SATURDAY’s ‘Walk for the Future’, being pitched as a protest march from Dadar’s Chaityabhoomi to Bandra’s Carter Road, is expected to see artists from across disciplines come out on the streets to speak up against politics of hate.
But the “juloos”, as it is being referred to by ‘Team 2020’ — the group spearheading it — is going to be a parade with over 30 acts. Directed by theatrepersons and choreographers, each individual act will convey the larger ideas of peace and inclusiveness.
“There will be music, dance performances, street theatre, poetry and everything with a sense of visuals,” said a member of the ‘artist collective’ that is executing the parade in solidarity with the two-day Artists Unite event to be held in New Delhi this weekend.
Team 2020 members said they were toying with the idea of such a performance for a while. Formed in 2017 after the #NotInMyName campaign, the collective was keen to use art to provoke debate on the issues of the day.
“We had been witnessing the violence fueled by divisive politics through lynchings, censorship and an attack on people’s freedom to exercise personal choices. The question it made us ask was whether we wanted this to continue, or, in the countdown to the general elections, we can get people to question these,” said a founding member the collective.
“In short, we wanted to work towards a better future. A future that is equitable, just and free. And a future that upholds the principals of democracy and that’s why we chose to call ourselves 2020.”
Last year, they had organised ‘2020: A Future Under Construction’ at the Horniman Circle Gardens, where 75 artists displayed their works, albeit anonymously. Maintaining the anonymity of artists has continued to remain an important aspect of the group’s functioning.
Instead, the names of close to 200 artists involved in the project feature on the Team 2020 website. The list includes Sudhir Patwardhan, Sunil Shanbag, Anju Dodiya, Meera Devidayal, Nancy Adajania, Danish Husain, Navjot Altaf, Purva Naresh, Shilpa Chavan and Sahej Rahal.
Team 2020 refuses to specifically mention the artists who have choreographed Saturday’s parade, but the names are anyone’s guess. The performance by theatre and spoken word artist Danish Husain will revolve around poetry whereas Sapan Saran has been rehearsing with a melange of actors, performers, dancers, singers and musicians at Juhu beach every morning. The parade will also feature folk performances, street plays and short performance pieces.
“Since permissions for a parade do not allow us to stop anywhere, the entire show will be constantly on the move,” said a participant, adding that it presented an exciting creative challenge. In the run-up to the event, Team 2020 also launched a poster campaign, as part of which, artists release a poster every night that speaks against hate and for democracy and inclusiveness. For instance, a poster with a painting of a peacock had the words, “our voice is louder than your propaganda”, written on it. Another poster referred to the Indo-Pak tension through revolutionary pacifist AJ Muste’s quote — “The problem after a war is with the victor. He thinks that he has just proved that war and violence pay. Who will now teach him a lesson?”
The parade will also address caste discrimination, farmers’ issues and religious harmony. Participants said they have chosen to largely stay away from specific incidents. “There is naturally a temptation to talk about what is happening currently, such as the Pulwama incident or the war-like situation prevailing. But at such a time, it is also important to remember that these incidents are a consequence of hate and so, addressing the larger issue is more important.”