a culture of celebration and liberation

About Us

Chindu came into existence as a fledgeling Dalit Cultural Resource Centre at the start of a new millennium in 2000 in Andhra Pradesh. Rooted in the everyday cultural reality of Dalits, it started as part of a Dalit Collective called ‘Dappu’, whose community-based organisations across the state constitute a 300,000 strong membership.

Dalits represent a community of 200 million in India, constituting 20% of the population. Dalits were known as ‘the untouchables’ - victim of a caste system that considers them as ‘outcastes’. They have chosen to call themselves the ‘Dalits from the Sanskrit meaning crushed, oppressed or broken.

Historically the Dalits have had many vibrant productive cultures, which continue to survive despite generations of oppression. These aspects of Dalit cultures have not found much articulation in Dalit movements. The crucial absence of resilient cultural interventions in the Dalit movements is what has motivated Chindu to work towards a value-based, professional Dalit Cultural Resource centre in India.

Chindu is a Telugu word, which literally means ‘a dance step’. Chindu is also the name of a Dalit community, which performs a Dalit art form called ‘Chindu Bhagavatham’. Traditionally story, song, dappu, dance, dialogue and drama comprise key elements of Dalit communities.

As a cultural resource centre, Chindu seeks to explore such traditional Dalit cultural practices with a view to articulating them afresh in the Dalit movements aimed at social transformation. Chindu, therefore, is a cultural resource of Dynamic Dalit energy with a blend of Dalit tradition and innovation.

Chindu is:

  • A non-profit professional organisation specialising in conceptualisation, communication and promotion of Dalit cultural values and practices with fresh vigour and new meanings
  • A symphony of different styles, harmonising innate energy and innovation with the idea of liberation, striving to create an identity which, ultimately, is transformative and elevates life
  • A Dalit Cultural Resource Centre engaged in strengthening Dalit communities and Dalit Rights Movements through Dalit culture, theatrical perspectives and practices

We at Chindu perceive and promote Dalit Culture as a dynamic life-matrix of celebration and liberation of Dalits. It is our conviction that the spirit of celebration will attune Dalit lives to liberation, and that the hope of liberation will further energise Dalits towards creative action. Our attempt has been to centre-stage Dalit Culture and Dalit Theatre as a significant instrument of Dalit transformation.

 

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