Kranti is a loosely co-ordinated student platform that was originally started by a few students from NLSIU Bangalore. As of now, we have students from Cuttack, Mysore, Bombay, Pune and Kolkata who are pitching in to organize film screenings and other events. The primary object of this initiative is to encourage students to move away from an understanding of politics as limited to the electoral process and try and perceive it anew as being constituted by myriad people’s struggles.
Recently in Pune, a team of friends from FTII and a student group Yugpath who are working with Kranti had organized a screening and discussion of Jai Bhim Comrade with Anand Patwardhan, followed by the first public performance of Kabir Kala Manch in two years. As has been widely reported, the organizers were attacked after the event by goons from the ABVP. When we heard about this attack, two of the members of the team working in Bangalore on Kranti travelled to Pune in solidarity and with the goal of offering what little help we could as law students. The protest march in response to this attack was sought to be suppressed by the police with reports of a possible ABVP attack on the march itself and by the refusal of permission by the authorities. However, 200 students in Pune defiantly declared and conducted a silent protest march on August 26, 2013. A critical part of this experience was the manner in which the Pune Municipal Corporation Workers Union extended its support to this protest and enabled it, an unexpected but inspiring alliance between non-politically aligned student groups and a worker union. This fact inspires because, to us, it is an example of the possibility if a new politics for our future.
On September 7, 2013, Kranti has planned an event, the Songs of Protest in Bangalore city. Here, we shall stage performances by Kabir Kala Manch, Tamil Nadu dalit and tribal organization Makkal Mandram and the indefatigable Sambhaji Bhagat. This event was planned before the Pune event was conceptualized. Even as we confirmed it a month ago, we were clear as to the political implications of daring to offer a platform to the Manch. After the Pune attack, we feel more compelled to offer this opportunity to Kabir Kala Manch, to expose people outside Maharashtra to the struggle they face. While we refuse to be cowed down by the possibility of another attack on the platform by right-wing fascists, we write on this platform seeking support. The Songs of Protest is followed by Reel Revolution on the 8th of September (showcasing the project Word Sound Power and the art of Anand Patwardhan) and culminates on the 15th of September with the Dissent Conference.
From the very beginning, the simple fact that we decided to call ourselves ‘Kranti’ has made many potential collaborators uneasy. Especially after the Pune attack and the increased consciousness of how shamelessly political we have chosen to be, our sponsors are pulling out and event spaces have cancelled on us.
These three events put together have a total budget of about Rs. 3 lakhs. Out of this, we have been compelled to take a loan on our personal accounts of up to Rs. 2 lakhs and have as of now been able to raise close to a lakh rupees. Kranti itself is not affiliated to any NGOs and has refused to solicit funds from corporate (not that they’d give us any!). Educational institutions have shied away from enabling this campaign because of the political position we have chosen to take.
Here, we make a sincere request to all progressive persons who believe that it is important for students of India to resurrect political discussion amongst students outside of the student wings of political parties: Please support us, be it by way of donating funds (even if in small amounts as Rs. 5000/- and also note that our institution has been kind enough to enable 80G Tax exemption certificates for donations routed through its accounts), by putting us in touch with resource person and spaces which would like to guide us and enable us (for example, make it easier for us to reach media or help us by offering auditoriums at reduced prices) or in any other way that you can imagine.
Prem Ayyathurai and Sahana Manjesh
Our Facebook page is here.
You can contact us on phone on the following numbers – Prem: 09743160640 and Sahana: 09886453418.
Join us in our journey as we discover and reclaim the culture of dissent. Spread the word about us. You can also contribute by organising events in solidarity with us, or through small donations. If you wish to know more, we’d love to hear from you! You can contact us at +91 9886453418/9743160640 or write to us at [email protected]
Dissent, in society, has deep roots in artistic expression. At Kranti, we realised that the most powerful way to understand the social movements of the oppressed in India was to listen to its music. On the 7th of September, Kranti showcases the music and performances of three names that have come to be identified as the voices of the oppressed –
the fearless Kabir Kala Manch,
the indomitable Lokshahir Sambhaji Bhagat