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Collective Strength in Collective Voices: Courage in Time of Crisis

In light of the tragedy unfolding in India, one that is disproportionately and catastrophically affecting Dalit and Bahujan communities, and in keeping with Ambedkarite shairi’s rebellious and hopeful cultural musical tradition, we will hold this event as a space to draw on the strength, healing, love, and collective care we need to sustain through this devastating crisis.

Navayan Mahajalsa, an Ambedkarite cultural shahiri group that aims to spread anti-caste and pro-democracy movement messages. The event will feature songs/ballads by two members of the collective—Sachin Mali and Shital Sathe and a conversation with the duo facilitated by ICWI’s Prachi Patankar.
We will also be joined by filmmaker Somnath Waghmare who is working on an Ambedkarite Songs Documentation project to document and archive Ambedkarite Song and tradition in rural areas across Maharashtra.

You can see Navayan’s work at and

Navayan Mahajalsa is a shahiri troupe that carries forward the rebellious cultural tradition in Maharashtra. After being successful as Shahirs* for 15 years, Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali established this troupe in 2017. The troupe has been conducting “Shahiri Jalsa” events not only in Maharashtra, but all over India, with a mission of annihilation of caste, class, and patriarchal oppression.

Navayan Mahajalsa is their official YouTube channel and they regularly publish their new creations on this channel. In addition to being an audience, Sathe and Mali appeal to the public to actively support Navayan Mahajalsa in building a cultural movement for fighting inequity.
* Composer/singers of powadas are known as Shahirs. Powada is a genre of Marathi poetry, a kind of ballad that narrates historical events in an inspiring way.

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Indian Civil Watch International (ICWI) is a non-sectarian left diasporic membership-based organization that represents the diversity of India’s people and anchors a transnational network to building radical democracy in India.