The Rascal Children Of Gaza

Sarbajaya Bhattacharya

Sarbajaya is a part time everything.

“Oh rascal children of Gaza./You who constantly disturbed me with/your screams under my window. You/who filled every morning with rush/and chaos. You who broke my vase/and stole the lonely flower on my/balcony. Come back, and scream as/you want and break all the vases./Steal all the flowers./Come back…just come back…”

– Khaled Juma

In India occupied Kashmir, the Army is using pellet guns on civilians. The guns are being aimed deliberately at the eyes, with the perfect shot causing blindness. That is the price the Kashmiri pays for allegedly throwing a stone at an Indian Army tank, or a battalion of soldiers backed by the power of the gun they carry and the law that allows them to wield it at will. A stone picked up from the streets on the spur of the moment appears more dangerous than the barrel of the gun or the wheels of a tank, for it is a stone picked up by a Kashmiri, and in the Kashmiri’s hand the stone is a weapon far more dangerous than any AK-47 or state of the art war machines. In the Kashmiri’s hand, the stone is a symbol of defiance, a symbol of the fight for freedom.

Somewhere towards the end of JANAM (Jana Natya Manch, India) and The Freedom Theatre‘s (Palestine) joint production Hamesha Samida, roughly translated as ‘Forever Steadfast’, a puppet shaped like a human, rises, takes its first steps, and hurls a stone at an Israeli tank. In the hand of the Palestinian, the stone becomes a weapon far more dangerous than the Israeli tank at which it is aimed, more dangerous than the drones circling overhead. In the Palestinian’s hand, the stone is a symbol of defiance, a symbol of the fight for freedom.

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Working On Art With Working-class Children

Vijay Ravikumar

Vijay and Sushmita are mathematicians based in Chennai.  They also work on documenting working class struggles in Tamilnadu and have been teaching an art class in Besant Nagar for the last year.

 

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V. Muthazhagan: ‘Rain’

For over a year now, Sushmita and I have been running a weekly ‘visual art’ class for kids from working-class communities of Chennai, through the NGO Pudiyador.  The kids are between 6 and 12 years old, and come from either the Urur Kupam fishing village next to Besant Nagar beach, or from a handful of cramped houses on Ramasamy Avenue near Vannanthurai bus stand.  Many are from the fishing community, but their parents often also work in jobs like ragpicking, dismantling of metal trash, construction work, domestic work, and (among the better-off ones) driving a vehicle.

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Akash: ‘Fishing’

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Nandha Kumar: ‘Construction work, Housework’

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