ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Many Histories of Protest Music

The Radical Impulse: Music in the Tradition of the Indian People’s Theatre Association by Sumangala Damodaran, New Delhi: Tulika, 2017; pp xiv+234, ₹ 950.

November 1984, New Delhi. The Prime Minister has been assassinated a few days before, leading to four days of mayhem in the capital. The anti-Sikh pogrom, which claimed over 2,000 lives, has shattered so many long-held assumptions about our society, about HinduSikh relations, about the city of Delhi, about the Congress party. Thousands of Sikh victims are still in camps set up at various locations across the city. They have lost their dear ones, and their homes and businesses have been destroyed. The embers are still smouldering, the wounds are still raw.

One of the first peace marches to take place in Delhi is at the University of Delhi, on its North Campus. The march, comprising hundreds, perhaps thousands, winds its funereal way across the campus, touching every college and some of the main faculties. It culminates at Khalsa College, where there is a rally. Some speakers are going to address the gathering, which has now swelled to several thousands, as the students of the host college have joined in large numbers. Many of them are young men. They are angry, full of rage. Their eyes burn with pain and hatred and sadness. Talk of retribution is in the air.

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Published On : 5th Jul, 2018

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