Brahma Prakash

Jul 19, 2023

Body on the Barricade

Life, Art and Resistance in Contemporary India

LeftWord Press 2023

Brahma Prakash's book Body on the Barricades: Life, Art and Resistance in Contemporary India (LeftWord, 2023) is an interesting gaze into life, art, and resistance in contemporary India. Through a wide canvas of contemporary events, the book has tried to look at how barricade becomes a symbol of excessive policing as well as a metaphor for containment. The book also reflects upon marginalized identities and the conflicting narratives of such identities with the State; which unfolds almost like a horror story. The book has interestingly engaged with each of such suppressive events through the affect it generates on the victimized body. The book has beautifully captured bodily acts like breathing, mourning, dancing, singing, and other creative expression as an act of resistance. Thus, resistance becomes an act that is not just visible out there, but it also becomes an inward experience. The book has lucid language, yet it is written with a sense of authenticity, that dares to speak out. The book ends with a clarion call for hope among the despair that prevails. The author has ensured that every narrator who has been a victim gets enough space to think about their acts of resistance, rather than being a passive dead protagonist lying on the barricade.

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Kalyani Kalyani is a sociologist and currently teaches at School of Arts and Sciences in Azim Premji University at Bengaluru.

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