Mumbai

Poets, painters voice their dissent through art

Standing in solidarity: An artist paints a poster during a protest at Azad Maidan on Saturday.

Standing in solidarity: An artist paints a poster during a protest at Azad Maidan on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Rajanish Kakade

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Over 100 of them gather at Azad Maidan to protest CAA, NRC

“Tumhari raah me mitti ke ghar nahi aate, isilye toh tumhe hum nazar nahi aate (Houses made of mud do not fall on your way, which is why you never see us)” was one of the many verses on display on placards at Azad Maidan, as over 100 artists gathered at the ground to stage a peaceful protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The lines were written by Surendra Rao, who sat shoulder to shoulder with other fellow poets and painters to voice his dissent against the two laws. The protest was organised by the Secular Movement, an organisation of artists from Mumbai and nearby areas, and was held from 12.30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

“The Constitution is secular and allows us to protest rules that are against humanity. Nowhere is it written in the Constitution that people should be divided on the basis of religion. India is a secular country,” Gautamiputra Kamble, president, Secular Movement, said.

Amidst slogans calling for unity, these protesters only made their thoughts known through placards bearing their art. Another poem by Mr. Rao read, “Mai samay ki dhaar me dhas kar khada hoon, main chhapachhap chhapte chhal se ladaa hoon, sat mein sadha hoon isliye jee raha hoon, main tootne wala nahin, kachcha ghadaa hoon (I am standing firmly on the edge of time, fighting deceit that is being printed rapidly, held together by truth and hence alive, I am a raw earthen pot and I will not break).”

Artists were also seen painting various scenes at the maidan, depicting ongoing issues such as farmer suicides, corruption, crimes against women and unemployment and highlighting the importance of solving them rather than indulging in the politics of hate. Artworks also depicted the recent atrocities by the Delhi and Uttar Pradesh police against protesting students.

Prabhakar Kamble, an organiser, said “First, the government should get rid of poverty from the country and then talk about CAA and NRC.” According to him, many paintings at the protest depicted what happened in Assam because of the NRC.

“If it is applied across the country, those who can afford it will move abroad, but what will the poor do? How will those who have not been able to get basic documents like Aadhaar and PAN cards prove their citizenship?” asked Mr. Kamble.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 8:35:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/poets-painters-voice-their-dissent-through-art/article30482055.ece

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