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IPTA’s Lyrical Appeal to Protect Workers’ and Farmers’ Rights

During the lockdown situation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, lokshilpis have performed mainly online. However, Somnath Mukherjee, a singer with the group said that ahead of the strike, some of the singers have brought a breath of fresh air into the office.
Nov 26 General Strike

Kolkata: In the run-up to the nationwide strike on November 26, Hindi janwadi songs as well as traditional compositions by Salil Choudhury, Hemanga Biswas and Hemanta are filling the air, according to Sonarpur’s 81-year-old lokoshilpi (mass singer) Debidas Tarafdar.

Interestingly, in Sonarpur of the 40s, 50s and 60s, singers affiliated to Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA), like Salil Choudhury and Mantu Roychoudhury had led the Tebhaga movement and had electrified masses with their superlative compositions.

Tarafdar, while speaking to NewsClick, added that the Union government is the kashai (butcher) taking away the livelihood and economy. “Our voices cannot be restrained in such compelling circumstances and our voices will remain with the cause,” he said. 

During the lockdown situation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, lokshilpis have performed mainly online. However, Somnath Mukherjee, a singer with the group said that ahead of the strike, some of the singers have brought a breath of fresh air into the office.

Tarafdar spoke about many revolutionary songs like ‘Saare jahaan se poucha’ penned by Md Amin Sahab, a former CPI(M) polit bureau member, and many penned by Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Kaifi Azmi and Iqbal. He added that as per the demand of the people from the state, many Bengali songs, too, have been composed in the past two years and CDs of these songs have sought a positive response.

The Lokoshilpi branch of IPTA recently observed its Golden jubilee and celebrated approaching its 60th year, said Arindam Mukherjee, editor of Aksharpat literary magazine who is also one of the organisers of programmes featuring janwadi songs.

Amal Nayak, another composer with IPTA in the Howrah Shibpur locality has created interesting content for campaigning with songs that can convey the demands of the workers and the farmers. He gave an example of the song ‘Dharmaghote cholo dhormoghote, shromik krishoker dhormoghote, bachar dabite dhormoghote’.

Dibyendu Chattopadhyay, state secretary of IPTA, told NewsClick that two documentary films on the current situation are also coming up ahead of the strike and they will be electronically transmitted. “Our appeal is in the form of the two documentaries and the songs being performed both online as well as offline to reach out to more and more people,” he said. IPTA singers recently performed in the Burdwan town as well as in Siliguri and reported receiving massive response.

It can be recalled that recently on behalf of West Bengal Writers andArtists, noted educationists Pabitra Sarkar and Rajat Bandopadhyay, in an open letter, had sought support for the strike on November 26., as the issues of the strike concern the majority of the people.

Also read: Women Workers in Garment Industry Among Worst Hit by COVID-19: ILO

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