Seeking justice in everyday life

Writer Agnelo Borim has released his new tiatr ‘Akhaddo’ at Kala Academy Tiatr Competition. NT BUZZ finds out about his philosophy of justice that he has explained through his tiatr


“Goans are as generous as the akhaddo,” says tiatrist Agnelo Fernandes popularly known as Agnelo Borim describing Goans as humble beings. The word ‘akhaddo’ is an ancient word for an object that was very useful. A true Goan would however not require any explanation for Agnelo’s statement.

Title of Agnelo’s new tiatr ‘Akhaddo’ represents a wooden squared pole used to keep the gate closed. A small space on either sides of the wall or coconut tree is hollowed out to place the  akhaddo. This object is placed at both the sides of the gate, enabling people both on the inside as well as outside to remove it and to enter the gate of the house. While opening the akhaddo, one has to slide it sideways and push it to the other end. An akhaddo can otherwise mean an arena for wrestling.

Writer, Agnelo explains that Goan identity is about generosity. “Goans are not afraid of anything. They have always remained true and open to others. They are humble, and generous. They do not act like adhambo,” he says adding another authentic Konkani word. Adhambo can be described as a door lock placed only on the inside of the house or room, enabling only the person on the inside to unlock the door.

The two terms ‘akhado’ and ‘adhambo’ represents human nature in Agnelo’s tiatr. He says that the Goan identity is big-hearted, but humans are slowly shutting up their doors for others.

‘Akhaddo’ is a story of two households. One includes three brothers who are on the verge of distributing the money by selling their ancestral house, and second is of a man who has separated from his wife for silly issues. This tiatr is directed by Rupesh Jogle.

Tiatr ‘Akhaddo’ questions the concept of justice. India has constitution, judiciary, laws, court, lawyers, but is there any justice here? “All the sources are present in the arena of justice, but does justice really exist? This tiatr highlights different interpretations of justice. It further questions its noble being, and whether justice to one person is justice to the other,” says Agnelo.

Agnelo has mentioned five types of justices in his tiatr. Retributive justice – a revenge for revenge where a person is punished if found guilty; distributive justice – when a material is equally distributed regardless of the necessity of person, restorative justice – compromise and negotiate on mutual understanding; procedural justice – that goes on court orders; and cumulative justice – based on the individual needs.

Equality is needed but it cannot be described as the justice. “A particular scheme for citizens of India will entail equality but some people may not require the scheme, while others may fall short of it. Can this situation be called justice?” Agnelo has raised such questions in his tiatr that was released on October 20, 2017 at Kala Academy Tiatr Group ‘A’ Competition.

In one of the situations of tiatr ‘Akhaddo’, three brothers who get an equal share of their ancestral property hold up different responsibilities. Eldest has a wife and children, the second brother is married, has a son and settled abroad, and the youngest is unmarried. Agnelo questions whether an equal share of money distributed among three brothers; who hold different responsibilities, mental and physical situations, and different needs can be called justice.

He says that many people would find it hard to understand how he has gelled up the concept of justice and akhaddo, and it can only be simplified when one watches his tiatr.

This tiatr introduces eight musicians in a band, three of which are very young. Eleven-year-old Prannoy De Souza is a trumpeter, his thirteen-year-old cousin Alloy De Souza is also a trumpeteer, while clarinet player Jena Leitao is thirteen as well. Fr Simon D’Cunha, a music teacher at Rachol Seminary has arranged the music for this tiatr. Besides drums, keyboard and bass guitar, the music band includes five wind instruments.

The tiatr consists of 14 kaantaras and four caants. Agnelo prefers to have special composers for his kaantaras. He says: “My thoughts are mostly philosophical and literary. They are not performance oriented. I can write songs but it is monotonous when only one composer writes all of them. I rather prefer various composers to write kaantaras for my tiatrs.”

Usage of symbols to explain any concept is Agnelo’s forte. He uses authentic Goan symbols to explain concepts when he wants to convey a message. His previous tiatr that revolved around the education system in India was titled ‘Dovornem’ which is also a Konkani name for ancient structures.

Agnelo along with his team makes a tiatr for passion. The tiatr will hopefully have shows across Goa to spread its idea of justice, however, the shows may be limited. Cast and crew of ‘Akhaddo’ are passionate amateur actors but are professionals in other fields.

The meaning of justice and the moral that ‘Akaddo’ conveys remains unrevealed until one watches this tiatr. Agnelo concludes: “Justice is definitely not absolute. Maybe we consider the views of majority and consider an opinion as justice. Before saying ‘I want justice’, I want people to question to themselves, what is justice to them, or what kind of justice are they seeking.”