STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

'Breaking' social barriers

Ashif Khan found a way out of poverty, and now doles out tips and tricks of breaking culture (break dance) to slum children for free.

Published: 09th August 2021 08:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th August 2021 01:35 PM   |  A+A-

A few of Khan’s breakdancing students.

A few of Khan’s breakdancing students.

Express News Service

Sometimes life brings you full circle just to show you how much you have grown. Breakdancer Ashif Khan’s life changed in a similar way.

The 24-year-old had a tough time with the family surviving on his father’s meagre earnings as a kabadiwala and constant migration across several areas of Delhi-NCR, including Palam, Goyla Dairy Slum, Najafgarh, and Batla House. But Khan found a way out of poverty, and now doles out tips and tricks of breaking culture (break dance) to slum children for free.

“I realised dance is my calling while rehearsing the Bollywood song ‘Tera Hi Jalwa’ for the school function. I was just 12, and that performance became a hit with the students and teachers,” remembers Khan, now an assistant Media & Production Coordinator with Khoj International Artists’ Association (KHOJ) in Malviya Nagar.

Khan striking a pose outside India Gate

Mostly, talent is forced to give in to financial issues or societal pressure. “Goyla Dairy was a Muslim area, and the locals did not accept my dancing. I used to wear bracelets and long tshirts, and the maulvi ji would often reprimand me, saying, “ye naach gana karna achi baat nahi hai. Hatho mein choodiyan kyun pehen rakhi hain? (Dancing and singing are not good. Why have you worn bangles [bracelets] on your hands?)”, he adds.

To fit in, he changed his looks but the passion for dancing was still there. In 2010, a breakdancer called Amit introduced him to the breakdancing. “For the next five years, we got commissioned to perform at events and clubs in Rajouri Garden. But we only got free food and conveyance, no money,” remembers Khan, who looks up to B Boys Lilou and Hong 10.

After graduating in BA from Jamia Millia Islamia, he started working with DTDC as a delivery boy for Rs 10,000 a month. “I used to go to Khoj to pick up and deliver packages. There, I would practice with other kids, and one day, the people from Khoj told me they were looking for street artists for a cultural exchange programme. I joined it, got selected, and was sent to the US for 18 days in July 2018,” adds Khan.

After coming back, he searched for a job that allowed him more time for dancing, and again Khoj came to his rescue.

Now, he teaches dance to the kids as his way of giving back to society. He also founded Instagram and Facebook pages like India Breaking Culture, Delhi Breaking Culture, where he posts pictures and videos showcasing the young breaking talent from the mohallas of Delhi. “I don’t have the power to give them a bigger platform, but by doing small activities with them that I can post and share on my pages, I can motivate them to look beyond their penury and have a goal,” says B Boy Shif aka Khan.

POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Khan has founded Instagram and Facebook pages like India Breaking Culture, Delhi Breaking Culture, where he posts pictures and videos showcasing the young breaking talent from the mohallas of Delhi



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp