The Long Nights of Resistance series mobilise dance, music and poetry to reclaim the citizen body.
Cover Image by Desmond Roberts
On June 28, at a protest against Junaid Khan’s lynching, his relatives reminisced about the boy who had made a pre-Eid shopping trip to Old Delhi, not knowing it was to be his last. As his brother read out Junaid’s letter from heaven, there wasn’t a dry eye to be seen.
The Delhi protest denounced hate by opting to speak about love and appealing to people as individual agents of change. How could one sustain this voice after the furore died down? As a group of dancers, we instinctively turned to our bodies for answers. Finding ourselves in a studio in Delhi a week after the Not in My Name protests, we wondered: in what codes and tensions of selfhood and citizenship could we find a language of resistance? How was this resistance ingrained in the muscularity of the body? How should one respond to being told how to pray, what to eat, and whom to hate? These questions evolved into Long Nights of Resistance, a series of night-long performances that mobilise dance, music and poetry in an attempt to reclaim the citizen body. The performances are an assemblage of structures that draw from our experiences of prayer, endurance and patriotism.