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Friday, October 19, 2012

Poetry of Protest - 3

When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty. - Thomas Jefferson

Continuing from the series of Poetry of Protest Part 1 and Part 2, we are looking more in the power of protest. Protest is a sign of repression to overlook voice of love, reason and critical criticism. Looking for the identity, dignity, autonomy and culture in current scenario across globe, the inertia of the tradition can only be resisted by individuals of great integrity and confidence. Out of disobedience one starts being an individual.

We live in a arbit society where pregnancies, marriages and divorces of D-type celebrities became the national news but there comes a threshold where the public's right to be informed on the matters like naxalism and corruption takes back seats.With the loss of confidence, the capacity of outrage goes. We are living in the ages where even speaking against Sachin Tandulkar, Shivaji Maharaja and Dr. Ambedkar is considered sin leave aside deemed demigods. The one sided movement of striking a balance between freedom of speech and respecting cultural sensitivities has been a waste effort. History of liberty has preceded repressive culture and will survive them.

Most well-meaning citizens are alienated from the horrible plight of the exploitation, displacement and dispossession region. Even our outraged is selective as eloquently put by Shivam Vij - The Muslims are outraged by Satanic Verses and the Hindus by MF Husain's paintings and the Dalits by an Ambedkar cartoon and in each case we end up with censorship rather than freedom. We choose whose freedom we want to support. We are selective in our support and in our outrage.

How much of our past must we abandon? How much of present is worth carrying forward ? And where is our golden age lying.. in the past or in future.. surely not present with its complex realities. Not everyone can theoretically understand the complex reality but few has undeniable ability to put this in lyrics. To be logical is never meant to be right. That is why we all love poetry as this is full of emotion even playing with words for this. Only poets can write with an invisible, polite, but absolute aura that appeal to our irrational mind. Spirit of poets transcends the fabric of time, spreads through their best and worst times of the civilization. And they will always present to create an unanswerable dilemma for the powerful elders of a community. What people cannot ask and talk with each other, they will google secretly. They will inquire into the origins of power with an audacity of hope.

No repressed individual can be creative. I may sound radical but Pussy Riot's punk prayer or the rap of Afro-American is sign of pure protest poetry against their social and political regime. Even the time of bollywood's pop patriotism is gone with upcoming of new generation. We will track down every bit of words written by Gorakh Pandey, Baba Nagarjun, Muktibodh, Gaddar, Nirala and Dhoomil against our state because great literature rarely goes into oblivion.

1- Poets of Protest : This series delves into the soul of the Middle East with intimate profiles of poets who seek to interpret and inspire.

2- The poetry of revolution : Tunisia's uprisings were started neither by political action nor a military coup, but by a regime of banners and chants.

3- Only people who are very intelligent and very unhappy can write good poems. Poet's ability to shut off their part of the mind even while the world is in turn-moil. This mean that poet had no more connection with the present. The poet seek solace with in the past or future like a ghost.Such a heavy price for a piece of art. Only the purest poet like dervish allow poems in their heart at the time of their revolution. - Orhan Pamuk through Poet 'KA' in Snow.

Sometimes, I crib too much and behave like cynic. Yet, somehow I always feel inside that a voice of protest is more essential than being indifferent and ignorant to the whole scenario. Thanks to Annie Zaidi for quoting a great anecdote supporting my gut feeling from an article written by one of my favorite journalist Johann Hari :  "In 1966, the specialists at the Pentagon went to US President Lyndon Johnson – a thug prone to threatening to “crush” entire elected governments – with a plan to end the Vietnam War: nuke the country. They “proved”, using their computer modeling, that a nuclear attack would “save lives.” It was a plan that might well have appealed to him. But Johnson pointed out the window, towards the hoardes of protesters, and said: “I have one more problem for your computer. Will you feed into it how long it will take 500,000 angry Americans to climb the White House wall out there and lynch their President?” He knew that there would be a cost – in protest and democratic revolt – that made that cruelty too great. In 1970, the same plan was presented to Richard Nixon – and we now know from the declassified documents that the biggest protests ever against the war made him decide he couldn't do it. Those protesters went home from those protests believing they had failed – but they had succeeded in preventing a nuclear war. They thought they were impotent, just as so many of us do – but they really had power beyond their dreams to stop a nightmare."

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