Last month, a group of eminent Bengali artists released a song. So what? That’s what artists do! Well, this time, it was a little different. The song not only features many of the big names in Bengali households but also conveys something very important.
Released during the ongoing West Bengal Assembly Elections, the song titled Nijeder Mote Nijeder Gaan, or “Our Song in Our Own Way” has become the song of resistance for many of us—who want to rise in unity against the current apocalypse that has befallen on us.
What adds more power and resilience to this song is its ability to question any and everybody in power without asking for votes or advocating a particular political party. As the election season closes its doors and we sit tight for the worst to pass, let’s have a closer look at the issues this song has tried to divulge through its creative expressions.
Education Under Siege
The first four lines of the song goes like this:
তুমি পুরাণকে বলো ইতিহাস
ইতিহাসকে বলো পুরানো
তোমার কাজ শিক্ষাকে লাঠিপেটা করে
মূর্খের জ্বালা জুড়ানো
“Mythology is history to you; and history to you is outdated. You bash education to satisfy the spite of the ignorant.”
It would be a misjudgment to say that the constant assault on academics is a new phenomenon in India and particularly Bengal. After 34 years of its rule, the Left had forgotten the significance of the hammer and the sickle on their party flag.
The quote “What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow” now stands reversed. With neglected bureaucratic proficiency and no heed to the alarming levels of corruption, CPI(M) was much more interested in filling their pockets with extorted money rather than investing in the idea of creating a modern and robust economy with developed infrastructure.
Congress can be accused of similar allegations on a national level, especially during the years immediately after our Independence.
However, what we are facing now is simply unprecedented and equally treacherous. The past mistakes committed by the policymakers can be termed as ignorant and politically expedient.
But the current regime would not stop at that. What they are trying, as the lyrics suggest, can only be categorized as vindictive and fascist.
The idea of those who know nothing about education, replacing facts with myths in the name of revising history textbooks, alleging that the present ones are too left-leaning, reeks of their conservatism propaganda. And what constitutes facts or ‘history’ is gradually being replaced with the authentic information shared by the most trusted university in India, the ‘WhatsApp university’.
Ironically, the government that has planned to inculcate critical thinking amongst the students through their New Education Policy has omitted chapters that taught about the basic tenets of the Indian Constitution or paid homage to the social reformers that belonged to the socially marginalized sections.
In addition to NEP 2020 widening the gulf between the privileged students and the marginalized ones, we also received a “mini-surgical strike” as characterized by The Indian Express.
This amendment mandates prior approval from the Ministry of External Affairs for conducting any online international conferences or seminars related to the subject of “security of State, Border, Northeast states, UT of J&K, Ladakh or any other issues which are clearly/purely related to India’s internal matter/s”.
And when this is what education has come down to, the unemployment rates are bound to be jarring. It seems that our Prime Minister’s Pakodanomics is no good since the unemployment rate is at its lowest while most of the informal workers back to a precarious hand-to-mouth existence.
You can come up with hundred different reasons to defend such actions, but you need only one good heart to understand the deeper ramifications of these actions.
তোমার ভক্তিতে দাগ রক্তের
তুমি কাউকেই ভালোবাসনা
তুমি দেশাথি করতে এসেছো
দেশ প্রেমের কিছুই জানোনা
তুমি জানোনা, তুমি জানোনা
“Your devotion is bloodstained, you love none. You are here to rule the nation, yet you know nothing of patriotism.”
The two visuals that appear on the screen along with these lyrics include a comment from Yogi Adityanath stating that women need protection and not freedom. If you have always been a political enthusiast you would remember it is the same Yogi who opposed the Women’s Reservation Bill in 2010.
That—women should be protected from bad men by the fathers and husbands—can make an exception when the alleged rapists belong to the upper-class. One should not forget the Hathras Rape case, where government authorities denied all rape allegations initially and framed the entire incident as a plot to defame Yogi.
The other image is that of Hindu Mahasabha celebrating the birth anniversary of Nathuram Godse, the person who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi.
Godse’s association with BJP’s parent association—Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) continues to put the party and its leader on spot. Some condemn the act, whereas many others do not. It says much about the patriotism of the party and its politicians that have accused every other person of sedition and UAPA who has criticized the government.
