I am always afraid. I am afraid of large crowds. I am afraid of masked mobs. I am afraid of being loud. I am afraid of losing my job. There is so much at stake. So why raise your voice. There is so much at stake. That is why, raise your voice.
Poets and artists organised a ‘Protest in Poetry’ at Sambhaji Park on Sunday against the CAA, NRC, NPR and JNU violence, which was attended by more than 60 people and a few passersby. The protesters also raised the issues faced by people in Kashmir, Assam, Tripura and Manipur.
“Looking at the current scenario, there is a huge confusion between raj-droh (anti-government) and desh-droh (anti-national). Speaking against the government does not mean one is against the country. Poetry is one way we can communicate without seeming anti-national. Poetry is easy to relate as people associate with what is being said. There are no direct slogans and the message is woven with subtlety and craft. People from different walks of life can relate to it. It also gives strength to those who stand with us during the protests. We do not speak in the language of hate and want to convey the message in a poetic manner. We also took up poetry not only to highlight issues of CAA and NRC but also tell people about Assam and Tripura. They were saying that Hindus of the county should awaken and once they did, they were called anti-national, traitors and communists,” said Sameer Sharma (28), a poet and software engineer.
The event began with a reading of the Preamble to the Constitution, followed by speeches about the CAA and poetry performances. “Poetry, politics and protests have a long history. The Bhakti movement got societal reforms while rap culture questioned the violence against the black community in the US. We are still using the words made immortal by Bismil Azimabadi, Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein hai, dekhna hai zor kitna baazu-e-qaatil mein hai or Saare Jahan se achha. It is all poetry. Poetry has that power. This is our first attempt and we are planning for an open mic in the coming days,” said Saad Ahmed (23), a literature student.
Shubhi Dixit (27), a poet and marketing professional, said poetry gains attention and gives strength to people who are fighting. “We start to lose strength after facing so much hatred and when we hear someone else’s poetry, it makes us feel that we are in solidarity and we are not the only ones fighting. When you try to argue, one counter argues. With poetry, it is one way of letting go of the negativity and the bad bottled up inside with an artistic approach,” she said.
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