[ Amar Sangno ]
Poetry does magic with its sublime words; so does art, to those who have a taste for it. Many great poets have translated their imagination into words, describing the ethereal beauty of nature, and mankind and its creations, with their powerful words. They have also raised their voice on social issues.
Alas! Their words are sometimes confined to the pages of books and rotten bookshelves in libraries; only hungry readers can decipher the meanings that lie beneath the seemingly unfathomable layers.
Breaking conventional barriers, The Vivid Project (Unspoken Words), a web-based series, gives a new dimension to the art of storytelling through poetry, art and music, allowing artists to express their angst against social issues in Arunachal Pradesh.
Conceptualized by 25-year-old artist and filmmaker Karry Padu, under the banner of Wild Flower Production, the project has inflamed budding poets, artists and musicians to speak up on social issues – issues which are considered ‘forbidden topics’ in Arunachal Pradesh.
Under the project, poetry recitation by each of the six participating poets and artists has been creatively filmed. These videos will be released in the form of episodes on the web, using social media as a tool to convey their works of art.
The project has put together six poets and artists – Tai Tugung, K4 Khekho (artists), and Subi Taba, Oyi Taki, Millo Ankha and Sushant Jha (poets), who refuse to be muzzled. Theirs is a daring display of courage to speak up and offer social commentary on issues pertaining to day-to-day existence in Arunachal Pradesh.
The project has officially released its first episode, titled ‘Mein Arunachal’, a short social commentary film on the current state of Arunachal Pradesh, by Tai Tugung.
Tugung expresses angst over endemic corruption, nepotism and deep-rooted communalism insidiously pervading the state. He reflects the journey of Arunachal Pradesh as a state, and its greatness in terms of culture and natural resources. However, in spite of this, development is on the back foot, and the dreams of the motherland are being sold out by perfidious and selfish youth leaders.
On a concluding note, the film states that Arunachal’s womb is not entirely barren yet – that great people will be born from it to offer hope of a new Arunachal, and to lead the state and its people towards greatness.
Local rapper Khekho Thiamkho aka K4 Khekho, a native of Tirap, speaks up against the gun culture in his home district where bullets are muzzling the citizens’ voices.
In his quick-witted verbal taunts, Kheko raps: “Kuch politicians ke liye, public jo football hai; Ab hamari baari hai, pocket nei, moo kol deh (for a few politicians, the public are like a football; now it’s our time to speak up, not to seek money for vote).”
Sushant Jha in his free verse titled ‘Black and White’ comments on rampant and institutionalized racism in the Northeastern states, including Arunachal Pradesh.
His poem is a cry for belongingness and the tale of thousands of migrants’ children who are born and brought up in this state but face prejudice because of the colour of their skin, and because they are racially different from the indigenous lot.
It is also an attempt to expose the hypocrisy of the people of the region, who are quick to shout from the rooftops about racial discrimination in the mainland.
Budding poet Oyi Taki in her free verse titled ‘Emancipation’ expresses anger on societal and traditional restrictions on the youths, and demands the prevalence of free will.
She believes that the long-held traditions of our tribal society sometimes become a shackle for the young, which she wants to break off.
Through her verse, Oyi revolts against the stereotypical perception of the tribal society with regard to the girl child’s freedom.
Subi Taba in her poem ‘Origin of a Poem’ talks about one’s personal transitional journey from being dependent on another person for one’s happiness, and finding validation in life. Subi reflects that the painful part of our lives helps us to discover ourselves and leads a person to self-awakening. Taba is the author of Dear Bohemian Man, a collection of poetry.
Young poet Millo Ankha also speaks on the theme of rediscovering one’s identity and potential in her poem, ‘Rising from the Ashes’.
As the bunch of revolutionary poets (as they have termed themselves) refuse to be mowed down and have resolved to speak up, lets wait and watch how effective their words will be after they have fallen on a million ears.