‘Nirankusha: Fearless Speak’

November, 2014

‘Fearless Speak’ foregrounded instances and attempts of negotiation, slippage and elusion, within the works of independent artists and media practitioners. The festival emerged as a collective response to the rising threat to the freedom of speech and expression in the country. The intent of the festival is to create a space for fearless speech and listening through collaborations with artists, activists and academics whose work raises questions around censorship, sedition, free speech and expression, identity and discrimination.

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

Featured works

Sudalaiamma (Gravedigger) by Marappachi features a female graveyard worker who is determined to grant a decent burial to an ‘encountered’ young man’s body of a much loved political activist.

Koogaimaravaacigal (The Dwellers of Hunger Caves) by Manal Magudi Theatre Land uses myth and legends to raise fundamental questions around violence, custodial rapes, displacement, evictions, torture faced particularly by dalit and tribal communities.

Colours of Trans by Panmai Theatre uses cabaret scenes, monologues, stories and dances about the illicit bodies and unwritten life stories of transmen and transwomen.

Walk by Maya Rao is a response to the Delhi 2012 gang rape incident; a monologue directed at the notion of safe and unsafe public spaces.

Kabir Kala Manch sing songs of dissent to convey alternate versions of truth that are otherwise censored from mainstream media around the politics of caste, communalism and patriarchy.

Conversation with Tenzin Tsundue & Abhishek Majumdar on Tibet moderated by Lawrence Liang to provoke a dialogue on the role of poetry and prose as a lie detector of our times.

Emergency Control Room an audio installation produced by maraa focusing on the disturbances and distortions on censorship, discrimination and  resistance in the media sector.

Museum of Interruptions, an visual exhibition on censorship curated by the Alternative Law Forum.

Illicit Bodies, a series of intimate encounters with law, of lawyers with trouble, of art makers with legality through performance curated by Suresh Kumar.


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.