A nationalist, on the other hand, is proud of its country no matter what and is driven by ignorance rather than reason. And therefore, whenever their actions lack accountability, they camouflage it under ‘national interest’—be it RSS’ refusing to fly the Indian flag because the green color in it was believed to have been associated with Muslims or the destruction of the Babri Masjid.
This regime only believes in protecting the interests of those, who are already empowered, and therefore, atrocities on women, Dalit, Muslims have recorded a rise since BJP came into power. The song also did not forget to mention how the Central governments have always been homophobic with the rare distinction of national leaders like Rahul Gandhi and Shashi Tharoor.
But BJP’s outright opposition to same-sex marriages and antithetical provisions in the Trans Right Bill starting from the very humiliating basis of legal identification to the postulation of a less severe sentence for sexual violence against trans people has shown its conservative ideology that has no place for anyone except those who blindly follow them.
Mounting hate crimes and incidences of lynching show that Modi’s “sabka saath sabka vikaas” is nothing more than a sham.
The Prince And The Pauper
তুমি বহুদুর দূর দূর
বহুদুর দূর দূর
বহুদুর বেড়ে গিয়েছো
ধৈর্যের রস ঘিলু থেকে
তুমি সবটুকু শুষে নিয়েছো
তোমার কোনো কোনো কোনো
কোনো কোনো কোনো
কোনো কথা শুনবোনা আর
যথেষ্ট বুঝি কিসে ভালো হবে
নিজেদের মতো ভাববো
আমি অন্য কোথাও জাবোনা
আমি এই দেশেতেই থাকবো ।
“You have dared to spread far and wide like an infectious pandemic; you have tested my patience and exhausted every bit of it. We won’t listen to anything that you have to say. We know what’s best for us and therefore we will decide for ourselves. And, therefore, whatever you say, I’m not going anywhere, I’ll stay where my motherland is.”
There can be many ways to understand this. The 2016 demonetization that was orchestrated by the Modi government to curb the circulation of black money funding terror groups actually devastated the lives of around 50 lakh people who lost their jobs.
Was it a good trade-off for an eventual failure of Modi’s masterstroke? It ruined the prospects of many small and medium-scale enterprises. And you can blame all that you want the ‘outdated’ methods of surveys, but numbers don’t lie.
Also Read: BJP And TMC Go Nail And Tooth Against Each Other Even In Terms Of Televised Party ‘Propaganda’
From the tedious GST and the risk-averse economy, rising unemployment and fiscal deficit to falling GDP and increased protectionism along with soaring prices of essential commodities, like petrol, it is as if the government took the economy and crushed it to a thousand pieces. The middle class and those economically beneath them have hit the wall, and there is no going back.
So what the lyrics say is that do whatever you want and use whoever you want, call us whatever you want to, we would fight you back no matter what. No, I’m not anti-national or urban Naxal.
Nor do I want to break the country, and neither I’ll not go to Pakistan. But what I do want to do is stay in my motherland and not let a handful of you decide the fate of my country.
The Disease of Deception
তুমি বাজে কথা খুব
জোরে জোরে জোরে
বার বার করে বলবে
তুমি এত কথা ভীড়ে
চুরমার করে চলবে
This stanza calls for attention to the epidemic of fake news that the present regime has not augmented. Their loud mouths have lost credibility long ago when they scrapped Article 370 in the name of unity and togetherness when what it did was led Kashmir to a state of never-ending emergency with people fighting for their basic rights and amenities.
The CAA-NRC was the second blow that hit us the same year. We may still fight on what it intends to do in the upcoming years, but we cannot deny the havoc it wreaked while the draft of the amendment was still being contested in Parliament.
The barbarism and inhumanity engineered by the central government need no further explanation if we can still remember what happened at Jamia on the 15th of December 2019 or within the premises of JNU on the 5th of January 2020.
The rage that the roads of Shaheen Bagh seethed for months will never forget the indefatigable spirit of the 82-years-old Bilkis Dadi or the pregnant Safoora Zargar or the hundreds of people who braved the freezing cold and the heavy rains that frequently lashed across the national capital. And neither should you!
