Spoken word poetry in India is picking up pace rapidly. There are already hundreds of good performances one can watch online and several spoken word events are held every week in Mumbai alone. Here are seven powerful performances to introduce you to the world of spoken word poetry.

01

A Brown Girl’s Guide To Gender

Aranya Johar

This performance of spoken word poetry by Aranya Johar has been viewed by millions of people on YouTube across the world and was shared, loved, and praised by hundreds of thousands. In this poem, Johar speaks about misogyny, sexism, and sexual violence in a brutally honest way. She talks about how girls are sexualised from a very young age, how acid attacks and marital rape are still quite common in India, and why there are very few men that women can trust.

Watch it here.

02

Missing

Rakesh Tiwari

This is a powerful spoken word poem by Rakesh Tiwari about missing person’s posters. This wonderfully crafted poem has the ability to make you reflect on something you’ve come across often but probably have not paid attention to. Tiwari talks about the people who put posters on walls in different parts of the city hoping someone would identify them, but how no one really cares in our busy world.

Watch it here.

03

The Legal Rapist

Simar Singh

This poem by Simar Singh is a reflection on unequal marriages in India. The performance instantly went viral on YouTube and was applauded by many viewers. As the name suggests, this a poem about marital rape, in which a housewife realises that she is being raped by her husband. Singh talks about how women are misguided into thinking that they have no say in their marriage and are made to believe that it is their duty to provide sex to their husbands irrespective of whether they want to or not.

Watch it here.

04

Hindustani Musalmaan

Hussain Haidry

This beautiful performance of spoken word poetry by Hussain Haidry depicts what it means to be an Indian Muslim. The poem was featured in many leading newspapers of India and admired by many. Haidry’s poem not only touches the heart of every Indian but also makes them proud of the cultural and religious diversity in India.

Watch it here.

05

Validation

Preeti Vangani

This is a brave and touching poem by Preeti Vangani about a girl trying to fit in a society which has an absurd obsession with beauty. Vangani talks about how she was focused on being validated by society’s standards of beauty, instead of finding validation from within. She points out the everyday situations a girl puts herself in just to get the approval of society. Her poetry reflects her innermost emotions in an honest manner.

Watch it here.

06

Kambal Wale Bhai

Gaurav Tripathi

This is a beautiful spoken word poem by Gaurav Tripathi about an unusual relationship formed between a vendor and a customer in a village. In the poem, Tripathi recounts the tale of a Kashmiri blanket seller who used to come to his village every autumn. When the seller didn’t show up one year, Tripathi went on a  quest to find his whereabouts. In the end, he receives a poignant letter from the blanket seller.

Watch it here.

07

Mai Namaaz Nahi Padhunga

Qais Jaunpuri

In this strong and powerful performance of spoken word poetry by Qais Jaunpuri, he claims that God has forgotten about humans and their misery. Jaunpuri asks God to prove His worth before He asks humans to bow down to Him. He points out the flaws in worshipping God, irrespective of which religion you practise. This poem is sure to make you think about your own belief system.

Watch it here.

Have you been to any of these spoken word poetry performances? Which are your favourite performances? Share your recommendations with us in the comments below.

Ankit Mahawar

Ankit Mahawar

Ankit loves stories, be it in any form- print, media or theatre. After reading Angels and Demons, he fell in love with books, especially suspense, thriller, and fantasy. He is a big fan of Harry Potter series. He quit his engineering career to become a writer and currently works with The Curious Reader. Apart from writing he also loves filmmaking, photography, traveling and cooking. You can reach him on Instagram.