Reinterpreting genocidal Bengali folk “Adventures of the Lotus Brothers / Lal Kamal aar Neel Kamal” at Puja


14492603_1406239926057624_7937900487034850121_nAdapting genocidal Bengali folk musical  as a reinterpretation to call out the iconography that continues to add to the violence against adivasi and Dalit people – working script in draft drawing and song presented with my father


14448899_1407158315965785_5937411465927268947_nMy intro:

Who else was excited about the Potol?

Subho Bijoya [deadpan]
The word “Bijoya” or “Victory” interests me. “Victory.”
My name is Pampi and I’m joined today by my father on stage and mother sitting in the audience. Today I will be presenting a small bit of a musical I am writing that was in part inspired by the Lal aar Neel Kamal children’s production done here two Durga pujas ago. I will be reinterpreting this famous Takumar Jhuli (“Father’s mother’s stories”) tale. I do this because seemingly innocent popular iconography is applied every day to justify state sanctioned violence by those of us who are casted against adivasi and Dalit people all over the South Asian diaspora. We have only to look at the Mahishasura to wonder whether his only crime was perhaps being indigenous … Victories can be hollow.

Please note: Being diasporic means we have settler privileges and we take part in harmful anti-black and anti-indigenous state iconography in the places we have been planted. If we find ourselves being irked by #blacklivesmatter and #nodapl, it’s time to assess why. if we haven’t heard about the prison strikes, it is time to think about who funnels our “news.” We may pride ourselves as being informed but a state like the US doesn’t get where it is at without creating and controlling narratives. The myth of meritocracy is a particularly insidious one.