Rss

  • stumble
  • youtube
  • linkedin

Love in the Time of Hate: Verse and Dance Reclaim Streets of Delhi #Culturalactivism

Iss zulm mein jo khamosh rahe,
Zaalim bhi wahi, qatil bhi wahi

Twenty-three-year-old Sabika Naqvi is reciting a poem in protest against mob lynching in the middle of Connaught Place, New Delhi. “Those who stay silent are oppressors and killers too, those who want to walk away and take no responsibility are party to the injustice”, she warns. Syncing her feet to Sabika’s verses is Anannya Chatterjee, also 23.

Sabika’s poetry and Annanya’s Bharatnatyam have stopped a hundred or so passersby in their tracks on a Saturday evening. The circle of onlookers watches on in rapt attention as the two young artistes plead them to spread love in these times of hate.



Sabika Naqvi recites, “Those who stay silent in these times of violence are oppressors and killers too.”
Sabika Naqvi recites, “Those who stay silent in these times of violence are oppressors and killers too.” (Photo: The Quint)

The crowd is a composite one – from idle cabbies to shoppers with toddlers in tow. Sabika’s verses address them not on the basis of age, class, caste or creed. But as human beings. She asks:

Is it so easy to hate each other? After a Facebook post or a tweet, or because of a fistful of meat?

(Photo: The Quint)

Those assembled know the cases all too well. From Dadri’s Akhlaq to Basirhat’s Kartik Ghosh, from Hafiz Junaid in Ballabgarh to Pehlu Khan in Alwar and Ayub Pandith in Srinagar – mob lynchings are the new normal.

On ‘Hunted – India’s Lynch Files’, The Quint records incidents of mob violence across the country. 25 people have been lynched since September 2015.
On ‘Hunted – India’s Lynch Files’, The Quint records incidents of mob violence across the country. 25 people have been lynched since September 2015. (Photo: Screengrab/The Quint)

View the entire list of victims here: Hunted – India’s Lynch Files.

Protest Through Poetry and a Dance for Dissent

On being asked about the message she wishes to spread through this protest performance, Sabika replied, “We will spread more love than those dividing us can spread hate. Poetry is the only weapon I have. We don’t have sticks and stones. We will fight through our poems and our ghungroos.”



If news of hate keeps increasing, then time will question us poets. On our silence. 
If news of hate keeps increasing, then time will question us poets. On our silence.  (Photo: The Quint)

The following is an excerpt from Sabika and Annanya’s performance, with translations.

Kyun aaj pyaar mushkil,
Nafrat asaan
Why is love so difficult,
And hate so easy today?

Sadak par kiss karna mushkil,
Lynch karna asaan

So difficult to kiss on the road
But lynching, so easy.

Aisa nahi hai ke hum pyaar nahi kartey,
Kartey hain

Magar sirf apne jaison se
Apne mazhab ke, apni jaat ke,
Apne khuda se
Bass…

You know, we love, we love a lot
But only those who are like us
From our religion, our caste
Who believe in our gods
That is it.

Ab aap batayein kya zyada mushkil hai
Mohabbat ya nafrat?
Chhura ghopna ya galey lagana?
Muskurana ya phail machana?
Gaali sunana ya gaane gaana
Logon ko desh se baahar bhagana ya mehmaan bulana

For I really want to know,
What is easier?
Love or hate?
A stab in the chest or a warm hug?
A smile or a slur?
Abuse or songs of love?
Throwing people out of your country (and home and heart) or inviting them over?

Aaj ruuh se poochcho
Badan toh hai, magar kya ruuh insaan hai?
Ask your soul today,
Your flesh is surely human, but is your soul human too?

Camera: Athar Rather
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam

https://www.thequint.com/videos/2017/07/15/love-in-times-of-hate-poetry-bharatnatyam-reclaim-delhi-streets

Related posts

Comment (1)

  1. K SHESHU BABU

    The poetry of protest and dance are very powerful. Their message is being followed by masses through out the country. The protesters are increasing their voice of protest against lynchings and communal hate from fascist fanatics

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: