Protest inspires art, and art gives protest an aesthetic expression. This is observable in the recent and ongoing popular upsurge against the Citizenship Amendment Act. In a testament to its organic nature, the mass uprising has produced a rich array of creativity, of hand-made posters, signs with witty ripostes to the government, rousing slogans, and poetry. Among these is Varun Grover’s rebellious Hindi poem, Hum Kaagaz Nahin Dikhayenge.
He first tweeted a short video on December 21, reciting the poem himself. The tweet went viral. It was liked and retweeted thousands of times, inspiring others to modify and adapt it.
What is striking about the poem is its expression of rock-steady defiance – “We will not show the papers.” Brilliantly using poetry’s compact language, the refrain “we will not show the papers” occurs again and again to express an unyielding resistance against official campaigns of deception, division, and repression.
Cutting through the noise, the poem distills the protest to its essence – a resolute assertion of the citizen’s right to dissent in the face of ongoing attacks on the core constitutional values of equality and justice.
Read all the articles in the Art of Resistance series here.