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M.A.P // A.M.P © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan

Music & Activism
M.A.P // A.M.P

A project by Goethe‑Institut seeking to capture, document, explore and invite music, poetry, research and discourse on the intersections of music and activism in South Asia. The thematic frame of M.A.P // A.M.P interfaces with other topics, especially pertaining to civil society, minorities, feminism, and queer activism.

About the project


Awaaz (voice) is a series of films documenting artists who are using their voice for positive social change and activism across South Asia. It features artists from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Iran and India, and has been commissioned by Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi and conceptualised and produced by Akshat Nauriyal / Studio Now Delhi.

Awaaz Sri Lanka © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan

Awaaz Sri Lanka

The first film in the series features two distinct voices from Sri Lanka. Rathya is a Tamil music composer, lyricist and rapper who explores identity in her work, and Sinhalese rapper Zany Inzane, known for speaking hard truths in his lyrics.

Awaaz Pakistan © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan

Awaaz Pakistan

The second film in this series features Dr. Taimur Rahman, a Pakistani Marxist academic, musician and political activist. He has been leading a grassroots musical campaign against religious extremism in Pakistan called Music for Peace for the past five years. Taimur is the lead guitarist and spokesperson for the socialist music group Laal.


The podcast series aims to map the role of music in activism, movements, and protests. Host Bhanuj Kappal explores the intersection of music and activism in the South Asian Context, aided by musicians, academics and cultural organisations from across the subcontinent.

Cooption or Cooperation © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan


The episode explores the political dimension of what music gets support from the state, and what effect that has on the content and narratives around that music.

Listen to Episode #5

Singing at the Barricades © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan


This discussion focuses on the role of music at the site of resistance, linking specific issue-based agitations with a broader set of political goals and ideals shared by different movements.

Listen to Episode #4


Episode #3

South Asia has a rich heritage of traditional musical traditions that have been deployed by different groups to both reinforce and subvert social and political orthodoxies.

Listen to Episode #3

The Carrot and the Stick © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan

Episode #2

This session will look at the complicated relationship between the state and different music communities, and the different possible routes to navigate these complexities.

Listen to Episode #2


Episode #1

In this podcast, experts present a key song from social/political movements in their territories with an eye on the lessons that contemporary cultural activists can draw from this history.

Listen to Episode #1

Pirate Radio

Goethe-Institut in collaboration with reboot.fm presents Multiply . Activate . Punctuate, a radio station that will bring to you the sounds of protest and activism from across the country. Join us as Indian RJ Sarthak traces the diverse repository of revolutionary artists through a series of conversations underlining the nuance of protest.

Ankur Tewari & Hadi Bastani © Ankur Tewari & Hadi Bastani


Ankur Tewari is a singer-songwriter, composer, and poet. Hadi Bastani is a sound artist, anthropologist, composer, and visiting lecturer in anthropology.


Ankur weaves magic with his compositions allowing one to feel an array of emotions with each song. He was the music supervisor for the blockbuster Bollywood film Gully Boy and also wrote lyrics and sang for the film’s soundtrack. He supervised music for OTT platform oriented projects including, Made in Heaven, and Guilty. Ankur is the frontman of Ankur & The Ghalat Family, a Hindi rock band.

Hadi's work explores and reflects, theoretically and through sound-based practice, relations between creative practices, digital technologies, sound spatiality, and new formation of sociality. Hadi’s interdisciplinary investigation of the experimental electronic music scene in Iran formed the first comprehensive research of the scene within academia. 

Listen to Episode #13

Sheetal Sathe & Navayan Mahajalsa © Sheetal Sathe & Navayan Mahajalsa


Sheetal Sathe and Navayan Mahajalsa use music as a form of protest to highlight the societal oppression of Women and Dalits.


They have been the cultural voice at the forefront of the anti-caste movement for over a decade aiming to bring about a cultural revolution through music. Singing songs of ordinary people, especially Dalits, Sheetal Sathe has been singing of the marginalised, Dalits and others all over Maharashtra and the Indian subcontinent alike.

Listen to Episode #12

Straight Outta Srinagar (SOS) © Straight Outta Srinagar (SOS)


Straight Outta Srinagar was founded by Tufail Nazir and Aatankki and wants to show a different side of Kashmir with its music.


What sets the duo apart is their uninhibited proclamation of their hopes, desires and ambitions beyond their political convictions and their steadfast belief in the role that hip-hop culture can play in helping young Kashmiris articulate the same. Hailing from one of the world’s most militarised regions, Straight Outta Srinagar are part of a generation that has known nothing but the Indian occupation and the human rights abuses that followed.

Listen to Episode #11

Swadesi © Swadesi


Swadesi is a group of socially conscious rappers whose voices serve as a mirror to society; the multi-lingual crew believes in ‘music with a cause’. 


With their unsparing lyrical content intertwined with folk and bass music, Swadesi has created a unique sound and brand in the Indian music landscape – traditional yet global. They are regarded as Indian hip-hop’s only socio-political group aiming to bring about change through art and music. Breaking into the mainstream with their debut track India 91 in collaboration with other Indian rappers in the cult film ‘Gully Boy’, MC Mawali of the group also featured as a rapper on the soundtrack the film Kaala. Swadesi’s most acclaimed body of work The Warli Revolt, in collaboration with Warli tribal chief Prakash Bhoir, is a scathing indictment of the Maharashtra government’s relentless pursuit of unsustainable development. Their debut full-length record Chetavni earned critical acclaim and they won Artist of the Year at The Indies Awards 2020.

Listen to Episode #10

Activism in Tamil Cinema Music

This project attempts to give the viewers an insight into the multi-dimensional nature of activism, which led to Tamil cinema becoming unique in the ways that it approached and made possible the sensitization of millions of people when it comes to understanding their ‘Tamil’ identity. This video series commences with an introduction, followed by seven episodes highlighting the following topics.

M.A.P // A.M.P | Activism in Tamil Cinema Music © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi

Episode 1

Focusing on the social and political problems that were faced by Tamil citizens following years of colonial power; problems that further worsened after independence due to post-colonial misrule.

M.A.P // A.M.P | Activism in Tamil Cinema Music © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi

Episode 2

Unpacking the evocative power of Tamil language. The series anchors, K. Hariharan and Subhasree Thanikachalam, explore how language has been used to describe and contest existing cultural scenarios.

Music Library

M.A.P//A.M.P Music Library © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi

M.A.P // A.M.P Music Library aims to create a repository of activist music, which will serve as an archive to amplify the reach of music as an expression and a tool of social and political activism. This library is an effort to create a rich and diverse range of activist music that will span all genres and generations of music and poetry.

Bella Ciao	© Goethe-Institut

Bella Ciao 4
Playlist #15

The concluding episode of the Bella Ciao playlist includes renditions in Turkish, Arabic, Kurdish, Persian, and Russian.

Bella Ciao	© Goethe-Institut

Bella Ciao 3
Playlist #14

This week, the Bella Ciao series comes to South and East Asia, with an aggregated list of songs from Japan, Indonesia, Myanmar, China, and Nepal.

Bella Ciao	© Goethe-Institut

Bella Ciao 2
Playlist #13

Continuing the Bella Ciao series, this playlist includes French, Spanish, Armenian, German, Portuguese, and Italian renditions.

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Get in Touch

If you have any questions, or want more information about our projects, write to us at map-amp@goethe.de