‘Azadi’, chant the artists at Art for Resistance2 min read
MANIPAL: The Art for Resistance, a protest organised by Students Islamic Organisation (SIO) on January 27 in front of the Udupi District Commissioner’s Office, Manipal, had students congregate and use forms of art as a medium of dissent.
Chants of ‘Azadi’ (freedom) from the government’s recent Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) resonated across the protesting populace. The protest, despite being organised by SIO, was attended by men and women belonging to a range of religious communities.
Poets, singers and public speakers from across Manipal and Udupi came forward and raised their voices against the CAA/NRC and the Modi government. Aisha, a tenth-grade student, read out her mother’s poetry, demanding that her vote be returned before she is detained in a camp.
Kidiyoor Nihal, state president of SIO and an alumnus of Manipal Institute of Technology said in his address to the gathering, “In (his book) 1984, (George) Orwell says ‘Proles are the only hope.’ Common people are the only hope. Understand this: we will not let this happen. First, the CAA will go and then the government will go.” Nihal also asserted his belief that art is the medium that convinces people and captures the imagination of people.
Anong Pavan, a student of Manipal Centre for Humanities, read his poetry, which ended on a grave and demanding note:
“I hear someone mock ‘He can’t speak English’
You moron, he cannot, I agree, but he thinks like one from the 1920s
He works on papers produced by census and not consensus
How do you live with clogged senses and
The subaltern screams that are defenceless.”
When asked why she chose to attend the event, Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju, a transgender activist and student studying at Kasturba Medical College (KMC), said, “I am here because I was raised a secular citizen of this country. I’m here because I am a medical student and a proud transgender woman, and I’m here on behalf of every community I represent because protest is our duty.” Trinetra, along with Annwesha and Tejas, students of Manipal Institute of Communication sang Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s poetry. “Art is political. It brings people together. Today we sang Faiz’s poetry—he is a Pakistani poet,” she added, emphasising how art and culture transcend political boundaries.
The protest ended peacefully at 9 pm after a solemn reading of the Preamble of the Constitution of India and the singing of the National Anthem.
Featured Image Courtesy: Abhishek Manoharan
Edited by: Rayna Lele