Saumya Mani Tripathi

Panel 3E Cinematic Transcodifications/2
Session 3 – July 2, 11:00 – 13:00

 The Many Lives of AZAADI. Performing the Idea of Freedomin Indian Resistance Movements

“Azaadi” is a Persian origin word migrated to Urdu in India, simply translated as Freedom or Liberty. With varied historical recurrences and origin myths-The word has become synonymous to cry for freedom, articulating dissent against injustice and imagining new socio-political and aesthetic existence in India. It is used to articulate resistance and freedom in various contexts ranging from Kashmir’s demand of freedom from Indian Occupation to Feminist and Queer resistance movements demanding freedom from rape culture to student and civil resistance movements against privatization of education, oppressive colonial laws and societal norms. In aesthetic forms, it is articulated in slogans, songs, poetry, graffiti, oral cultures and Cinema. The efficacy of the word in various mediums varies from tool of political mobilization to forging collective solidarities to assertion of dissenting ideologies, which depends upon the performativity and affect of the word in a specific medium.  While the fluid nature of this word renders itself to be universal expression of protest, at the same time it transcends and eludes any definitive meaning altogether and becomes an abstract idea open to interpretation. This paper aims to study the theatricality of Azaadi and its transcodification in various resistance movements. The case studies and examples of it will be historicized through the lens of linguistic, cultural, aesthetic and formal adaptations of this word and its implications on socio-political landscape of resistance movements in India. The theoretical frameworks of this paper are based on theories by Austin’s performative utterance, Judith Butler’s theories on performativity and excitable speech, Rebecca Schneider and Diana Taylor on Art and Performance in times of war and crisis and Mashal Mcluhan’s Medium is the Message. However, the philosophy of intermediality and performitivity of Azaadi and the many possibilities that it entails in an era of global resistance against rise of fascistic tendencies across the world remains a key research enquiry of this paper. 


Saumya Mani Tripathi is a Phd Scholar at School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU, New Delhi and Assistant Professor at Amity School of Film and Drama, Amity University, Noida. Her research interest is in Politics, Performance and the role of New media in various resistance movements. She is currently researching music, slogans and satire as a mode of resistance in the conflicted Indian Administered Kashmir as part of her Phd Dissertation. She has presented her research papers at International Conferences at Shanghai, Belgrade and Venice. She is an ardent theatre practitioner and documentary filmmaker and is highly interested in interdisciplinary study of art forms.