(Suriname, 1962) published his first volume of poetry, Bapauti/Erfenis (Bapauti/Heritage) in 2008, an elaboration of the songs on his album Kantráki/Contract Labourer. The collection Tihá/Troost (Tihá/Comfort) followed in 2011 with lyrics from his pop album Daayra. The singer, poet and composer -- with parental roots in India, born in Suriname, and living in The Netherlands -- deals with societal themes and with subjects that are taboo within Hindustani and Indian circles. Mohan writes in Sarnámi, the mother tongue of the Hindustani in Suriname and the Netherlands. He is founder and artistic director of musical groups like the Raj Mohan Ensemble, Vistar and Shai'rana, with which he tours at home and abroad. He plays and sings compositions based on his own lyrics and on poems by contemporary Urdu poets in the (lightly) classical tradition of Northern India.(WU2024)
Archive available for: Raj Mohan
Warriors! is an ode in spoken word, music, dance and stories to people from Suriname and the Caribbean who risked their lives to fight for freedom. Heroes from our colonial past that resisted oppression and a lack of freedom. Stories that were previously ignored, made invisible or hidden away. Now, more than 150 years after the abolition of slavery, many stories are emerging, but there also remain many stories that must be told about warriors from the past and warriors of the present.
Gershwin Bonevacia, Dean Bowen, Julien Ignacio, Raj Mohan and OTION - Master of Ceremonies present their own work. In a conversation with presenter Shantie Singh, Karin Amatmoekrim talks about the writer Anil Ramdas, about whom she recently published the biography In wat voor land leef ik eigenlijk? (What Kind of Country Do I Live In, Anyway?).
Tip: Shantie Singh also created Her (s)tories, a theatrical ode to women in Hindustani migration history, which will be performed on Friday 12 January 2024 at Theater aan het Spui, The Hague.
In this episode of the Writers Series, Shantie Singh speaks with Vinod Busjeet about the impact of indentured labour on present times. Poet and musician Raj Mohan will perform a selection of his works. All are descendants of Indian indentured laborers and grew up amidst different traditions. Which ones do you pass on to the next generation, and which ones do you reject?
Busjeet's debut novel Silent Winds, Dry Seas (2021) was recently published in Dutch translation as Stille winden, droge zeeën. Singh publishes her book Na de komma: Hindostanen en de erfenis van het kolonialisme (After the comma: Hindostani and the legacy of colonialism) late November 2023.
The conversation in this Writers Series-event will be in English.
With apologies for the slavery past, the Dutch government put a comma, not a full stop. 150 years ago, slavery was abolished in Suriname, but immediately, the recruitment of indentured laborers from British India began as a replacement to keep the plantations running in Suriname, and (here less known) also in Mauritius. The colonial mentality persisted. Slavery had been abolished, but the abuses continued.
Shantie Singh (1982) is a writer, presenter/facilitator, program creator, theater maker, women's rights activist, and creative public administrator, also known as a 'glambtenaar' at the Rotterdam municipality. Shantie was born in Almelo; her parents come from Suriname, and her ancestors are from India. She has been living in Rotterdam since 2006. She is also a storytelling fashionista. With her novel Vervoering, she wrote a family chronicle spanning four generations dispersed over three continents in the countries of India, Suriname, and the Netherlands within a hundred years. In 2023, her book Na de komma (publisher De Geus) will be published, a passionate and personal plea for more recognition and visibility of the Hindustani story in the Netherlands. Na de komma will be published end of 2023. This book will be available for pre-order during this Writers Series.
Vinod Busjeet was born in Mauritius and lives in Washington DC. He was long active in the world of economic development, international finance, and diplomacy, with roles at the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation. Previously, he worked as a teacher at a high school in Mauritius. He grew up with different traditions: Indian, French, Creole, and Chinese. His debut novel, Silent Winds, Dry Seas(2021) tells the story of a descendant of British Indian indentured laborers who were transferred to Mauritius after the abolition of slavery. This island was first colonized by the Dutch; then it came under French and subsequently British control. It gained independence 55 years ago.
The conversations in this (English spoken) Writers Series-event will be interspersed with performances by poet and musician Raj Mohan, who in 2008 published his first poetry collection Bapauti / Erfenis, an exploration of the songs from his album Kantráki / Contractarbeider. He plays and sings compositions based on his own lyrics and contemporary Urdu poets' poems in the (semi) classical North Indian tradition.
