‘Dhai Akhar Prem; National Cultural Jatha’ arrives in Chanderi

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The artists in the group met the weavers and workers of Chanderi

The cultural journey of “Dhai Akhar Prem” is currently being organised across the country with an objective to spread love, harmony and unity arrived in Chanderi town of Ashoknagar District (Madhya Pradesh) on October 4, 2023. This yatra started on Bhagat Singh’s birth anniversary, 28 September, 2023, and would be concluded on Gandhiji’s martyrdom day, 30 January, 2024. Chanderi town has been associated with workers for centuries and also has historical significance. Chanderi town is a center of weavers and workers. With the same message of the importance of labour and love that the weaver Kabir gave through his charkha, this journey reached among the common workers and toilers of Chanderi and interacted with them.

The journey started from Jaistambh Park located in the heart of the city. While interacting, Vineet Tiwari told about the purpose of the visit. After this the group went to a Handloom Park. Farooq, a local weaver accompanying the group, said that the handlooms there were collectives that provide space for workers who do not have enough space at home to set up handlooms. He discussed the problems of these workers and their employment. In fact these weavers work in extremely painstaking and risky scenario. The artisans here make clothes by smoothing each thread from the warp and weft which takes several hours. But due to the dependence on middlemen and lack of employment security by the government, they are not able to get the price commensurate with their labour. The members of the group had a detailed conversation with these workers which reminded them of Kabir. Satyabhama and Kabir sang Kabir’s song “Jheeni Bini Chadariya”. Vineet Tiwari told the weavers that ‘Just as you weave beautiful, colorful and strong cloth by joining the warp and weft, in the same way we have to keep the society together without getting misled by anyone. We have to keep loving each other irrespective of caste and religion.’

After this the group members had a dialogue with the local people. At this time, Satyabhama and Kabir Rajoria sang Kabir’s song “Hoshiyar Rehna Re” and Hariom Rajoria’s song “Chal Chala Chal”. Famous painter Pankaj Dixit, while talking about the journey, said that ‘Love does not spread as fast as hatred. But we have to keep trying and spread love for mutual brotherhood and harmony.’ Shivendra said that ‘We are being divided on the basis of caste, religion and class. We are undertaking this journey to eradicate this divide.’

Seema Rajoria said that ‘This journey is important in which we are meeting people and getting to know their culture and language.’ Whereas Vineet Tiwari said that man’s labor and love are interlinked with each other. This journey is not only to remember the legacy and thoughts of Kabir, Bhagat Singh and Gandhi but also a campaign of solidarity to re-establish the dignity of human labor. In this meeting, Vijay Dalal ji sang Shailendra’s song “Kisi Ki Muskuraton Pe Ho Nisar” and Ankit also recited his poetry. Young poet Abhishek ‘Anshu’, who was facilitating the discussion, said that today’s times are very challenging. Hatred is at its peak. We will have to face this situation with love and harmony and make the journey successful.

After this dialogue, the group went to Kila Kothi where tributes were paid to the famous musician Baiju Bawra by offering flowers at his grave site. At the end of the journey, the group members visited the handlooms of the local people and interacted with them after seeing their labor and artistry.

This group comprised of Artists of Indian Peoples Theatre Association (IPTA) Ashok Nagar, writers of Indore, artists of Chhatarpur, local journalists and common people. Seema Rajoria, Afroz Khan, Pankaj Dixit, Vinod Sharma, Ratanlal Patel, Kabir Rajoria, Anup Sharma, Satyabhama Rajoria, Kush Kumar, Neeraj Kushwaha, Giriraj Kushwaha, Abhideep, Sarvesh Khare, Shivendra Shukla, Ankit, Vineet Tiwari, Vijay Dala, Farooq Mohammad, Bhupendra and others played an active role.

Report: Giriraj Kushwaha | Translation: Sandhya Rastogi

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