New Delhi | Noted poets and writers today came together with a unique way of voicing concern against attack on freedom of expression in the country through poetry and ghazals. Well-known poets like Ashok Vajpeyi, Manglesh Dabral, Gauhar Raza and Sohail Hashmi among others recited verses, in Hindi, Urdu and English at an event titled Pratirodh ke Swar (Songs and Poetry of Resistance) at the Constitution Club here.
The event was organised by Aman Biradari, Anhad, Bazm, Forum Against Corruption and Threats (FACT), Indian Writers’ Forum, Nazariya, Progressive WQriters’ Association, Samarpan and Siksha. I attended ‘Pratirodh 2′ and decided that we should have something like this but based purely on creativity. We are here to join our creative voices along with artists, intellectuals and activists from across India, Shabnam Hashmi, one of the key organisers, said.
This is a response to the attack on freedom of expression and that nowadays, as soon as you open your mouth, you are called a desh-drohi, she said. Vajpeyi and Dabral, who have been vocal about their opinions and have returned their Sahitya Akademi awards, read out their poems. Vajpeyi, Dabral and Raza read out their poems, Chota Muh Badi Baat, Tanashah and Nayaa Libaas respectively, all challenging authoritative forces. I think their poetry speaks for itself, Hashmi said.
Democratic, legal and cultural processes are being usurped and misused to impose a parochial, majoritarian, uniform and exclusive view of India, its culture and tradition. We cannot allow this view, its strategies, its fearful implications to go unexamined and unchallenged since we love our country, its plural culture and tradition, its people and tremendous possibilities, their past and struggles, the organisers said.
Sohail Hashmi and Shefali Frost took turns alternately to recite and sing verses and ghazals respectively, many of which were written by revolutionary poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) also performed a few songs based on the recent death of Hyderabad University scholar Rohith Vemula. Performers at the event included Akhil Katyal, Assistant professor at Shiv Nadar University, journalist and poet Asad Ashraf, poet Subhash Deswar among others.