“Each grain of salt sings in chorus, go back, go back…”
An Indian artist, Poojan Sahil, has come up with a Punjabi rendition of the popular revolution song, “Bella Ciao” in a bid to show support to the farmers protesting at the Singhu borders near Delhi against the Centre’s farm laws.
The song is going viral. At the time of writing this, there are over 28,000 views– and it’s not even been 24 hours since it was uploaded on the YouTube channel.
In the description section of his YouTube channel, Sahil writes, “I make socio-political songs and try to promote the act of asking questions and celebrating dissent by letting people sing along to the tunes familiar to them.”
Previously, he has composed multiple songs on issues like lynchings, love jihad and even Umar Khalid’s arrest.
On Thursday, Sahil posted a video extending support to the protesting farmers. The video is a montage of visuals from the protest site, showing farmers as they raise banners and flags against the contentious farm laws.
Sahil clarified on YouTube that the song is not a translation of “Bella Ciao”, but is a Punjabi rendition. He also said that the song is in solidarity with the farmers.
You can watch the music video here:
On Friday, the farmers enter their 23rd day of protests as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to address farmers in Madhya Pradesh’s Raisen through video conference.
For those who are unaware, here’s some context.
In September, the Centre passed three agricultural laws that have been dubbed as agricultural reforms. These are namely the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. While the government has claimed that the laws are in the interest of the farmers, the latter have claimed that the laws are “anti-farmer”.
The main objection to the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act is that it is pro-corporate. It allows farmers to sell outside of the APMC (agricultural produce market committee). But it abolishes the mandi system that operates under the APMC system, meaning farmers would now have to sell to corporates, meaning there will be no purchase of crop at MSP.
Bella Ciao is an old Italian protest song that turned into Italy’s unofficial anti-Fascist anthem. Around the world, the song gained popularity when it was used on Netflix’s popular show, “Money Heist.”
In India, the song also gained momentum when it became an anthem of sorts for students and residents protesting against the violence at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus that broke out in December, 2019. In videos that had gone viral back then, many adapted “Bella ciao” in regional languages like Bengali and Hindi to raise their voice against violence.