NEW DELHI: The Citizen, in an effort take political conversation out of meeting halls and conference rooms, is launching a new series of talks called ‘The Citizen Takes The Mike.’ The first discussion in this series is on ‘Culture and Resistance’ and brings together panelists from various artistic disciplines to examine underlying concepts relating to culture, politics and resistance.

The panelists include :

Ovais Sultan Khan, Moderator

Ovais Sultan Khan is managing trustee at ANHAD, and a human rights, justice and peace activist.

Saif Mahmood, Panelist

Saif Mahmood is a literary personality, translator, activist, commentator and lawyer.

Shaunak Sen, Panelist

Shaunak Sen is a filmmaker, video artist and scholar. His feature length documentary, ‘Cities of Sleep’ examines the politics and economics of sleep in the Indian capital.

Diksha Bijlani, Panelist

Diksha Bijlani is a slam poet, who has been a regular face at various open mic events across the country. Her work is a commentary on larger social issues.

Aban Raza, Panelist

Aban Raza is a New Delhi based artist, whose work has been exhibited across the country. Communication and social relevance of art is the core focus of Aban's work. She's also Assistant Director of the feature film ‘M Cream.’

Raoul Kerr, Panelist

Raoul Kerr is a musician from New Delhi, and -- in his own words -- is "looking to use words and music to find like-minded people to join forces with, and together fight for a better world."

Culture is a cogent platform for articulating resistance. It does not delineate an entity but rather enables distinct and divergent ways of representing human activity for a variety of purposes through diverse disciplines.Resistance is a counter dominant move and a spontaneous response to oppression.

Culture and resistance walk hand in hand. Culture makes resistance relevant and vibrant, while resistance makes culture substantial and robust.

John F. Kennedy, in his inaugural speech, said,’’ The men who create power make an indispensable contribution to the nation’s greatness, but the men who question power make a contribution just as indispensable, especially when that questioning is disinterested, for they determine whether we use power or power uses us.’’

In the recent times, when the country is enveloped by an oppressive authoritarian cloud, the artists and the powerful work they create are acquiring a new significance.

From banning literary works that question the establishment to the censor board’s restrictive nature towards many non conforming movies to curbing press freedom to attempting to create a monolithic ideology,the state has put the fundamental right to Freedom of Expression on the line.

The present cultural scene transcends pure definitions, absolute rules, linear frameworks and uncontested, easily accepted norms, concepts and ideas. Words are no more mere arbiters of referential meanings, but each utterance becomes an expression carrying cultural, ideological and political weight.The artists, through their creative paragons, are instrumental in bridging the gap between hard hitting social realities and an ignorant bourgeoisie mind. Art in any form--be it cinema, theatre, dance, literature, paintings, sculptures, cartoons or elocution--- is not always for art’s sake but for a larger social purpose that it has to serve responsibly.

The Citizen with its initiative ‘’The Citizen Takes The Mike’’wishes to create a public space that gives people the opportunity to come together, discuss and acknowledge issues that affect us on daily basis.

We invite all of you to join us for the discussion.


Event page: