Fifty-one days later, the women of Shaheen Bagh are still going strong; the 24×7 sit-in protests against the NRC and CAA continue even despite threats of violence and actual gunshots. Those who’ve been to Shaheen Bagh know that this is a peaceful movement, everyone’s welcome and there’s enough chai to last the night, every night.
Singer Saba Azad says, “The best kind of retort to the vocabulary of violence and hate is the language of art and music so, overnight, a call was taken by a collective of citizens, artists, journalists and activists to stage a six-day music and arts festival, leading up to the Delhi elections.”
And so, ‘Artists Against Communalism’ was born, to underscore—as emphatically as possible—the language of love at Shaheen Bagh.
A series of phone calls and an overnight mobilisation of artists, comedians, musicians, actors and dancers—Azad responds when we asked her how the dream of Artists Against Communalism was realised. “Citizens pooled their resources from across the country and some of the biggest names in the performing arts volunteered their time and talents almost immediately to the cause,” she says, her voice brimming with hope.
The line-up, as a result of the group’s efforts, includes some of the biggest and brightest performers and collectives in the country such as Aisi Taisi Democracy, Kusha Kapila, Prateek Kuhad, Shubha Mudgal, Peter Cat Recording Co., Prabh Deep, and Sumit Roy.
The festival is on till 07 February 2020—the day before Delhi goes to polls—which is also when Aisi Taisi Democracy’s Sanjay Rajoura and Rahul Ram will be performing. There’s a new line-up every single day and here’s what’s happening at Shaheen Bagh today:
The goal of this unique festival is to counter the the false narrative being built around the Anti-CAA and NRC protests, Azad explains.
“Goli nahin, phool!”