This Writers Series program is in English.
After the event, there will be a book sale by De Vries Van Stockum, along with an opportunity for book signing.
Programme presented and curated by Shantie Singh (Writers Unlimited)
Writers Series: Shantie Singh in conversation with Vinod Busjeet
Wednesday, November 8th, 2023, 8:30 PM - 10:00 PM Central Library Podium B, Spui 68, 2511 BT The Hague
Writers Unlimited organises the Writers Unlimited International Literature Festival The Hague every year in January (2024 dates: 18-21 January) and monthly Writers Series programmes throughout the year at various locations in The Hague, including the Central Public Library (Centrale Bibliotheek) The Hague. The festival, featuring more than 100 writers, poets, spoken word artists and musicians from the Netherlands and abroad, will take place over four days at venues including Theater aan het Spui, Filmhuis Den Haag, Paard, Koninklijke Schouwburg, neighbourhood libraries, Hague universities and secondary schools.
Telling their stories via spoken word, rap, beats and songs -- this is what HemelBesem, Raj Mohan and Djani do better than anyone. For young and old, Winternachten and the Schilderswijk Library staged an encounter between three very musical word artists. HemelBesem is from South Africa, a famous performer, artist and MC who has four self-produced hiphop albums to his name. He often performs with other artists, hosts a radio show, and stands up for the binding force of the Afrikaans language. Raj Mohan translates his own Surinamese-Hindustani music and sung poetry from the original. He has released five albums and two poetry collections. The young Hague rapper Djani founded the group FDG with two friends in 2015, for which he composes songs, beats and a portion of the texts. He also works solo. His favourite styles are trap, dancehall, afro and old-school hiphop.
Opening NIght of the Winternachten festival is dedicated to freedom of expression, featuring poetry, music, the Free the Word! speech, and the Oxfam Novib PEN Awards ceremony.
Robert van Asten, The Hague Elderman for Mobility, Culture and Strategy opened the festival. Radna Fabias, winner of the 2018 C. Buddingh Prize for best Dutch-language poetry debut, started the night off with a reading from her collection Habitus. Then the Mexican-American writer Jennifer Clement, chair of PEN International, delivered a statement about freedom of expression. After that, Canadian writer Madeleine Thien delivered the Free the Word! speech.
Nicaraguan writer and poet Gioconda Belli and Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour who currently risk their freedom and lives to seek out and publish the truth were honoured during the prestigious Oxfam Novib PEN Awards ceremony. Oxfam Novib director Michiel Servaes handed out the prizes. Also Italian writer Roberto Saviano received an Oxfam Novib PEN Award. Since the publication of his book Gomorrah (2006), he lives under police protection and could not attend. Afterwards, the other two winners discussed their work and experiences with writer and journalist Hassnae Bouazza and Dutch national news presenter Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal. They read from their own poetry. English spoken.
The Opening Night programme was framed with musical performances by singer-songwriter Raj Mohan and hosted by Hassnae Bouazza. The evening is a collaboration between Oxfam Novib, PEN International and PEN Nederland.
"Thinking of Holland / I see broad rivers / winding slowly through endless lowlands" is perhaps the best-known Dutch opening verse. In Memory of Holland written in 1936, Hendrik Marsman describes the lanscape and the struggle against water. Seven young authors went fast forward to today, allowing the poem to inspire their future vision of the Netherlands. Poets Asha Karami and Derek Otte, singer-songwriters Lounar and Raj Mohan, performer and visual artist Roberta Petzoldt, and writers Simone van Saarloos and Vamba Sherif presented their new versions. Programmer and host Francis Broekhuijsen opened the programme by reading Marsmans classic poem.
We hadden een droom - de erfenis van drie wereldverbeteraars
Ze voerden een felle strijd tegen ongelijkheid, onderdrukking en haat: Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King en Gandhi. Naar aanleiding van een tentoonstelling in de Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam schreef Bas Heijne een bevlogen essay over deze strijders tegen apartheid, racisme en antikolonialisme. In zijn essay Wereldverbeteraars staat de filosofie van deze drie helden centraal. Volgens Heijne beschouwen we hun gedachtengoed vaak als vanzelfsprekend; maar waren hun ideeën over humanisme, de kracht van liefde en hoe zij vanuit compassie, niet vanuit haat, de ongelijkheid en onrecht wisten te bestrijden pas echt radicaal.
Op donderdag 14 december 2017 was Bas Heijne samen met schrijver en columnist Stephan Sanders te gast bij B-Unlimited. Voor De Groene Amsterdammer schreef Sanders een recensie over Wereldverbeteraars. Op ons podium in de bibliotheek vertelde Heijne over zijn boek en ging erover met Sanders in gesprek. Ook was er ruimte voor vragen van het publiek.
Deze laatste avond van B-Unlimited in 2017 sloten we extra feestelijk af met een bijzondere muzikale bijdrage van Raj Mohan, de bedenker van Sarnami-Bhojpuri geet and pop.
Programma samengesteld door Shervin Nekuee (Writers Unlimited).
Boekverkoop in de zaal door Van Stockum Boekverkopers
B-Unlimited: Bas Heijne & Stephan Sanders
We hadden een droom - de erfenis van drie wereldverbeteraars
Muziek: Raj Mohan
donderdag 14 december
zaal open 20.00 uur
aanvang: 20.30 uur
Centrale Bibliotheek, Studio B
Spui 68 Den Haag
Tijdens het Winternachten Festival 2018 (18 21 januari) leidden Bas Heijne en Stephan Sanders gesprekken met internationale schrijvers rondom het festivalthema We the People over het verlangen naar een daadkrachtig wij-gevoel. Kijk voor meer informatie op www.writersunlimited.nl
With: Ad Zuiderent, Adriaan van Dis, Anne Vegter, Antjie Krog, Anton Korteweg, Bas Kwakman, Christine Otten, Hester Knibbe, Ineke Holzhaus, Jan Baeke, Jan Klug, Jan van der Haar, K. Michel, Liesbeth Lagemaat, Mark Boog, Peter Swanborn, Raj Mohan, Rob Schouten, Robert Dorsman, Rodaan Al Galidi, Tom Lanoye, Tsead Bruinja
Dutch poets honoured the South-African poet and writer Antjie Krog. She celebrated her 60th birthday in The Hague. A festive evening, where Antjie Krog presented the audience her favourite poems in Afrikaans. Writers Adriaan van Dis interviewed her on the position of the Afrikaans poet in South-Afrika. Numerous Dutch poets read their poems for Antjie.
'Come to me, my language, come back', Derek Walcott wrote. How does it feel to write in another language than your own? Does this new language also become the language in which you dream? Asis Aynan presents Ahmad Al Malik, Rodaan Al Galidi, Raj Mohan and Chika Unigwe, who will share their experiences. With musical accompaniment by guitarist Lourens van Haaften. In Dutch.
Poetry readings by Lamis Saidi (Algeria), Vamba Sherif (Liberia/Netherlands), Raj Mohan (Suriname/Netherlands), Bernice Chauly (Malaysia), and the South-African poets Nunke Khadimo, Mannini Mokhotu, Moenier Adams, Ronelda Kamfer and singer Reba Son.
An evening with poetry and prose readings by Bernice Chauly (Malaysia), Lamis Saïdi (Algeria), Vamba Sherif (Libera/The Netherlands), Raj Mohan (Suriname/The Netherlands), Urvashi Butalia (India), the singer Reba Son (India), and the South-African authors André Brink, Nunke Khadimo, Mannini Mokhothu and Neo Muyanga.
On Sunday morning the festival was concluded by a special live broadcast of VPRO's OVT on Radio 1 from Dudok in The Hague. In VPRO's history programme OVT (simple past tense) literature and (falsified) history came together in talks with Winternachten's 2009 guests. With, among others, Nelleke Noordervliet, Kees 't Hart, Geert Mak, Shrinivási from Suriname and the Surinamese/Hindu musician/poet Raj Mohan, who treated the audience on a few beautiful and moving songs. The program was hosted by Paul van der Gaag and Mathijs Deen.
mud of Suriname
sticking to the soles of my feet
still leaving traces behind
on the shiny tile paving
Writes the Hindustani-Surinamese poet and musician Raj Mohan. In the programme Poets of the Memory fourpoets shared the stage with evocations of the past. They write about native soil, about the land they live in and about the land of the ancestors. Also with the Surinamese grand old poet Shrinivási, performing artist and poet Gilda Dannarag and the Curaçaon poet and visual artist Philip Rademaker. It turned out to be an hour full of enchanting poetry and candid conversations about forgotten stories and possible truths. Host: Tanja Fraai.