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Nirankusha: Loud and Clear 

March, 2016

The second edition of Nirankusha took place in a climate where any opinions and actions in disagreement with dominant forms of nationalism, were subject to arbitrary crackdowns and labelled ‘anti- national’. With a right wing government in power, a particular view nationalism has begun to claim universality, guided and shaped by particular political forces. Through a manipulation of the law, and brute physical force, these forces are attempting to fracture any resistance to their political and economic agenda.

The festival was organized in collaboration with the Alternative Law Forum and Pedestrian Pictures.

Featured works:

Resilient Voices: New imaginations of Solidarity | Student workshop

‘Resilient voices’ was a workshop with students from public and private universities in Bangalore, as well as students out of college contexts, who are affiliated with various student led forums and groups. In light of recent attacks on freedom of expression at various universities across the country (JNU, HCU, IIT Madras, FTII) the workshop was conceptualized as an interaction between students from different colleges, disciplines and background to identify commons struggles and understand differences. The workshop was an attempt to situate local contexts and developments within a larger political framework where dissent is being suppressed and resistance fractured.

Fearless Speech, Fearless Expression| Public talks

Fearless Speech, Fearless Expression comprised of two panel discussions that looked at two pressing issues, given the political climate in the country: the construction of nationalism and trial by media. The intention was to provide layered and nuanced perspectives on both topics, that run the risk of getting confined within binaries. On the question of nationalism, speakers provided perspectives on political economy, culture studies, caste and communalism and how each of these relates to the construct of nationalism. In the session on Trial by Media, the consequences of monopoly ownership and TRPs, potential and challenges of alternative media, censorship and public opinion, and gendering of media, were discussed.

‘Voices from the Belly’ | Performance

‘Voices from the Belly’ was conceptualized as a a journey across landscapes, history and memory.. Featuring Kaladas Deheriya (Chhattisgarh), Yalgaar (Maharashtra), Sumathi Murthy (Karnataka), Indian Folk Band (Karnataka), Space theatre ensemble (Goa), Voices from the Belly was a series of performances of protest music, poetry and movement. Through songs and storytelling, each performance brought to light experiences of censorship, arrests, social injustice and inequality from different parts of the country.