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Rebellion through Art

India is seeing an innovative revival amid the anti-CAA and anti-NRC protests. This time, Art has taken the forefront in this nationwide agitation against the act, and is certainly going to leave an honorable legacy for its posterity.

Art against oppression – who would have imagined that India of 2020 will wake up to its zenith of dissent through legions of creative renditions, reawakening the spirit of European Renaissance in the colors of Tiranga. The controversial act passed by the Modi-Shah government, became the impetus for this historical movement and has mobilized the people to bring the ideals of the Constitution, in play, and oh-so-artistically.

The Poetic Rebellion:

“Poetry is the lifeblood of rebellion, revolution, and the raising of consciousness.”

In the light of the above quote by Alice Walker, budding writers in today’s revolutionary India have redefined ‘dissent’ , by letting their words take the lead.

Amir Aziz’s, ‘Mai Inkaar karta hun’ and ‘Jamia Ki ladkiya’; Sumit Sapra’s poem, ‘Kya sirf Kagzaat puchoge’, and Iqra Khilji’s, ‘Dharti to ye gulzar hai, pairon tale angaar hai’ to name a few, have put forth a striking and poetic show of resistance. The chorus of Varun Grover’s poem, ‘Hum kagaz naii dikhaengey’, became, through and through, the anthem of the protests.

While poetry continued to resound through protests, some of the musicians like, Rahul Negi a.k.a Madara who came up with ‘Tukde Tukde Gang’, Naqaab47 and shoals with,  ‘Andolan’ , Gaurav Kadu’s, ‘Bakre ki Amma’, which is a comic stand on the recent political unrest, and so many others, also contributed significantly to the nationwide resistance.

From the Archives:

From the echoing of age old slogan, ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ to Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s revolutionary poems, ‘Hum Dekhengey’, and ‘Bol ki lab aazad hain tere’, taking the lead, by breaking the shallow boundaries of divisive politics, we witnessed the resurfacing of literature, which became relevant for contemporary India.

Famous Urdu poet, Rahat Indori’s, ‘Sabhi ka khoon hai shamil yahan ki mitti mai, kisi ke baap ka Hindustan thodi hai’, called to the minds of those who have forgotten about the magnanimous history of India’s freedom struggle. Habib Jalib’s poem, ‘Dastoor’ marked its presence, while, ‘Mere seene maii nahi to tere seene mai sahi; ho kahin bhi aag lekin aag jalni chaiye’, by Dushyant Kumar kept the flame of dissent burning.

The hues that echoed the call:

Credits: Yusuf Aziz

The originating idea behind graffiti was finding platforms for free expression and creative rebellion. Students of Jamia Millia Islamia took forward this culture of ‘mischievous art’ and brought alive their words by flamboyantly painting walls and roads, in and around campus.

A novel way of protesting that has emerged are digital-doodles. Minimalistic sketches with ample dialogues have took over the virtual world and are highly in vogue.

This unrest and commotion of bubbling images, also hold the ability to give an artistic and aesthetic attribute to the resistance.

The ‘Gen Z’ style:

Think about the ‘protest art’ and you are likely to imagine certain clichés from the bygone era. But today, a new medium of protest art is reigning: memes. Since the beginning of the protests, memes became a breeding ground for political identities and messages. They became the reflection of democratic values, just with a humorous approach. Internet is flooded with memes taking a dig at the BJP government and the political duo of Modi-Shah. But, the humor should not be mistaken as ‘senseless jokes’, internet joking is a serious political commentary in today’s time.

Adding to this, certain quirky videos by content creators on the internet, gave a huge momentum to the protests. Instagram stories and Facebook posts proliferated opinions faster than fire. This is the new generation’s way of showing its criticism for the oppressive measures of the current government.

Credits: Imgflip

As creative and intellectual exposure unfurl, the art of protesting has metamorphosed, evolving into a form which is to become the testimony to the genius of dissenter today, the ingenuity in their approaches of resenting in such tumultuous times prove that the protester is an artist.

India is seeing an innovative revival amid the anti-CAA and anti-NRC protests. This time, Art has taken the forefront in this nationwide agitation against the act, and is certainly going to leave an honorable legacy for its posterity.

Nuzhat Khan
BA (Hons) English, Jamia Millia Islamia

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