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Anita, Sakhi (2021) 'Geet Ga Rahe Hai Aaj Hum... Exploring songs of protest and hope in the Women’s Movement(s) in India.' The SOAS Journal of Postgraduate Research, 13 (2019/2020). pp. 31-54.

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Music has been an essential component of people's movements towards social transformation. In the West, antiracist and class struggles often inspired poetry and music which were used to communicate revolutionary ideas to the larger public and generate a political or social consciousness favourable to the ideologies of the movements. As a feminist scholar from India, I locate my interest in tracing the history of songs and poetry – of protest, of change, of invocation, of imagination, and of hope – that were sung and performed in the contemporary women's movement(s) that flourished from the 1970s in India. What I call the 'women’s movement(s)’ here are the myriad, multifaceted and multilayered voices and strands of feminist political engagement in India that came together at particular moments towards a common goal, while at times also parted ways and spoke to each other from standpoints of difference. In tracing the genealogy and context of the songs that were composed, sung, performed, and re-written during these political engagements, I also hope to trace the ‘flow’ of the women’s movement(s) – or perhaps certain aspects of it – and map the emergence and shifts of a feminist discourse in India as expressed through the songs and poetry it generated. What were the issues highlighted in these songs? What were the metaphors they expressed, and why were they relevant in the liberatory politics espoused by those who sung them? How did they change and evolve over time, and do their changes reflect the shifts in the discourse of the movement as well? These are some of the questions I shall explore in the paper.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: social movements, women’s movements, feminism, protest music, India
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Law
SOAS Doctoral School
SOAS Open Access Journals > The SOAS Journal of Postgraduate Research
ISSN: 25176226
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2021 11:53

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