Blowin In the Wind: Suppressed Char Villagers Invoke Dylan To Sing Their Plight
GUWAHATI: Some might have opposed the decision of giving the literature Nobel to Bob Dylan, but the master lyricist continues to influence the lives of thousands across the globe.
At home and in a fairlyremote unlikely place, the people living in the Char (riverine) areas in Assam who belong to the minority community, have discovered Dylan. And are using him to express their pain and the tale of their suppression through the Bengali version of his famous song ‘Blowing in the Wind’.
A group of educated youths who belong to these areas have started a movement with poetry and songs using YouTube as their medium of expression.
“This community has long been suppressed in every aspect of life. They are already backward with poverty and lack of education. Very often, they are termed as Bangladeshi just because the language they speak or the way they dress. So, we thought this is the best possible way of protest and to express the pain and plight of the community,” Abdul Kalam Azad, a research fellow of TISS-UNICEF, who is also involved in the movement, told The Citizen.
The adaptation done by New Delhi based writer, translator and researcher Shalim M Hussain, narrates the plight of the people who have been deprived of their dues on several occasion and the plight.
“These people have been neglected by the government, media and everybody. Now, we hope this movement will be heard,” Kalam added.
“Arr koto mulluk ghuraiba bhai, Manush buila manar aage, Arr koto nodi hatuiraba bhai, Tashki khaya porar aage, Arr koto 47'er gurrum hunaiba, Koilja faitta jawar aage… Jawab toh bhai batashe ure…” the adaption version goes. (How many lands will you make me roam, Before you call me man, How many rivers will you make me swim, Before I slump on the sand, How many booms of 47s will you make me hear, Before my heart splits with a bang)
Shalim said that he along with a few have been thinking of starting a similar movement for quite some time. “And it was going on for several months on Facebook. We considered for several other options but seeing the popularity and mass appeal of Bob Dylan and especially this song, we have decided to use this song,” Shalim said.
They have named the movement ‘Itamugur’ (a wooden equipment used by the farmers in field). “We have named it Itamugur which represents the working class.
The song was sung by one school teacher of Barpeta district Rafiqul Haque aka Monu Miya. Shalim and his friends found the self-taught Monu Miya while singing during a marriage. “Finally we shot it and released it on YouTube,” Shalim added.
For Monu Miya, it was a great experience. “I have learnt the guitar myself and I occasionally perform in my locality. But after this song, I am getting feedback like never before,” he said.
Now, they are coming up with several other classics to make their voice heard by each and everyone like never before.