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#PoetryofResistance Project

Westland Books-Context has just published a collection of my  poems, Yes, There Will Be Singing. It is a book of poems, so I hope it will be judged on those terms first. But it is also an act of protest, and a history of the early days of the current darkness we all live in now–from the abrogation of Article 370 to the ongoing imprisonment of political prisoners. It covers the resistance to the CAA/NRC, the first farmers’ protest, the Covid Disaster, and more. 

Westland’s decision to publish these poems is brave for two reasons. First, I am a no-name, Instagram poet. I started this project with literally no followers, and though my poems go viral from time to time, my page is still relatively small. Second, and more importantly, it is dangerous for anyone to publish works of dissent in India; Westland has more than most to lose, being a mainstream, respected publisher. Of course, I want the poems, and the ideas in them, to be read and discussed; this is not ‘art for art’s sake.’ But I also want to support Westland for taking this risk. For these reasons, I’m asking you to buy this book! Ask your local bookstore, or try this link.

Since I cannot personally do public readings in support of the book, I’m asking for your help. Let’s arrange ‘Poetry of Resistance’ readings all over India! I’d love to have you read my poems, but it would also be lovely for you to read your own poems of resistance or protest poems by your favourite poets.

If you hold a small or large reading in your home, workplace, university, or local park, please post a photo or video to social media. Hashtag it #PoetryofResistance and tag @westland_books, @context_books, and @hamraazraaz1950. And when we hold a public launch, please come prepared to share you favourite poem of resistance.

You can find first drafts of all of my poems on this website and on my Instagram page (@hamraazraaz1950). I also asked a couple of close friends who read poetry and care about justice to send me their favourite poems of resistance. I’ve enjoyed reading these, and I’m sure you will too. Feel free to read and share one of these or other poems that move you.

Alreadly, readers have started sending their readings of poems from the book; I’ve posted the first few here.

And to get on my mailing list subscibe here.

Poems of Resistance

Farewell” Agha Shahid Ali

When Moonlight Moves Into Darkness’– Varavara Rao (Translated by D. Venkat Rao; original here)

‘Harlem’-Langston Hughes

Fuck Your Lecture on Craft, My People Are Dying’-Noor Hindi

Proof of a Tyrant’- Manglesh Dabral (Translated by Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee; original here)

Against the Police’-Miguel James

‘I Speak Up Bluntly’-Sukirtharani

i want to 377 you so bad’ and 9 other poems-Akhil Katyal

‘मुसलमान’ -देवी प्रसाद मिश्र

ठाकुर का कुआँ’ -ओमप्रकाश वाल्मीकि

तब तुम क्या करोगे?’ -ओमप्रकाश वाल्मीकि

मेरे ख़ून का एक संक्षिप्त इतिहास’ -पराग पावन

पंजे भर ज़मीन’- पराग पावन

लिखना चाहती हूँ’- सुनीता

हमें डर लगता है’- सुनीता

विद्रोहिणी‘- सुशीला टाकभौरे

उधार की ज़िंदगी’- शांति यादव

तब तुम्हारी निष्ठा क्या होती?’- कँवल भारती

New Delhi 1985’ by Namdeo Dhasal

Hunger’- Namdeo Dhasal (translated by Shanta Gokhale)

‘पिंजड़े का द्वार खोल देना’- कँवल भारती

21 Poems from Magadh -Srikant Varma (Translated by Raul Soni)

देशगान’- सर्वेश्वरदयाल सक्सेना

‘दस्तूर’– हबीब जालिब

We Need a Whole Lot of Flowers’- Afzal Ahmed Syed (p. 2 of pdf; Translated by Musharraf Ali Farooqi)

सबसे ख़तरनाक’- पाश
अयोध्या, 1992’– कुँवर नारायण