a group of young Jewish artists who are traveling to commemorate a pogrom in Russia. Different parts of the terror in India during this massacre are reenacted throughout the show, as it flashes between the artists and the children. The play combines poetry, art and music to tell a story of overcoming human suffering, creating an empathetic story for the audience to follow.
The Sikh Research Institute, a national organization which organizes and supports the travel of the play to various universities and other venues, describes the play as one which “synthesizes the sufferings of innocent victims of organized violence, separated by thousands of miles, numerous years and insurmountable differences of religion, language and culture.” “Kultar’s Mime” reminds us that despite differences in religion or language, we share many things with each other.
The play was created 30 years after the Sikh massacre in India took place in 1984. The production was an immersive theater experience, and was initially funded with the help of donations on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo in 2014. The campaign raised over $17,000 over the course of just two months.
The president of the Binghamton Sikh Association, Amandeep Singh, sees the need for more dialogue about equality, which is what this play brings.
“Given the events that have unfolded here and overseas against individuals of different creed, different skin color and different languages, I think that this is right about the time when we get the conversation started about equality … and being compassionate against our neighbors,” said Singh, a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience.
Singh explained that the message of “Kultar’s Mime” is a simple one: treat others the way you want to be treated.
“Is it necessary for us to … perform a play that talks about murder and rape and pogroms all over the world?” Singh said. “I think yes, because it reminds us how low humanity can fall at times … to stand up against inequality and intolerance, we’ve got to have this reference point.”