Artistes unite to fight ideology of hate

December 3, 2019

first_imgIn an unprecedented move, more than 450 artistes from across India, representing various fields of art, have come together under the banner of Artists Unite! to sign a declaration that speaks “for democracy, and against hate”. The declaration,signed by a galaxy of stars from the world of art,literature, music, fine arts, cinema and theatre cautions that the ongoing assault on culture is an attack on democracy and asserted that “democracy is not a majoritarian project to identify enemies and enforce uniformity of language, behaviour and culture. Democracy is the celebration of a collective will for peace, of living together with dignity and equality.” “We will fight hate with love. We will counter violence with peace,” the artistes say in the declaration, adding, “Through our images, speech, words, music and bodies we will resist the cultural destruction of India.” The signatories include, among others, artists Atul Dodiya, Nalini Malini, Ranbir Kaleka, Sudhir Patwardhan, Venkat Raman Singh Shyam and Vivan Sundaram; art critic and historian Geeta Kapur; dancers Aditi Mangaldas, Astad Deboo, Mallika Sarabhai and Navtej Johar; filmmakers Anand Patwardhan, Chitra Palekar, Kabir Khan, Kiran Rao, Nandita Das, Saeed Akhtar Mirza and Shonali Bose; screenwriters Anjum Rajabali, Vinay Shukla and Shama Zaidi; actors Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah; musicians Neela Bhagwat, Rahul Ram, T. M. Krishna and Vidya Rao; photographers Dayanita Singh and Sudharak Olwe; poets Adil Jussawala, Ashok Vajpayi, K. Satchidanandan and Mangalesh Dabral; puppeteer Dadi Pudumjee; theatre practitioners Mahesh Dattani, Mahesh Eklunchwar and Sunil Shanbag; and; writers Arundhati Roy, G.N. Devy, Jerry Pinto, Meena Kandasamy, Shanta Gokhale, Shashi Deshpande and Vishnu Nagar.The “Artists Unite!” platform also announced a national convention in the Capital next year on February 16 and 17. Similar events will be held simultaneously nation-wide, on the same dates, in Bhubaneshwar, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, and Patna.“The idea behind the convention is to weigh in with a collective voice, and with a creative energy that makes arts and literature a site of resistance to the hate politics that is sweeping the country,” it states. The seeds of Artists Unite! were laid during the “Not In My Name” campaign against mob lynching. It has come up in response to the growing climate of segregation and intolerance in the country. According to the declaration, that took about two months to take shape, “new cultural narratives are being spawned by this ideology of hate, imbued with a sense of victimhood, revenge, aggression, and violence that has manifested itself in many forms, from horrific acts of lynching to the murderous attacks on writers and artists, the violent disruption of cultural events, destruction of educational and cultural institutions and the rewriting of school text-books. The emancipatory and spiritual possibilities of culture are being replaced by a language that relies solely on war cries, propaganda, and the images, metaphors, visions and sounds of supremacy.”According to Sharmila Samant, one of the Mumbai-based organisers, the idea is to not see Indian culture as monolithic, to not limit the campaign to just Delhi-Mumbai, to be inclusive and not exclude any art form or artistes, “be they traditional practitioners or contemporary artistes, writers or film-makers”. “We have had a syncretic art and culture tradition be it song, dance, miniatures or even food and architecture. Hatred, segregation and separatism don’t make sense [within it]. The art forms and artists have to grow, while accepting influences of a rich cultural heritage than being insular,” she says.last_img

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