Update : Srijanotsav: Festival of Creativity, Resistance and People's Struggles

All around us we see the attempt to suppress and render invisible people struggles under the weight of aggressive advertising by companies and governments dressing up loot as 'development'. At such a time, Jan Sanskriti Manch organised 'Srijanotsav' (festival of creativity) dedicated to the memory of people's poet Nagarjun from 12-14 March. Inaugurating the festival, JSM General Secretary Pranay Krishna said that it was a step in the direction of trying to bring the daily struggles, movements and creative forms in a variety of languages and dialects on to one platform. Before the inaugural address, cultural activist and icon of dalit resistance Bant Singh sang an inspiring song celebrating the spirit of daughters fighting for justice.

Pranay Krishna said that while the culture peddled by the ruling class and market was presented as 'national culture,' in fact the national culture of the working class is yet to be apparent. Adivasis are reduced to being a decorative and exotic component of ruling class elite culture - rid of their history and continuing spirit of struggle and resistance. He said that Nagarjun's whole life and creative work was a product of people's struggles. This year was the Birth Centenary year of not only Nagarjun but also Kedarnath Agarwal, Shamsher, Agyeya and Faiz, and JSM would in the course of the year organise events to commemorate all these poets and writers.

Maithili writer Ashok as well as Lokyuddh editor Brij Bihari Pandey also addressed the inaugural session. In the course of the festival, Hirawal (Patna) presented a play by Bhartendu Harishchandra in a new way that made it resonate with contemporary issues of state terror. Dasta (Banaras) sang sings by the revolutionary poet Valmik Jaunpuri, writer Hari Om presented poetry by Faiz Ahmad Faiz.

A exhibition of paintings (prepared with the help of painter Ashok Bhowmik) displayed reproductions of paintings by Chiitoprasad, Jainul Abdin and Somenath Hoare. Bronze sculpture and sketches by young sculptor and painter Manoj Pankaj, paintings by Madhulika Pankaj on the theme of women's struggles, and paintings by young painter Anupam Ray on the theme of the Commonwealth Games workers were also displayed.

Kandir, a group of performers from Kolkata presented a play called 'Talent Hunt' satirising reality shows, Baul performers presented haunting music, and folk dances were presented by performers from Jogiya (Kushinagar) and Jharkhand JSM's all-woman team Prerna.

Poetry recitals too were a highlight of the festival – by Dinesh Kumar shukla, Shambhu Badal, and Ramashankar Vidrohi.

JSM's Begusarai team presented a play based on Nagarjun's poem 'Harijan Gatha' – the last event in the festival.

Sudhir Suman

Liberation Archive