Safdar Hashmi and the art of cultural resistance
Singing in dark times, about dark times
On the morning of the first day of the new year in 1989, a group of young men and women set out from Delhi for Jhandapur, an industrial area in Uttar Pradesh, where they were scheduled to stage Halla Bol, a play on workers’ rights. They were running late and their bus was rickety. When they arrived, an audience of workers was waiting. The performers from Jana Natya Manch, better known by its acronym, Janam, hurriedly changed into their trademark black costumes and slipped into performance with practised ease. To them, this was yet another performance of yet another street play. Except it was not to be.