Farmers’ songs, protest and victory take center stage at weddings

It is the wedding of Chhelu Ram’s nephew Pankaj Dhaka in Bhuthan Kalan village in Fatehabad and the air is full of celebrations.

As relatives ask 56-year-old Chhelu Ram to come and dance with them, he rather silently walks up to the man who was playing songs on his DJ set. He then quietly asks her, “Kisan aala chla de (Please play the song about the farmer). ”

Soon a Haryanvi folk song, “Modi ji thari top kade, hum Delhi aage” (Modi ji where your cannon is, we came to Delhi), starts playing and Chhelu Ram and the others start grooving on it, bursting out loud. uncoordinated dance movements.

And this is not limited to Bhuthan Kalan.

Songs glorifying the agricultural turmoil that lasted for months began to take center stage throughout almost all of Haryana at wedding ceremonies, and everyone – from children to young people to the elderly – seems to love them.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement last week that the three contentious farm laws would be overturned caused a tectonic shift in the wedding songs being played. The usual wedding songs quickly faded, with songs about farmers and their victory taking center stage.

“These are farmers’ victory songs and the victory songs are always better remembered. Until the next big episode, these songs will continue to be sung. This is how these songs change, ”explains M Rajivlochan, professor of history at the Panjab University in Chandigarh.

Before being part of the wedding ceremonies, the song “Modi ji thari top kade, hum Delhi aage”, had inspired thousands of farmers to protest across northern India. It wasn’t long before people made it their ringtones / mobile ringtones and the song could even be heard in cars and jeeps.
Likewise, another Haryanvi folk song “kadar kisan ki”, written by ex-serviceman Ajay Hooda from a Rohtak village, was a hit with millions in the country’s Hindi belt, where it attracted millions. viewers on social networks. platforms.

The lyrics, “Re karlo kadar kisan ki, sare milke baat karo iske samman ki” (respect the farmer, unite to speak of his honor), speak of the difficulties faced by farmers, although they are our “annadatas”. “. He sheds light on the problem of farmer suicides and pleads for the police not to resort to their indictment.

Haryanvi’s lyricist Ajay Hooda previously told The Indian Express: “The song kadar kisan ki has been uploaded to at least 1,700 channels or groups from different social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

Speaking about the purpose of the song, Hooda said, “This country has only two gods – one kisans and the other jawans. A jawan receives a salary and is responsible for the security of the nation. Likewise, farmers feed the whole country. But despite this, they face unfavorable financial conditions. I wanted to highlight the challenges of the farmers by singing a song to them.

Fatehabad farmer chief Mandeep Nathwan said: “Not only the songs, even the flags of various farmer outfits have now become a symbol of pride. They go to wedding parties with such flags on their vehicles. People are now proud to be a farmer. Their self-confidence has increased. This unrest not only raised awareness of the country’s political system, but also shed light on the functioning of the corporate and media sector. “

The historian M Rajivlochan qualifies this result of the peasant agitation as “quite normal”. He said: “Songs are always concerned with contemporary events and they shape contemporary events in people’s memory. Thus, the songs create a new memory that everyone can share. After the Mutiny of 1857, similar songs were written about various characters. You would have heard of the many heroes linked to the 1857 mutiny in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. We remember these heroes because of these songs. The songs have been written; what did Jhalkari Bai and Rani Jhansi do? Rani Jhansi jumped from the fort which was not recorded in military history but in Bundelkhand songs. In the Gwalior region, almost everyone sings these songs.

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