“Sab Yaad Rakha Jayega. Everything will be remembered.” — Aamir Aziz
On Saturday 5 June, poets, writers and artists came together in solidarity, in grief and in love with the people of India. With Aamer Aziz, Vahni Capildeo, Meena Kandasamy, Bhanu Kapil, Ashwani Kumar, Pratyusha, Nat Raha, Nisha Ramayya, Kashif Sharma-Patel, Himali Singh Soin, Bisakh Som and Preti Taneja (reading from the work of Karithka Naïr).
All money raised was donated to a range of community-based, mutual aid initiatives based on regularly updated guidance from organisers and mutual aid workers in India.
We stand with the people of India, in diaspora and at home; like them, everything will be remembered. Organised by Ignota, the87Press and The White Review.
Aamir Aziz is a poet, actor and activist based in Mumbai.
Vahni Capildeo FRSL is a Trinidadian Scottish writer of poetry and non-fiction. Currently Writer in Residence at the University of York and Visiting Scholar at Pembroke College, Cambridge, Capildeo's newest work is Like a Tree, Walking (Carcanet, forthcoming 2021).
Meena Kandasamy is a poet, fiction writer, translator and activist who was born in Chennai, India. She has published two collections of poetry, Touch and Ms Militancy, and the critically acclaimed novel, The Gypsy Goddess. Her second novel, When I Hit You, was shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2018. Her op-ed/essays have appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, The White Review, and Guernica among other places. She divides her time between Pondicherry and London.
Ashwani Kumar is poet, writer, and professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai). His major anthologies are My Grandfather’s Imaginary Typewriter and Banaras and the Other. Widely published, anthologized and translated, his poems are noted for ‘lyrical celebration’ of garbled voices of memory and their subversive ‘whimsy’ quality. Recently his select poems have been translated for a special volume Architecture of Alphabets in Hungarian. He is one of the chief editors of “Global Civil Society” @ London School of Economics and co-founder of Indian Novels Collective to promote translation of classic novels of Indian Literature. He writes a regular book column in the Financial Express.
Pratyusha is an Indo-Swiss writer and a Ledbury Critic. Her latest pamphlets are Second Memory (Guillemot & Baseline Press) and Bulbul Calling (Bitter Melon Press). She holds an MA from King's College London and writes poetry, prose, and reviews. You can find her at pratyusha.co.uk.
Dr Nat Raha is a poet and activist-scholar, based in Edinburgh. She is the author of three collections and numerous pamphlets of poetry, including of sirens, body & faultlines (Boiler House Press, 2018), countersonnets (Contraband Books, 2013), Octet (Veer Books, 2010) and ‘four dreams’ (Earthbound Press, 2020). Her creative and critical writing has appeared in South Atlantic Quarterly, Third Text, Poetry Review, Gutter, and The New Feminist Literary Studies; and in the 2020 anthologies ON CARE, The Weird Folds: Everyday Poems from the Anthropocene, What the Fire Sees: A Divided Reader and We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics. Nat is a Research Fellow on the project ‘Life Support: Forms of Care in Art and Activism’ at the University of St Andrews. She co-edits Radical Transfeminism Zine.
Nisha Ramayya grew up in Glasgow and is currently based in London. Her collection States of the Body Produced by Love (2019) is published by Ignota Books. Recent publications include ‘A Basket Woven of One’s Own Hair’ in The Hythe; ‘Following Ten Million Dinner Parties’ in Flatness; a ‘Memo on Multiplicity’ in Frieze; and ‘Notes on a Means without End’ in Poetry Review. In Spring 2020, Ramayya was Poet in Residence for the group exhibition Many voices, all of them loved at John Hansard Gallery, Southampton.
Kashif Sharma-Patel is a writer, poet and editor at the87press. They work at the interface of sonic, visual and written cultures with particular reference to queer and racialised experimental work. Pamphlets include fragments on mutability (Earthbound Press, 2020), and Suburban Finesse co-authored with Ashwani Sharma and Azad Ashim Sharma (Sad Press, 2021). Kashif has also written music, art and literary criticism for Artforum, Wire Magazine, The Quietus, AQNB, Poetry London, MAP Magazine and more.
Himali Singh Soin is a writer and artist based between London and Delhi. She uses metaphors from outer space and the natural environment to construct imaginary cosmologies of interferences, entanglements, deep voids, debris, delays, alienation, distance and intimacy. In doing this, she thinks through ecological loss, and the loss of home, seeking shelter somewhere in the radicality of love. Her speculations are performed in audio-visual, immersive environments. Her art has been shown at Khoj, Delhi, Serpentine Galleries, London, Anchorage Museum and the next Shanghai Biennale. Soin is currently writer-in-residence at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, and received the Frieze Artist Award 2019. She is part of the curatorial team of Momenta Biennale 2021 in Montréal.
Bishakh Som is an artist, illustrator, and writer whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, BuzzFeed, the Boston Review, and the Brooklyn Rail, among others. Her books include Apsara Engine, Spellbound: A Graphic Memoir, and The Prefab Bathroom: An Architectural History, and she was also a contributor to We're Still Here: An All-Trans Comics Anthology. Som is currently based in Brooklyn, New York.
Preti Taneja is a writer and activist. Her novel We That Are Young (Galley Beggar Press) won the 2018 Desmond Elliott Prize for the UK's best debut of the year, and was listed for awards including the Folio Prize, the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize (India) Republic of Consciousness Prize (UK), and Europe’s premier award for a work of world literature, the Prix Jan Michalski. It was a book of the year in the Guardian, The Sunday Times and the Spectator, and a top 10 Book of the Decade for India's The Hindu newspaper. It has been translated into seven languages and is published in the USA by AA Knopf. Preti teaches Creative Writing at Newcastle University. She is a Contributing Editor at The White Review, and at the independent press, And Other Stories. Her new book, Aftermath on the language of trauma, terror, prison and abolition will be published in 2021 as part of the Undelivered Lecturers series from Transit Books.
Karthika Naïr is the author of several books, including the award-winning Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata, and principal scriptwriter of Akram Khan’s DESH, Chotto Desh and Until the Lions, a partial adaptation of her own book. Also a dance enabler, Naïr’s closest association has been with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet as executive producer of their works like Babel (Words), Puz/zle and Les Médusés, and as co-founder of Cherkaoui’s company, Eastman. She lives in Paris. Constancy V and VI, in particular, mean a lot to me (Preti) (both predicated by dance, in precise ways), and Amaranth is composed as an elegy. Constancy V was primarily written for two voices, as a duet and while all of it can be read by one person alone (it's also designed to be read as one narrative, as the whole of the two parts), duet readings allow the shared nature of grief and loss more place.