Minangka: Assam, India and Irene Mawer

Mime friends exist all around the world, and writing Irene Mawer’s biography has been especially rewarding as I have made friends with a young man called Minangka Deka, in the Assam region of India. Truth be told, until I started to write this post, I didn’t know exactly where Assam was – I knew it was in the north of India, but looking at the map in the attached photo, I hadn’t realised how far to the east it is. In (what is to me) this far, far away part of the world, there is a thriving mime community, and Minangka is a big part of it. What I find particularly special about Minangka is that he uses mime to highlight and raise awareness of modern social issues.

As part of a group called Nirvak Yatra, Minangka directed a mime play which raised awareness about environmental degradation in an area of natural beauty in Assam, at a lake called Deepor Beel, in May 2018. The English translation of the title of the mime play is “The Flock Of Birds Stopped Coming” and the prime objective was to raise awareness of the terrible pollution in the lake.

In 2020 Covid-19 hit and Minangka focused his attention on raising awareness of the virus and reminding people of the importance of wearing masks and washing hands. He also organised on-line mime classes to keep children occupied during lock down.

Fighting the pandemic wasn’t Minangka’s only occupation during 2020 – he also brought out India’s very first international magazine solely devoted to mime. When Minangka put out a request for articles to go into the magazine I wanted to help, so I sent a short item about Irene Mawer. True to his word, the magazine was published on time, at the end of 2020. A few days later Minangka sent me screenshots showing that my article had been published. I feel very proud and I thank Minangka and his team for helping to raise awareness of Irene Mawer.

The magazine isn’t available on line, but I will attach some screenshots so that you can all read it. Please consider submitting an article yourself, to support Minangka is this very worthwhile endeavour.

Author: Janet Fizz Curtis

Janet Fizz Curtis is trained in the Irene Mawer Method of Mime and Movement and is now writing a book about the life of Irene Mawer.

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