History Repeats Itself
আমি গোয়েবেলসের আয়না
ঠিক তোমাকেই দেখে ফেলেছি
এই হাঙরের দাঁত পুরোনো
তাতে পোকা লেগে গেছে দেখেছি
“I looked at Goebbel’s mirror, and it reflected a spitting image of yours. I have seen those evil teeth of yours before, and I know how venomous they can be.”
It is the most powerful part of the whole song. It unabashedly makes a daring comparison between Modi and Hitler and Shah and Goebbel.
From America’s John Paul Cusack to Pakistan’s Imran Khan, many have identified an uncanny resemblance between Modi and Hitler along with the international newspapers that accuse the Modi-Shah government of leading the country into the current catastrophe.
তুমি গরীবের ভালো চাও না
সেটা বোঝাতে বাকী রাখোনি
তুমি মিথ্যা পূজোতে ব্যস্ত
কোনো সত্যি লড়াইতে তুমি থাকোনি
“You have left no stone unturned to show that you don’t care about the impoverished and the marginalized; your worship is a farce, you have never fought for the truth.”
The CAA-NRC protests were disrupted due to the first wave of coronavirus culminating in a mass uprising against the new Farm Bill that wants to exhaust the last ounce of hope for the poor farmers under the garb of modernization and ‘greater good’.
BJP’s IT-cell tried their best to malign these farmers as anti-nationals when a mishap occurred during Republic Day, leading to deaths and injuries.
Let’s Fight Back
তুমি সব ধরনের অঙ্ক
পাকিস্তান দিয়ে গুণ করেছ
তুমি সবাইকে খুব রাগিয়ে
নাছোর বান্দা করেই ছেড়েছো
যাব জুলমো সেতামকে কোহে গারা
রোহিকিতারা উর্জায়েঙ্গে হাম দেখেঙে
তুমি বহু দূর দূর বহু দূর দূর
বহু দূর বেড়ে গিয়েছ
ভারতের ভীত নাড়িয়ে
তুমি নিজের সমনকে ডেকে নিয়েছ
তোমার কোনো কোনো কোনো
কোনো কোনো কোনো
কোনো কথা শুনবো না আর
যথেষ্ট বুঝি কীসে ভালো হবে
নিজেদের মতো ভাববো
আমি অন্য কোথাও যাব না
আমি ভারতবর্ষেই থাকবো।
I won’t translate these few lines for you. Because you must have got the emotion right by now. The essence of these last few lines is something similar. The song dares the government to use Pakistan and the so-called ‘Tukde Tukde’ gang to shield themselves from our criticisms as much they want.
It challenges the authorities to use their enormous repertoire of big media houses to hide the truth. It invites the world’s largest party to use all that they have got to stop us.
But here’s the thing: we won’t! Because we have had enough of it and we won’t take it anymore. It is high time to throw off the yoke of this tyranny. We are not afraid because we have nothing to hide. We have the truth, and that’s enough for your pile of lies to subside.
The song ends with the same feeling that we all harbor today somewhere deep inside our heart that this is my motherland, and I would fight for it till my last breath.
Image Credits: Google Images
Find The Blogger: @soumyaseema
The post is tagged under: Our Song In Our Way, Citizens United, Education, Left, BJP, Modi, Shah, NEP 2020, high unemployment rate, whatsapp university, myths, facts, right-wing supporters, dalit, muslims, minority, women, Yogi, Women needs protection and not freedom, rabble-rouser, Mahatma Gandhi, Nathuram Godse, Hindu Mahasabha, Pragya Thakur, Babri Masjid demolition, same-sex marriage, LGBTQIA, Trans Bill, Kashmir, 370 Article, CAA-NRC protests, Bilkis Dadi, Shaheen Bagh, Emergency, Delhi, lynching, hate crimes, Hitler, Goebbels, History repeats itself, economy crashed, falling GDP, rising fiscal deficit, rising unemployment, soaring petrol prices, Farmer’s protest, Republic Day, Godi Media, my motherland, impoverished middle class, viral apocalypse