For Kabir Kala Manch art is much more than a medium of entertainment. It’s a tool to denounce injustice, mobilise the oppressed, prepare them for struggle, create consciousness and bring about positive change.
The manch, which is a group of students and professionals, has been making people aware on various social issues through their forceful shahiri and street plays in the city.
The group comprises writers, composers and talented performers who impress the audience with their thoughtful compositions and presentations.
The Gujarat riots in 1992 inspired the artistes to come together and use their art for awareness. Drawing inspiration from Kabir’s compositions, with social messages, they chose to name their group after the sant who has commented on various issues in his dohas.
“People like Kabir, Pablo Picasso and others who used their art for bringing in revolutionary changes are our ideals,” said one of the members Sagar Gorkhe.
The absence of glamour or showy tactics makes their performance more effective. The words are direct, hitting you straight and the message is loud and clear, forcing you to think and act.
The force comes from a thoughtful study of the issues, whether its farmers’ suicides, atrocities on the backward section, violence against women, casteism, Hindu-Muslim riots, terrorism, students’ issues, regional issues like naxalism in Jharkhand or capitalism in Bengal.
Sagar Gorkhe said, “We have a library with over 500 books on a wide variety of subjects from law, various ideologies, thinkers, issues, caste system and its evolution, capitalism, economic inequality and various social revolutions all over the world. We make it a point to study all the aspects of an issue before taking it up.”
Whether its ‘Tanta thambva, Budakhali Andhar; Rajyat Bharla Gundancha Bazaar, Mazya Dehatun Ya Aag Krantichi Vahate, Ani Vidrohachi He Sapaan Balicha Pahate or Savitrichya Lekiho Saad Ghalti Jagaala, Pankh Levun Navyache Haak Deti Abhalala….the compositions seldom miss the target. The message is driven home through the use of local dialects, simple words and direct style without mincing words.
The group performs at programmes and meetings related to various issues. They also hold programmes at colleges and schools. Street play is another strong medium used to reach out to people.
The group has brought out two CDs Yeo Balicha Raaj and Jaati Antaachi Kahani while two other CDs will hit the market soon.
“Our aim is clear. We do not wish to get into commercialisation nor will we go with any political party or non-government organisation. We wish to make people aware and motivate them to fight injustice. We aim at individuals and not at groups or communities. It’s only when individuals will rise to revolt that a change will come,” said Gorkhe.
The scripts, direction and dialogues are managed by the group members. They also hold workshops on composing songs, singing, performing street plays and skits. They come together for practice at their office near Alka theatre every morning.