Article 19 (1) A
They say answers to everything lie in the Gita, the Quran and the Bible. But the most important document that governs the entire country with more than a billion people is the Indian Constitution. Yet, we, the people of India, remain bereft of the rights that it gives us. This document that governs more than 17% of the world’s population is the longest in the world, and is often called ‘a bag of borrowings’ for it drives inspiration from many other constitutions of the world. One of these rights given to us by the Indian constitution is the Freedom of speech and expression in Article 19(1) A. Our campaign, 'Sa Se Samvidhaan' focused on this particular right. We organized a small guided discussion about this right and designed an exhibition organized along with Conflictorium, a museum of conflicts in Ahmedabad. We tried to not just bring citizen’s rights to citizen’s attention, but also create a space to invite dialogue around it.
Constitutionally Yours was conducted with around 30 participants who were encouraged to discuss and debate about the use of this article in present times. Through videos and various activities designed by us, we tried communicating the complexity of this right and the various loopholes in the existing practice.
Through the exhibition of 19 1 (a), we intended to explore philosophical, social, psychological, political, and legal aspects of this fundamental right, which over the years has been violated on multiple occasions.
"Sirph hangaama khada karana mera makasad nahin,
meree koshish hai ki ye soorat badal nee chaahie.
mere seene mein nahin to tere seene mein sahee,
ho kaheen bhee aag, lekin aag jalanee chaahie."
In his poem, Dushyant Kumar writes that he does not intend to create a ruckus with his actions. All he wants to bring about is a change—whoever it is through, it doesn’t matter, but the fire must burn. Sharing this ideology, Dhrupad Mehta, in collaboration with Nathi Nonsense and Conflictorium created an exhibition which tries to create a dialogue among the people of Ahmedabad about Article 19a of The Constitution of India which states: “All citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression”. Expression being a vital aspect of our communication, the exhibition explores the philosophical, psychological, legal, political and social aspects of this fundamental right.
The exhibition included article cut-outs that featured cases where Article 19a was violated. It was intended to create an eye-opening experience for the audience, as they walked through the exhibition and watched the drapes that carried information about Article 19 on them, and article cut-outs that referred to incidents of violation. The whole programme had been funded by the Changemakers Fellowship programme by Pravah, a programme that encourages, recognizes and supports young social entrepreneurs to achieve their potential to lead social change initiatives.
The exhibition started with an opening note by the curators who explained their motive behind the installation. It had been designed in a narrative manner, with the themes and styles changing as the viewer would go from one room to another. The curators tried to make the experience for the viewers informative while keeping them at the edge of their seats, waiting to know what happens next.
Dhrupad Mehta, a member of Nathi Nonsense and the one behind this idea said, “This idea has always been in my mind but I got inspired [to work towards it] when the movie, Padmaavat was about to be released. Without even watching the movie, the censor board decided to put a ban on it. School buses were being stoned and a lot of ruckus was brewing just because of a movie. There have been other movies, like Lipstick under my Burkha, that have been victims to this problem. I decided that I wanted to do something about it, and as I was working in a fellowship called Changemakers, I started researching about the topic and I found that all the parties in power had violated this right in some way or the other and not only movies but also books and visual art pieces have been attacked or completely banned. As the idea shaped up, it found associates in Nathi Nonsense and Conflictorium. And here we are.”
Attendees of Exhibition
Participants of constitutionally yours
In collaboration with:
Conflictorium, Gool Lodge, Mirzapur Rd, opp. RC High School Of Commerce, nr. Chalte Peer Ni Dargah, Delhi Chakla, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380001