Drawing the Line (hampstead theatre) Reader's Club Activity

Readers’ Club Activity Report

Drawing the Line : Sparking a Discussion

The Readers’ Club of the Department of English organized a virtual activity on 21 April 2020, wherein students connected on a virtual meeting platform to discuss the critically-acclaimed Hampstead Theatre (London) Production Drawing the Line that focussed on Cyril Radcliffe and his role in the partition of India in 1947. The Activity saw active participation from the students and the hour-long discussion touched upon various nuances of the play including Radcliffe’s unsuitability for the task he had been assigned; the political intrigues which proved to be a potential encumbrance in his way; the marital discord between Mountbatten and his adulterous wife, Edwina; Attlee’s control of the pace of British withdrawal; and, the basic clash of ideologies that gave rise to the need for 'drawing the line' that led to the Partition. The technicalities of the play were also discussed including the stage design, the sharply-constructed dialogue as well as the references to British poetry and Indian mythology which enriched the play even more. The students as well as the faculty members participated with equal vigour in the discussion.

The discussion came to a close with the participants dwelling on the human aspect of the play with respect to the manner in which it depicted the moral dilemma and despair of Radcliffe against the backdrop of the politics of the time, and the incendiary nature of the events of those days.The discussion of the various elements of the play was thus highly comprehensive and provided all participants with many critical standpoints as food for thought.