Posted by Beasts of Bed and Battlefield
Feminism has found a new weapon to fight back with – slam poetry. Young women from all over the country are making it extremely clear that it will get harder and harder to keep them silent. And what’s fresh? They are using words to fight this war.
“Slam poetry is the art of writing words that are meant to be heard, not read”, says Nupur Saraswat, an Indian spoken-word artist based out of Singapore. In the year gone by, India saw the National Youth Poetry Slam organized by Airplane Poetry Movement and Campus Diaries, which established poetry as a medium of activism. In the same breath, feminism picked up the banner because this form of speech not only gave space to their voice but also an expression to their identity. It gave women a platform to own and represent their body types, sexual orientation, gender identity and political affiliations.
Here are five spoken word poems, representing five different, crucial, pivotal issues facing the women of India.
Shruthi Hassan – Be The Bitch
This video is all that you’d expect from a high budget production house like Unblushed. It is glossy, it is detailed, and it is well made. But behind it, are the words of an actor who isn’t here for your bullshit. In calm, unshaken, affirmative voice she puts it down like it is. Behind the video is the reclamation of the word “bitch”. A must watch for all the girls and boys who have been called the same at least once in their lives.
Nupur Saraswat – Twisted And Mine
“I look nothing like my mother. My hair twisting like pigs tail at every end, my hips take too much space on the train, my breasts take too much space on my body.” So starts the video, telling the story of Nupur Saraswat. The story starts out simple, beautiful even. But, by the end it has every viewer questioning if they ever had a Nupur in their lives and if they really made her feel the way people around the poet made her feel.
The video has been produced by the team of Open Sky.
Vinatoli Yeptho – Five Rules For Whomever It May Concern
This poem was recorded live at National University of Juridicial Sciences, Kolkatta. In this hard-hitting poem Vinatoli talks about the sexism and objectification women from North Eastern part of India face on a daily basis.
She ends with – “And if you still do not obey these rules, remember, my forefathers were headhunters. I was born out of a clan of warriors….Remember the world’s hottest chilli is growing in my grandmother’s garden.” This is a chilling retelling by a woman who has had enough.
Arati Warrier – Witch Hunt
“I picture myself coming out and my parents’ heartbreak flooding all of India.” The poem is studded with lines like this one and takes you an emotional, introspective journey of what it means to be gay in India. Arati Warrier talks about Section 377 and how it has solidified the homophobic tendencies of her family members.
The video is produced by Button Poetry.
Zainab Rashid – The Truth About Burqa
This poem comes at a time when the topic of what a woman should and shouldn’t wear should have become obsolete but hasn’t. Zainab Rashid takes the viewer through a day in her life as a Muslim woman, dealing with her burqa, her faith, her beliefs, and her badassery.
The video is produced by Delhi Poetry Slam.
Also Read: FII’s Interview With Zainab Rashid, The Poet Of The Truth About Burqa
Beasts of Bed and Battlefield is an artist collective of poets, stage performers, and musicians. It aims to bring the art of spoken-word into the mainstream. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.