Tag Archives: Girish Karnad

Support pours in for arrested Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali


, TNN | Apr 21, 2013, 0

Support pours in for arrested 'Naxal' duo
Letters of support have been pouring in from all over the world, including countries like France, Canada, UK, Thailand, Portugal and Germany, for the jailed couple  of Kabir Kala Manch, Sheetal Sathe ansd Sachin Mali
MUMBAI: Letters of support have been pouring in from all over the world, including countries like France, Canada, UK, Thailand, Portugal and Germany, for the jailed couple of Kabir Kala Manch, Sheetal Sathe ansd Sachin Mali, written in English and French, request the Arthur Road and the Byculla women’s prison authorities to not torture the two inmates and provide medical aid to the woman, who is six months pregnant.Till date, authorities have received over 30 letters via fax and over 50 from across the world. Home minister R R Patil too has received similar letters. One of the letters, addressed to Vinod Lokhande, inspector general (prisons), stated, “I am writing to you out of concern for theatre activists Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali, who were arrested on April 2 on various charges, including criminal conspiracy and being part of a banned outfit. Their lives are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.”

Fed up with the continuous letters, jail officials have switched off the fax machine. “We don’t have so much stationery. All letters are almost same, only the senders are different. The fax letters do not show the location or country code, from where they are being sent,” said a source. After Sathe and Mali’s surrender under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), activists Prakash Ambedkar, Prakash Reddy, Anand Patwardhan and others said the two are members of Kabir Kala Manch, a cultural outfit.

“In appearing before the police, KKM members state that this act should not be construed to be a “surrender” but as a form of “satyagraha” to clear their names and establish the fact that their goal is to fight for justice within the confines of democratic conduct,” said a statement signed by Ambedkar, Patwardhan and others.


Inspired by Victor Jara – keep singing and keep resisting Sheetal and Sachin …You are not alone.



Here is wishing Sachin  Mali and Sheeta Sathe- ‘ Happy Baisakhi”. You are behind bars for singing in India and … And this is in the largest democracy in the world?

Thanks to Lalita  Ramdas for bringing us notice the  song about , Victor Jara, the martyred Chilean folk artist, who demonstrated defiance in the face of hopelessness and rage and was memorialized in Holly Near’s lyrics:


The junta cut the fingers from Victor Jara’s hands
and said to the gentle poet ‘Play your guitar now if you can.’
But Victor kept on singing ‘til they shot his body down.
You can kill a man but not his song when it’s sung the whole world round.

Chilean Political Singer and activist Victor Jara, murdered by dictator Pinochets troops on 15th September 1973. This followed the military coup on 9/11 1973 which overthrew the democratically elected government led by Salvator Allende. Allende was found dead in La Moneda (Presedential Palace) beside an AK47 given to him by Fidel Castro, allegedly after commiting suicide. Victor Jara, after singing a political song to other prisoners in the National Stadium, has his fingers and ribs smashed by Pinochets troops

It could have been me, but instead it was you
And it maybe me dear sisters and brothers before we are through
But if you can fight for freedom, Freedom, Freedom, freedom
If you can fight for Freedom, I can too”

So keep singing and keep resisting Sheetal and Sachin …You are not alone.




The thin line between dissent and rebellion- Kabir Kala Manch


Why is a radical Dalit cultural group , Kabir Kala Manch and its members being persecuted in Maharashtra?

Sunaina Kumar

Sunaina Kumar

2013-04-20 , , Issue 

Angry verse A poster by Kabir Kala Manch

For the past two years, Sheetal Sathe had not been seen, but her songs continued to haunt our consciousness. The young singer with the soul-stirring voice was portrayed as a symbol of hope in Jai Bhim Comrade, Anand Patwardhan’s searing documentary on the Dalits of Maharashtra. Sathe, a member of the Pune-based cultural group of Dalit protest singers and poets, Kabir Kala Manch, was branded a Naxalite in 2011. Since then she had been underground, along with Sachin Mali and Sagar Gorkhe and three other members of the group.

On 2 April, Sathe and Mali surfaced in full media glare, staged a ‘satyagraha’ outside the Vidhan Bhavan in Mumbai, and courted arrest. As they were taken into custody, Sathe retained her fieriness and raised slogans as she was whisked into the police jeep.

