Rapping has gained momentum as the choice of expression among youth for quite a while now, even more so after the success of the Ranveer Singh starrer “Gully Boy”.

Migrant worker Duleshawar Tandi found fame after his rap on migrant issues in the aftermath of the national lockdown, recorded and posted online from a damaged muddy hut, struck a chord with netizens. Hailing from one of the poorest places in India, Dule Rocker, as he is popularly known as, is a real-life ‘Gully Boy’.

Duleshwar Tandi, aka Dule Rocker

The 27-year-old Dalit rapper had shifted to Raipur in search of work after graduating from college, no small feat for someone who came from a poor family.

He moved back to his hometown to live with his mother just a day before the lockdown was announced and after seeing the troubles of workers walking hundreds of kilometres to reach home, he made a video rapping about the same. 

But it was another self-written rap song that he posted online in May that brought attention to him. He rapped with angst and anger about the government’s lack of regard for the plight of poor migrant workers in Kosli (or Sambalpuri) language. 

PARI (People’s Archive of Rural India) tweeted a small video showcasing Tandi rapping. The tweet went viral and Tandi started gaining significant attention online.

Also Read: The Pandemic Has Put A Highlight On It, But What Rights Do Migrant Workers Actually Have?

Kalahandi – One of the poorest places in India

Tandi’s sudden fame is especially surprising considering the fact that he hails from Odisha’s Kalahandi, a district that is often struck by droughts, famine and poverty, so much so, that the term ‘Kalahandi Syndrome’ has come to be synonymous with backwardness and destitution. 

Tandi started rapping in his college days, later on giving it up when he needed money to support his family. His father died in 2017 and later on, his mother’s illness forced him to take up odd jobs and eventually move to Raipur when he noticed his friends migrating to cities in search of menial jobs. 

Now that the country is in lockdown and migrant workers’ issues are bubbling to the surface, Tandi is using his time to make rap videos whilst back in Kalahandi. 

I don’t want to promote sleaze or liquor in my songs. Migrant workers like us have too many issues. Those things would find a place in my songs,” Tandi said.

Attention on social media

As his rap videos started gaining traction on social media, many from even the music industry praised him for his talents.

Even Vishal Dadlani and Mumbai rapper Divine took to Twitter to applaud him. 


His idol, rapper Divine, also took to Twitter to praise him

This proves to be one of those times where the power of the Internet has been used for good. Tandi has now started getting offers from the Odia music industry.

He continues to rap and post videos online. It’s good to see the medium of rap being used for spreading an important message and not just being used by the privileged classes.

Image sources: Google Images and Twitter

Sources: Hindustan Times, Times of India, India Today

Find the Blogger: @RoshniKahaHain

This post is tagged under: odisha migrant worker turned rapper, migrant worker rapper, rapping about migrant worker issues, vishal dadlani, divine, gully boy, internet fame indian rapper, duleshwar tandi, dule rocker, rapping about worker issues, dalit issues, music, songs, rap song, vishal dadlani, richa chadha, swara bhasker, rapper, odisha, odissa, odia

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