Lal Ded: The voice of awakening

Ritu and Surya Singh of Wolf Jaipur use scraps and discards to form a narrative inspired by protofeminist poet Lal Ded, and her universal vakhs (verses) that portray an era where women’s voices rose above patriarchy

Musings and milestone reflections form the pulse point in Wolf Jaipur’s latest labour of love: Song to Self, presented by Baro Market at Method Kalaghoda, Mumbai. The show, by Ritu and Surya Singh of Wolf Jaipur, brings in the verses of Lalleshwari a la Lal Ded, the 14th-century mystic poet from Kashmir. The artist duo shapes scraps and discards to form a narrative inspired by Lal Ded’s universal vakhs (songs) that form a distinct protofeminist perspective on re-awakenings and introspection.

It is a bold assertion of self, full ownership of thoughts, a voice in rebellion against the atrocities experienced at the hands of her mother-in-law’s inhuman treatment — for Lal Ded was married at the young age of 12 into an abusive household and then walked away at 26 years in search of spiritual liberation in a complete rejection of stereotypical roles.  


There are feelings of loss, shame, and joy that colour the couplets of the female mystic who had the guts to defy the traditional norms during a time when a woman’s complete submission to god, and not her husband, was viewed as a character stab. What aspects of Lal Ded’s poetry form the core inspiration for the collection? “The focus on the journey within

Shilpi Madan for Sunday Herald

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