IT is both apt and reductive that two images dominate others as Girish Karnad is remembered on social media: one, with Gauri Lankesh, protesting the killing of Karnad’s fellow Dharwadian Prof M S Kalburgi; the other, wearing the MeTooUrbanNaxal placard, at the memorial to mark the first anniversary of Gauri Lankesh’s own killing. Over the past few years, Karnad was seen as one of the most consistent, fearless and principled defenders of freedom of speech, cultural diversity and democracy.
THIRTY years ago the well-known political activist and a stalwart of street theatre Safdar Hashmi was brutally attacked while he and his colleagues belonging to the street theatre group Jan Natya Manch, were performing a play in a worker's colony near Sahibabad. Hashmi was not able to survive the brutal assault and he succumbed to his injuries twenty-four hours later on January 2, 1989.
IT was on January 1, 1989, that the Delhi-based theatre group Jana Natya Manch (Janam) was performing its play HallaBol just outside Delhi, in Jhandapur, Site IV Industrial Area, Ghaziabad. The play was attacked by local goons with the patronage of the Congress party. In this brutal attack, in broad daylight, Safdar Hashmi, the convernor of Janam, and Ram Bahadur, a young migrant worker from Nepal, were killed. While Ram Bahadur died on the spot; Safdar Hashmi died in hospital the following day, January 2.
IN a statement issued on December 23, prominent artists of Bengal film industry, noted that the way in which the organisers of the Ajmer Literature Festival in Rajasthan, buckling under the pressure of some militant ‘Hindutva’ groups, called off an event set to be addressed by veteran thespian Naseeruddin Shah, is a matter of great concern for all those who want to see our country strong and united rather than fragmented. The 68-year old actor was due to deliver the keynote address at the beginning of the festival on December 21.
IT is unusual for this paper to discuss a movie. But Kaala is an unusual movie. Of course all movies end with the hero defeating the villain or the ‘victory of the good over evil’. In that sense, Kaala is also a usual movie. It is the timing, the issues that are discussed and the political symbolism that layer the movie, which makes it unusual. Discussing the technical details, the treatment of the plot or the performances of the actors, is not the intent here. The intent is to dwell on the politics of the issues and the symbolism employed in the movie.
CPI(M) Polit Bureau has issued the following statement on April 28.
THE Communist Party of India (Marxist) expresses its opposition to the agreement (MOU) arrived at between the ministry of tourism, ministry of culture and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Dalmia Bharat Limited which virtually hands over the iconic Red Fort in Delhi to the Dalmia group for a period of five years in exchange for a payment of 25 crores.
ON January 1, Jana Natya Manch (JANAM) and the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) jointly organised a cultural programme and public meeting to commemorate the 29th Martyrdom Day of Comrade Safdar Hashmi at Dr Ambedkar Park, Jhandapur in Sahibabad Site IV.
THE setting up of Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (Sahmat) was a spontaneous and organic response to the murder of a street theater activist, known for his commitment to the democratic and secular principles that undergirded the promise of Indian independence. Since it came into being in 1989, Sahmat has stood for preserving the very values that defined Safdar’s public work. And for those of us, whose path has ever crossed Delhi knows and looks forward to the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Day on January 1 every year.