Monday, 30th October 2017

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Songs of protest and healing

Musicians raise voice against citizenship law

By Andrew W. Lyngdoh in Shillong
  • Published 22.12.19, 12:46 AM
  • Updated 22.12.19, 12:46 AM
  • 2 mins read
Summersalt performs at Music for Protection and Future of the People in Shillong on Saturday The Telegraph picture

Musicians on Saturday raised their voices against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, extended solidarity to protesters across the country, attempted to provide a healing balm in the run-up to Christmas, but also asked: “Won’t you help to sing, These songs of freedom?”

Debra and her band took the stage outside U Soso Tham auditorium here to strum Bob Marley’s famous Redemption Song: “…We forward in this generation/Triumphantly/ Won’t you help to sing/These songs of freedom?/’Cause all I ever have/Redemption songs/ Redemption songs…”

Likewise, Summersalt sang Kamai ia ka Hok or earn righteousness which speaks about the concept and the philosophy of the Khasi people and helps one understand not only how to live responsibly but also to have faith and be self-dependent. .

There was also Soulmate and the Aroha Choir, their music loud enough to send messages of protest, solidarity and healing.

The event was organised by Summersalt, a Shillong-based folk-fusion band, that featured in the Bollywood film Rock On 2.

The event, Music for Protection and Future of the People, called upon the people to reason together and make sense of the turbulent context experienced in the last few weeks and also to welcome the season of peace.

“In the midst of bleak winter, the sense of disappointments that have rocked the country and the state has been very real, but in such a volatile situation, we hope music and the arts act as a healing balm,” Summersalt frontman Kitkupar Shangpliang said, adding, “Fear of the indigenous people is real.”

“Protection will demand from us to work diligently every day. If most of us are not willing to put in work, the consequence is fear. When you look at the history of Meghalaya, all the public outburst, violence we see have largely come from the perspective of fear,” he added. .“The pangs and feelings of the people are very real. If Delhi exercises wisdom, it will definitely understand the ground realities.”

The musician said the “very foundation of India is impacted now. We don’t want that to happen. The message is very simple: listen to the voice of the people who elected you. The minorities also have a lot of valid things to say to the people in Delhi,” he said.

Soulmate’s Rudy Wallang expressed happiness that the anti-CAA movement has become a “people’s movement. “The government is doing its best to suppress everybody, which is wrong. They don’t rule over us, they govern us,” he added. At the same time, he said citizens are “not fools”. “We have to make sure that our future, and our children’s future is secured; that nobody has to be scared of their own government or the people they have elected,” Wallang said.

He also said he was against the Act. “Why should we allow other people who are not citizens? There are no jobs (even for citizens). But when young people are frustrated, you pin them down. They say democracy, but then they are trying to mess up democracy, which is not the right way to go.”

Wallang said the message from the gathering was about creating awareness about “who we are”, about the Constitution and identity as the people of India. The musician said the entire world had taken notice of what is happening in India. “One person can be wrong, but a million people cannot be wrong. It’s as simple as that.”