Sathe and Mali (both 27, married and expecting their first child) are facing charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), Mali was retained in ATS (Anti-Terrorism Squad) custody, and Sathe sent to judicial custody on compassionate grounds until 17 April.

The recent ruling by the Bombay High Court granting bail to Kabir Kala Manch members Deepak Dengle and Siddharth Bhonsle, who were arrested in May 2011 (along with Angela Sontakke, a member of the banned CPI(Maoist), still behind bars) gave hope to the disbanded cultural group and led to the decision of Sathe and Mali to come out of hiding. The high court declared that mere sympathy to Maoist ideology does not incriminate a person, and none of the Kabir Kala Manch members can be said to be active members of CPI(Maoist).

Through music and poetry, Kabir Kala Manch took up the cause of social inequality, exploitation of the underclasses, farmer suicides, female infanticide, Dalit killings and the widening net of corruption. Patwardhan of the Kabir Kala Manch Defence Committee, made up of civil society activists, says that Kabir Kala Manch members are at an impressionable age where their ideological thinking is still in process and their work covers a wide spectrum of political ideas such as Ambedkarism, socialism and Marxism. “I have known them since 2007 and can vouch for the fact that they have never taken up arms,” says Patwardhan.

Kabir Kala Manch was formed in Pune in 2002 in the wake of the Gujarat riots and made up of students and young professionals who performed protest poetry and plays in slums and streets, shaking up the cultural scene in Pune as they presented a voice for the voiceless. Both Mali’s and Sathe’s academic backgrounds are exemplary; Sathe being a gold medallist and post graduate from Pune University.

Mumbai-based lawyer and activist Kamayani Bali Mahabal, also a member of the Kabir Kala Manch Defence Committee, says that the existence of the group is crucial as they create space for dissent through shayari and songs that are much more effective than speeches. “They are responsible artists who interpret art as a catalyst for social change. Unfortunately, for the State there is no distinction between Dalit protesters and activists and Naxalites,” says Mahabal, who was exposed to their work through Jai Bhim Comrade.

Mihir Desai, the lawyer for Sathe and Mali, says the defence is waiting for the Anti- Terrorism Squad to complete its investigation and file a supplementary chargesheet.

“A lot of people who fight for radical changes in society get attracted to different ideologies, but as the Bombay High Court stated, as long as you don’t act in pursuance of those ideologies, you are not guilty,” says Desai.

Despite repeated attempts, TEHELKA was unable to reach the Anti-Terrorism Squad.

Patwardhan says that the case against the Kabir Kala Manch proves that the State does not tolerate the voice of weaker sections of society. “In our democracy, only the upper-class elites are allowed to have a voice,” he says.

Kabir Kala Manch member and poet Deepak Dengle, who is out on bail after two years in prison, penned a poem in jail called Kis kis ko qaid karoge, mocking those who imprison lovers of freedom. The stirring words of the poem promise that the young revolutionaries will not be kept quiet for long.



Kabir Kala Manch CD Release- Video


Jnanpith award-winning writer and actor  Girish Karnad presided at the Music CD release function that was organised for Kabir Kala Manch at the Marathi Patrakar Sangh in Mumbai on October 4. The function was organised by the Kabir Kala Manch Defence Committee, which is protesting against the injustice the group has been facing.


‘Artists must stick together’, says writer-director-actor Girish Karnad


October 5, 2012 12:00:00 AM ISTMTG editorial

The Jnanpith award-winning writer Girish Karnad presided at the Music CD release function that was organised for Kabir Kala Manch at the Marathi Patrakar Sangh in Mumbai on October 4. The function was organised by theKabir Kala Manch Defence Committee, which is protesting against the injustice the group has been facing.

Girish Karnad

Kabir Kala Manch is a group mainly consisting of Dalit students and professionals from Pune who have been creating awareness about social issues through their Shahiri, protest songs and street plays. The group however found itself implicated by the State of Maharastra for alleged links to Maoists and Naxalites. Two of the group’s members- Deepak Dengle and Siddharth Bhonsle are in prison while other singer-poets and members of the group like Sheetal Sathe are underground for fear that they too might be wrongly imprisoned.

Their CD album titled ‘Hi Amchi Gani – Amcha Gunha Kay?’ (‘These are our songs- What is our crime?’) makes for spirited music decked in folk-form and is a compilation of 11 songs from their earlier two albums.

