Revisiting All India Progressive Writers’ Association (AIPWA) and Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA), 1930s, 194

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSOL2EN3514

Semester and Year Offered: Monsoon Semester 2019

Course Coordinator and Team: Diamond Oberoi Vahali

Email of course coordinator:

 Interest in literature, cinema, music, theatre, performance, culture and politics. Ideally any student opting for this course should have registered for the first part of this course or must read all the readings which were discussed in the first part.

Aim: This course introduces students to the All India Progressive Writers Association and Indian People’s Theatre Association, the two most significant movements in literature in 1930s and 1940s. The objective of the course is to familiarize the students to the socio-political concerns, debates and dissent existing in literature in India from 1930s to 1950s within the broader context of nationalism and the formation of new India.

The course is an interdisciplinary course, it seeks to situate literature within the context of cinema and theatre movements prevalent in India in 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. It also links literature, theatre and cinema to the larger debates around nation building and the formation of new India. This course is the second part and thus a continuation of Revisiting All India Progressive Writers’ Association (AIPWA) and Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA), 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, part I. The focus in this part is on performance, music and cinema yet this course must not be perceived in isolation of the previous course.

Course Outcomes:

  1. They will develop the skills to appreciate cinema and music.
  2. They will understand that literature, cinema and music do not exist in a social vacuum.
  3. They will understand the meaning of engaged scholarship as the course assessment demands that they engage with a community of people especially that of folk artists.
  4. The course will also enhance their creative skills as the assessment pattern of the course demands that the students give a creative expression to any particular socio-political reality of the people, ideally through a group performance.
  5. They will also develop special skills to read and write on cinema and theatre.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Module I: will focus on the film songs and lyrics written by artists associated with AIPWA and IPTA. It will focus on the film songs and lyrics of:

Kaifi A’zmi

Majrooh Sultanpuri

Jan Nisar Aktar


Makhdoom Mohiuddin


Sahir Ludhianvi, “Wo Subha Kabhi to Ayegi”, “Jina Naaz hai hind pe who Kahahe”, and other film lyrics and poems

Majaz, “Bol Ari ye Dharti bol”, “To Sar uta lati to kya tha”, and other poems

(and of other lyricists associated with IPTA and AIPWA will also be discussed)

Module II: This module will focus on the plays associated with IPTA. It will mainly focus on the following plays:

Ritwik Ghatak, Dalil

Bhaskara Pillai, You Made Me a Communist

Dinabandhu Mitra, Nirdarpan

Bijon Bhattacharya, Nabanna, Jabanbandi

V.K. Gokak, Yugantar

Module III: This module will focus on the films produced in association with IPTA and AIPWA. It will focus on several script writers, directors, producers and film artists. It will mainly focus on the following films:

Nemai Ghosh, Chinnamul

Bimal Roy , Do Biga Zamine, Udayer Pathey

Ritwik Ghatak, Nagarik, Komal Gandhar

Uday Shanker, Kalpana

Shambu Mitra and K. A. Abbas, Dharti ke Lal

Chetan Anand, Nicha Nagar

Raj Kapoor and K. A. Abbas, Awara and Shri 420

Ismat Chughtai and M.S. Satyu, Gharam Hawa

K.A. Abbas, Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani

Shambu Mitra, Jagte Raho

K. A Abbas, Film Scripts of Raj Kapoor’s Awara and Shri 420, Zubeida, The One Who did not Come Back

Naya Daur

Assessment Details with weights: The assessment for the course may include class presentations, term paper, mid-term exam and end-term exam. The assessment will ensure an engagement with the essence of the course. The students may be asked to write and develop a performance based on any contemporary crisis in the spirit of IPTA for the second part of the course and to interact with a community of folk artists.

Tentative Assessment schedule with details of weightage:




Date/period in which Assessment will take place



Class participation

Throughout the semester



Group performance on a contemporary social-political  issue

Mid semester



Reflective writing on the performance

Mid semester



Term paper/Research

End semester




Class test/ Interview with a migrant worker and a process paper/ interaction with a folk artist and a process paper.

End semester



Reading List: Included within the modules


  • Other theatre, cinema and performing artists whose works may be included are:
  • Shambu Mitra, Habib Tanvir, Anna Bhau Sathe, Balraj Sahani, Bhisham Sahani, Utpal Dutt, Mukunda Das and the numerous singers who were a part of the IPTA protest music.