Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Kabir Kala Manch - Why Are They Underground?

In this video renowned filmmaker Anand Patwardhan, Ratna Pathak Shah, IPS Sudhakar Suradkar and CPI's Prakash Reddy talk about Kabir kala Manch and what their songs mean to them.

Jai Bhim Comrade a documentary film by Anand Patwardhan on the continuing atrocities inflicted on Dalits and on their resistance to this through poetry and music, recently won a National Film Award. On the 19th of April the government of Maharashtra further honoured the National awardees, and Anand Patwardhan received Rs.51,000 for Jai Bhim Comrade.

A different fate is currently being faced by members of the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) who feature prominently in the film Jai Bhim Comrade. While Deepak Dengle is in prison, many other members including lead singer-poets Sheetal Sathe, Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor and Sachin Mali and a few others have gone underground after threats from the police. All are all charged with being Naxalites and the ATS is using an uncritical media, like the Indian Express, to plant regular allegations against KKM. Even these allegations do not accuse the KKM of any violence, but is dependent on guilt by association.

It is not so long ago that Dr. Binayak Sen was similarly charged and jailed for close to 3 years before the Supreme Court intervened to grant him bail. Binayak Sen had by then become an international cause célèbre. It was hoped that his release on bail would put a brake on the targeting of innocent civilians for the mere "crime" of taking up the cause of the poor.

The attack on KKM shows that this is not the case and consequently many Indian citizens have decided to initiate a Kabir Kala Manch Defense Committee.Anand Patwardhan will donate the Rs.51,000 he received from the government of Maharashtra towards this committee and will be amongst the several speakers at the Press Conference.

Visit http://kabirkalamanch.wordpress.com for updates.

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