Singing in verse, hoping for the better!

Motley group of professionals comes together once a month, hoping to change the world around them, one song at a time

The gang during one of their poetry reading sessions in a local train; Parmeshwar, Mandar, Omkar, Praveen, Dhamma, Charan, Asif, Harish and Siddharth perform during a meeting. Pics/Poonam Bathija
The gang during one of their poetry reading sessions in a local train; Parmeshwar, Mandar, Omkar, Praveen, Dhamma, Charan, Asif, Harish and Siddharth perform during a meeting. Pics/Poonam Bathija

Poetry and music have been timeless modes to voice one’s opinions on societal happenings. With this ideology in mind, the ‘Morche pe Kavi’ (MPK), a motley group of poets and musicians have been meeting and performing in public spaces to showcase their unique take on the world around us.

Friends Ujjwal Bhattacharya and Ashok Kumar Pandey from Delhi conceptualised the idea of such a group, and marketing professional Ila Joshi with husband Mayank Saxena started discussions in the train, which later spread to various other public spots. The group is a mix of poets and musicians with members ranging from vegetable vendors to marketing executives.

They comment on several political, economical and, most of all, democratic issues through theatre, poetry and music.

Duty and right
“Whatever happens in a society has been reflected in art forms like theatre, dance and music. In these times of increasing communalism, fascism and casteism in our country, it’s our duty and right to stand up when no one else is,” says software engineer Vikas Yadav.

Mithun Prajapati, who sells vegetables in Versova, found his voice with the group. “I couldn’t study after Std XII, but my passion for writing was always there. I met the group through a friend Aamir, from whom some of the members would buy vegetables. After meeting them, I felt I had found my home,” said Prajapati, who writes in Hindi and Bhojpuri.

“Mithun is a very important part of the team. This year, he even enrolled for a BA course with IGNOU. We all come from middle class families; we can’t give each other and the society much. This is the only way for us to connect and work towards change.”

Singing for change
‘Yalgaar’ is another group of musicians within MPK, who are based in Kandivli. They not only write and perform in public spaces, but also teach and mentor young slum kids.

“Our country can be brought together only through a cultural movement,” believes Dhamma Lakshita, who is one of the singers in the group. There have been times when members of the group have landed in trouble with the authorities and police due to their radical take on issues but this has not dampened their resolve.

“Everyone has a good job, a life outside ‘Morche Pe Kavi’, but what motivates us is something simple: change. We have seen it happening after people hear and sing along to our songs,” said Dhamma.

Rossi D’Souza, a PhD student who has been with the group since the very beginning, says, “I met the group during a protest in the city and after chatting for a while, we decided to regularly meet on the last Saturday of the month. Looking at how far we have come, it gives me hope that things can change.” The next meeting is at Carter Road on December 31.

Morche pe Kavi’s tunes
‘Khayo re, khayo re, 
bada dhokha re khayo,
Royo re, royo re, 
dil phoot phoot ke royo,
NaMo NaMo, 
iss jap ne, aise din dikhlaayo’

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