Kalam: Margins Write – an art-education/creative-writing/critical-literacy/literary arts organization (can you tell we don’t like to be incarcerated by labels?) has been working on the ground in Kolkata, India since 2004. We work with “youth”- those 15 to 25 year old promising individuals who intrinsically question, negotiate, absorb, challenge, and transform this contradicting world. We work in the “margins” – officially defined as socio-economically underprivilged spaces, and un-officially defined as spaces of creative and critical promise. We work with the “written word” – a powerful art and tool historically and culturally making voices and stories audible across the world.
With youth, margins, and the written word we do many things: creative writing workshops, footpath/sidewalk poetry exhibition, rooftop poetry gatherings, community and public poetry readings, and annual lit mags. We work in shelter-homes with riveting young women like Bina and Bobby who have something to say about everything. We hang out with Gopal and Netai — tough guys in Kalighat — a neighborhood which raises the eyebrows of middle-class folks because they can’t think beyond its red-light area. We talk stories with young boys like Ratan and Bijoy on Malda’s railway platform, who’ve been recently questioning whether they identify as Railway Boys who happen to write poetry, or Poets who happen to work on the railways?
At Kalam, youth re-think identity, margins/centers, the world/our worlds through WORDS. Youth write and tell alternative histories, cultures, and identities. They say how it is from their perspecitive, in their reality, as their story.
This weblog is a space for Kalam to dialogue between its many selves and to engage in conversation with you. You’ll be hearing from Sahar, Bishan and others — folks who are thinking, working, and doing Kalam.
Come meet us at: 1/2A Poddar Nagar, P.O. Jodhpur Park, Kolkata 700 064, West Bengal, INDIA.