In search of Indigo

I’ve been commissioned by Tara Arts to write a play about the atrocities committed by British Indigo Planters in Bengal in the 19th century. The systematic cruelty, abuse of power, violence, and injustice was so severe that in 1860 the Indigo farmers  rose up in extraordinary protest against the planters, and ultimately forced  cultivation out of Bengal.
Funded by the Royal Society of Literature’s Brookleaze Grant, I decided to travel to Bangladesh in order to find out about the legacy of Indigo cultivation in in Bengal (specifically Bangladesh). I had an extraordinary trip, and discoverd some remarkable, and strange, and haunting things. I intend to write more about the trip in due course, but in the meantime here are some images from the trip.
  • In search of the Indigo plant (a legume), which - because of the taboo surrounding its tainted history, was not grown in Bengal for over a century. But the plant continued to grow as a weed on the sides of roads.
  • What ghosts remain in the eerie ruins of a Nil Kuthi, an Indigo plantation house?
  • Terrible secrets, forgotten but not forgotten, in the ruined tanks by the mango trees.
  • But in Rangpur farmers are reclaiming this strange plant with a tainted history...
  • ...And making something beautiful (at LIVING BLUE)
At the end of August 2017 the play will be workshopped at the National Theatre Studio.

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