There’s a concerted attempt in India to re-tell history so that it fits in with the ideological narrative of the ruling dispensation. Defeats have become victories, achievers have been appropriated, and a mythical past is being invoked as a reality.
Enter the music-comedy-political satire group, Aisi Taisi Democracy. Performed by Indian Ocean star Rahul Ram, The History Song takes swipes at these distortions of history, using the tools of sharp lyrics and melody. From the BJP’s extolling Congress leader Vallabhbhai Patel, through the Rajasthan government’s rewriting the outcome of the Battle of Haldighati, to the on-going debate over Padmavati, nothing is left out.
Screenwriter Varun Grover, who forms one-third of the trio and has written the lyrics for The History Song – along with Sanjay Rajoura – believes that our core nature as conformists is a threat to our democracy at large. “We don’t question anything that people in authority serve to us, including demonetisation,” Grover told Scroll.in. “The ill-effects as a result of lack of education and employment also contributes to a weak democracy,” he said, adding that people become vulnerable to manipulation to serve someone else’s agenda.
“The song will provide catharsis to many people who feel the same way but are not saying it either because they don’t have a mic or the numbers or the expression,” he said, admitting that he doesn’t expect the song to melt the heart of anyone who believes otherwise. “We just have to keep repeating the truth so that it becomes powerful, and so that more and more people are forced to listen, even if it creates just a small dent,” he explained.
“The numbers (of views and shares) somehow give strength to people in times where they might feel cornered, Grover said, contending that even though it might not change anything on the ground, it still documents the dissent against the majoritarian view.
Watch more of their politically-charged music of Aisi Taisi Democracy below: