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Author & Educator
RK Hegde Chair Professor, Institute for Social and Economic Change
Visual Artist
Assistant Professor, Dept of Communication Studies, Mount Carmel College

Date & Time

Monday Mon, 11 Sep 2023


Bangalore International Centre
7, 4th Main Road, Domlur II Stage
Bangalore, Karnataka 560071 India

Against prevailing despair, Brahma Prakash’s Body on the Barricades asks to think about hope in the most dire situation. It talks about the act of breathing from the point of breathlessness and the ultimate resolution of the body to cross the barbed wires.

Join us for a discussion about India’s current issues, through the lens of this book, featuring insights from a diverse panel of practitioners and thinkers as they explore the cultural, political, and religious factors that have created challenges in Indian society.

Rather than sudden changes, Prakash’s book presents these problems as the result of long-standing injustices deeply rooted in the Indian state. These issues originated in Hindu society and have gradually infiltrated the nation’s political institutions, from temples to the parliamentary system.

The book’s eight chapters examine various forms of limitations witnessed recently, including protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), the farmers’ protests, the Una protest, and the challenges faced by migrant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout, a common theme emerges: the unwavering resilience of those affected.

This event will delve into Prakash’s insightful observations and provide a platform to discuss India’s complex social and political dynamics. The evening will be a discussion on the many challenges and the resilience that characterises contemporary India.

Illustration by Anupam Roy


Brahma Prakash

Author & Educator

Dr. Brahma Prakash is a writer, cultural theorist and an Assistant Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is the author of critically acclaimed book, Cultural Labour: Conceptualizing the ‘Folk Performance’ in India (Oxford University Press, 2019) and Body on the Barricades: Life, Art and Resistance in Contemporary India (LeftWord 2023).

He has published in various research journals, including Asian Theatre Journal, Performance Research, Theatre Research International, Economic and Political Weekly, South Asian History and Culture and others. He was a fellow at the South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University, Germany (2021) and the CRASSH at Cambridge University, UK (2018-19). His popularcolumns on art, culture and politics frequently appear in Scroll, Wire, Outlook, Indian Cultural Forum and other media platforms. His opinions have also appeared in the BBC, Aljazeera, New Arab, Print and others.

Chandan Gowda

RK Hegde Chair Professor, Institute for Social and Economic Change

Chandan Gowda is Ramakrishna Hegde Chair Professor of Decentralization and Development at the Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bengaluru. A book of his essays titled, Another India: Events, Memories, People, has just been published. At present, he is completing a book on the cultural politics of development in the old Mysore and co-translating and editing Daredevil Mustafa, a book of short stories by the Kannada writer, Purnachandra Tejasvi.  He is a columnist with Deccan Herald.

Nisha Abdulla


Nisha Abdulla is a Bangalore based theatremaker practicing as playwright, director, dramaturg, and educator. She articulates her anti-oppressive arts practice as one that places care, curiosity and community at the core of the creation process. She is Artistic Director of Qabila, where her work centers new writing around lived experience and the dissenting imagination. And founder member of OffStream, an artist collective that makes and enables creative projects around anti-caste advocacy.

Pushpamala N

Visual Artist

Born in Bangalore, 1956, Pushpamala N has been called “the most entertaining artist-iconoclast of contemporary Indian art”. In her sharp and witty work as a photo- and video-performance artist, sculptor, writer, curator and provocateur, and in her collaborations with writers, theatre directors and filmmakers, she seeks to subvert the dominant cultural and intellectual discourse. She is known for her strongly feminist work and for her rejection of authenticity and embracing of multiple realities. As one of the pioneers of conceptual art in India and a leading figure in the feminist experiments in subject, material and language, her inventive work in sculpture, conceptual photography, video and performance have had a deep influence on art practice in India.

Starting off her career as a sculptor, Pushpamala began using photography and video in the mid -1990s, creating tableaux and photo-romances in which she casts herself in various roles. Interested in history and the idea of cultural memory, she cites a wide range of references in her series of masquerades where she simultaneously inhabits and questions familiar frames from art history, photography, film, theatre and popular culture, thereby placing herself as the artist at the centre of social and political inquiry.

Pushpamala N lives and works in Bangalore after having lived for periods in different Indian cities. She exhibits widely in India and internationally, and speaks often at seminars and conferences.

Manola-Gayatri Kumarswamy

Assistant Professor, Dept of Communication Studies, Mount Carmel College

Dr. Manola-Gayatri Kumarswamy is a Jungian Artistic Researcher. She is Assistant Professor at the Dept of Communication Studies, Mount Carmel College Autonomous Bangalore and Research Associate at Wits School of Arts, Witwatersrand Univeristy, Johannesburg. She works at the intersection of poetry, somatics, dream work, theatre, embodied research and ocean cultures cross-culturally between India and South Africa. She is a pioneer of Performance-as-Research in India and works in interdisciplinary teams looking at performance, psyche, marine life and ecological sustainability.