In October 2017, the National Green Tribunal asked the Delhi Government to ban all protests at Jantar Mantar. The panel said that residents of the area have the right to live without the constant intrusion of noise and other forms of disturbance.
If any of these residents ventured out every time there was a protest in the vicinity, they would have seen a remarkable variety of rallies and demonstrations, ranging from the political to the personal, only a few of which make it to national media and are seen by people around the country.
Enter Kahaani Wale, an artists’ collective that documents stories of change across south Asia. In a series of videos titled Hum Le Ke Rahenge, the group has captured a variety of protests through the eyes of individuals. Samarth Mahajan, the director of this series, and creative director of Kahaani Wale told Scroll.in, “When one thinks of protests one thinks of massive rallies led by Anna Hazare or Arvind Kejriwal, but there are protests of many types. Protest through art, poetry and music. There is a rich collection of collective action that often gets missed in India.”
From the march for Gauri Lankesh to the Tamil Nadu farmers’ agitation, these videos bring glimpses of each of the events, complete with rallies, speeches and interviews. The focal point, of course, is the site of these agitations. “The advantage of being in Delhi is the proximity to Jantar Mantar”, said Mahajan, “It is an ideal point to start with. And what is remarkable is that the entire protest space in the National Capital is reduced to the one- kilometre stretch around Jantar Mantar”.