"“How can we be living in a country where the farmers have to protest just to remind the government that they exist?”" - Arivu
Rapper Arivu has dropped a number ‘Enga Nilam Enga’ (‘Where Is Our Land?’) on YouTube dedicated to the nationwide farmers’ protest against the Centre’s contentious farm laws. Arivu is a Tamil rapper who is occasionally part of a band named Casteless Collective. His lead album is ‘Therukural’.
The newly released song was done for the ‘Soru’ documentary directed by Tamil Prabhagaran that focuses on exploitation of land in the Cauvery delta districts of Tamil Nadu.
The lyrics sound, “We fill our tummies to live,”
Arivu raps, “Noose around farmers’ lives
The rich are hoarding our grains
My life means nothing to you
The government is making us their slaves
The innocent are on the verge of death
My heart bleeds thinking
who is going to be the next corpse?”
Arivu told The Quint, “The voice of the working-class people is being seen as resistance and not as a demand for fundamental rights. That is why you are calling it a protest and not saying that they are standing up for what they deserve. The government is against the interests of people. The worst affected are farmers, the sons of the land.”
‘Laws to Suck the Life Out of Us?’
Since 26 November 2020, the borders of Delhi have been witnessing a huge agitation by farmers, most of them from Punjab and Haryana, protesting against the recently passed farm bills. These bills lay the framework for allowing farmers to sell produce “without middlemen”, claims the Union government. The farmers, however, fear that the laws are an excuse to do away with their markets which offer Minimum Support Price.
Arivu asks, “Why can’t we just listen to the farmers? We romanticise agriculture as the backbone of our country but we are ignoring them and that’s why there is a vacuum and no honest dialogue.”
The song goes on to ask:
“Where is our land?”
It further notes, “Inflation is raging
and the price is not coming down
We toil with our blood and sweat
Are these laws meant to suck the life out of us?
A handful of rice has millions of stories
All that is being ignored due to greed
Just romanticising their hard work
Our granary has turned into graveyard.”
‘Playing on Caste and Religious Sentiments’
The farmers’ protest in the national capital has created quite a flutter globally, too.
After pop superstar Rihanna, climate activist Greta Thunberg, US Vice President's niece Meena Harris and actor Mia Khalifa, among others, tweeted in support for the farmers, India has accused "foreign individuals" and celebrities of "sensationalism". Their tweets went viral, garnering thousands of responses, bringing international attention to the agitation.
When even non-natives have tried to understand the farmers’ issues the government has not, Arivu accused.
The song points out,
“Playing on caste and religious sentiments
The ruling party is staging a drama.”
It further notes,
“Land poisoned and dispossessed
Taxes increasing the burden of poverty
Authorities playing with lives
Covering corpses with flags.”
A Petition to the Govt
Tamil Nadu is gearing for Assembly elections in April-May and farmers’ protests are crucial for garnering support for all political parties.
“Now with elections coming, a lot of stunts are happening in Tamil Nadu. What the politicians are saying is so very distant from the farmers’ issues. A lot of them are raising their voice, but the top authorities don’t want to come down and listen,” Arivu said.
"The song is raw, real, close to my heart...more like a petition to the government to listen to the sons of the soil." - Rapper Arivu
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