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Venkat Srinivasan: Public Dissent

Photographs of inquiry and discourse across San Francisco

“…Bol, ye thodaa waqt bahot hai
Jism-o-zabaan ki maut se pahale
Bol ki sach zinda hai ab tak
Bol, jo kuchh kahane hai kah le”

“Speak, this little time is plenty
Before the death of body and tongue:
Speak, for truth is still alive–
Speak, say whatever is to be said.”

Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Bol ke lab azaad hai tere

The frames here from across the San Francisco Bay are passive conversations around education, law, foreign policy, the media, or more generally, the citizen and the state. In one way, they are orphaned singles, each with their own back stories. But they also appeared to speak to a common thread of dissent.

These are small acts of dissent. Some moments do not even aim to defy. They just don’t square up with a square world. Some are like tiny relics laughing back at the normative. Some are the murmurs of a mass movement. And some run in loops, playing out like different renditions of the same talking points across election cycles. Whatever the form, all acts of dissent leave behind a mark and a spark. The lasting power of dissent lies in the space it carves for reflection.

This is an attempt to connect how the idea of dissent unfolds, sometimes as an inquiry into the possibility of a more just nation. Dissents are experiments. So is this thread on chronicling dissent.

Venkat Srinivasan is a writer and researcher based in San Francisco. He tweets @vns2.

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