“A poet dares be just so clear and no clearer... He unzips the veil from beauty, but does not remove it. A poet utterly clear is a trifle glaring.”
— E. B. White, from One Man's Meat.
Gujili: Song of the Subaltern
Gujili Song/verse books came to be during the mid 19th century Chennai. The literature which was composed and printed by largely non-elite “common” people without much exposer into western education or knowledge as a means to spread news of the happenings in the city and around among people who did not have (intellectual or otherwise) access to the newspaper. Inspite of their poor print quality, uncensored and often improper grammatical language, the Gujili songs gained immense popularity among its people until they were banned by the British under the suspicion that they were a threat to the monarchy as a tool to spread anti-colonial nationalist propaganda to people. While many historians have acknowledged their significance in portrays the “people’s gaze” of the times and events, it is for the first time since the songs died down about a century back, Nivedita Louis and Monali Balasubramanium have attempted to revive the lost art in form of an engaging performance.
Independent researcher of culture and history, Nivedita is a writer and Satire columnist with One India One People, a Content curator for Iyal Isai Museum and a storyteller for Government schools and orphanages in Chennai. She has authored six books so far, she Volunteers with Madras Literary Society Library and is an active participant in numerous social, literary, heritage and local history events across India.
She is a multi-faceted musician, singer, lyricist, composer, teacher and performer. She is the founder & Director of’ The School of Music’, Adyar, Chennai. She regularly conducts workshops “multi-lingual and multi-genre workshops on Indian music.She works with differently abled children and young adults with learning difficulties
He is a percussionist who works with many art forms like Paraiyattam, Oyilattam, Kaliyalattam, Periya Kuchiyattam, Maan kombattam, Maatu Kombattam, Puli Aattam, Mayilattam, Maadaattam. Apart from working for television channels like Vijay TV, Sun TV, K TV, Jaya TV, he also works for feature films, documentaries, short films. Deepan has performed in many programs by the Government, temple festivals, weddings and other functions. He has also performed at the Dubai Expo in 2022.