Mumbai: “I knew about the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) but wasn’t aware of the extent of the atrocities carried out against the group. Anand Patwardhan (filmmaker) and Ramu Ramanathan (playwright) drew my attention to the matter,” Girish Karnad told this correspondent over the telephone.
The award-winning Bangalore-based playwright will be in the city tomorrow for the launch of Kabir Kala Manch’s album Hee Amchi Gani—Aamcha Gunha Kay? (These Are Our Songs — What Is Our Crime?) at Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh.
KKM is a group of dalit protest singers and poets from Pune who convey their socio-political critique through their songs and street plays. In May last year, two singers from the group — Deepak Dengle and Siddharth Bhonsle — were arrested by the Maharashtra anti-terrorist squad under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for being “pro-Maoist”. Following their arrest, other key members of the group went underground.
The album, a compilation of 11 songs, is the result of the efforts of the Kabir Kala Manch defence committee, which was inaugurated in May this year. Ironically, the committee came into being when Patwardhan set aside the Rs 51,000 he was awarded by the Maharashtra government for winning a national award for his documentary Jai Bhim Comrade on the life and politics of dalits.
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