Girish Karnad while speaking at the programme said that the State cannot wrongly implicate people on the basis of draconian laws such as the UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act). Upholding Lokmanya Tilak‘s quote that ‘Swaraj is my birthright’; the veteran artist added that rebellion is the right of every individual too. He also said that in these times, artists must stick together. Other invited guests included advocate Mihir Desai, IPS officer Sudhakar SuradkarComrade Reddy and Dolly Thakore.

Click here for Kabir Kala Manch’s Songs and Poems

For further information visit https://kabirkalamanch.wordpress.com/

विद्रोह हा प्रत्येकाचा जन्मसिद्ध हक्क आहे – डॉ. गिरीश कर्नाड




कबीर कला मंच च्या सीडीचे प्रकाशन

मुंबई / अजेयकुमार जाधव

आज प्रत्येक स्वतंत्र नागरिकांना विद्रोह माझा जन्मसिद्ध हक्क आहे हे बोलण्याचा अधिकार आहे असे मत सुप्रसिद्ध नाट्य सिनेकलावंत डॉ. गिरीश कर्नाड यांनी व्यक्त केले.कबीर कला मंचच्या गाण्यांच्या सीडीचे प्रकाशन कर्नाड यांच्या हस्ते करण्यात आले त्यावेळी टे बोलत होते.

कोणत्याही कलाकारांच्या विरोधात अन्याय झाल्यास त्याचा निषेध करायलाच हवा.कबीर काल मंच हा दलित सांस्कृतिक ग्रुप आहे. यामधील कलाकार हे आपला अनुभव कथन करत होते यामुळे त्यांना देशाचे शत्रू समजून जेल मध्ये टाकले जाते. अशा लोकाना जेल मध्ये टाकणे चुकीचे आहे. समाजात ही भीती पसरवली जात असून पोलीसच ही भीती निर्माण करतात असे कर्नाड म्हणाले.

मावोइस्ट व नक्सालीस्ट याचे नेमके नियम काय आहेत असा प्रश्न उपस्थित करून जर या लोकांची पुस्तके घरी ठेवणे, वाचणे हे चुकीचे असेल तर माझ्या घरात मावोइस्ट व नक्सालीस्टची पुस्तके आहेत या पुस्तकांचे मी वाचन करतो म्हणून मी सुद्धा मावोइस्ट व नक्सालीस्ट आहे असे कर्नाड म्हणाले. विनायक सेन व असीम त्रिवेदी यांच्या बाबत सरकार वेगवेगळी भूमिका घेते याचा निषेध व्यक्त करून विद्रोही लेखक सुधीर धवळे यांना सोडवण्यासाठी जे काय करता येईल टे करून धवळे यांना सोडवण्यासाठी प्रयत्न करू असे कर्नाड म्हणाले.यावेळी डॉली ठाकूर, माजी पोलीस अधिकारी सुधाकर सुराडकर, कॉम्रेड प्रकाश रेड्डी उपस्थित होते.

Every artist has the right to be rebellious: Girish Karnad






Press Trust of India / Mumbai October 04, 2012, 21:05

Stating that “rebellion” is the right of every artist, veteran actor and filmmaker Girish Karnad today said reading or possessing books on Naxalism is not a crime.

The 74-year-old playwright said Aseem Trivedi, the political cartoonist who was charged with sedition by Mumbai Police, and human rights activist Binayak Sen, accused by the Chhattisgarh Government of having links with Naxals, received different treatment in the cases in which they were arrested.

“Aseem Trivedi was granted bail soon after he gathered support from various sections of the society. On the other hand, Binayak Sen was refused bail on several occasions,” Karnad said.

He was speaking at a programme organised by the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) here this evening.

KKM is a cultural group consisting of Dalit “protest” singers and poets. Two activists of the Manch were arrested by Maharashtra Police last year for alleged Naxal links.

Calling the people associated with the organisation as “rebellious and enemy” of the state is unfair, the award-winning playwright maintained.

Lokmanya Tilak said Swaraj is my birthright. I would say rebellion is the right of every artist. An independent individual has every right to be rebellious.”

Karnad said there is no exact definition of Naxalism and Maoism. Claiming that he reads a lot on Maoism, the filmmaker questioned, “Does that mean I am a Maoist?”

“I have many books on Naxalism and Maoism. If reading books on Maoist ideology is a crime, then I am also a Maoist,” he state