won't you come, mate?

in the indravelli hills
a squad is born
won't you come, mate?

every squad
gave birth to seventy hands
won't you come, mate?

to every tree the hands tied pots
and to every pot they tied the landlords' heads
won't you come, mate?

look! watching the vote yatras and the promises
mother india wept
and in the tears
mother gave birth
to the sun of rebellion
won't you come, mate?

in the singareni coal pits+
ants are born
and as every ant moves daggers are born
and every dagger gives birth to workers' powers
and those powers spill the contractors' blood
won't you come, mate?

in the dandakaranya
the kondhs'* jatara**
on hungry stomachs play the drums of protest
watch how they march to delhi
let's hand over delhi fort to the tillers
won't you come, mate?

that is my translation of a song written, composed and performed by one of my favourite folk poets/bards, vangapandu prasad rao of the jana natya mandali. i haven't been able to find the original lyrics, so had to jot down the lines while listening to the song- would update, edit this when i find the original lyrics. there'd be some lapses- i request readers to tell me about them. you can listen to the song here (first song in the list). it's a version of the song recorded for a film- so, naturally, it uses more instruments and orchestration than vangapandu, as he is popularly known, normally uses in his street/public performances. actually, he only uses a couple of intruments most times- the ghunghroos on his feet and a madiga dappu, perhaps.

* kondhs: he calls them kondollu (people of the hills)- he is obviously referring to the gonds of indravelli (adilabad district, which is adjacent to bastar etc) who are often called by that name by the plainspeople. adilabad and bastar, and other regions of the dandakaranya, have been the loci of many adivasi rebellions in the past 200 years. and also of brutal repression by the colonial and brahminized states. indravelli had been in the news in the early 80s for a tragic incident that occurred on 20th april, 1981- hundreds of gond villagers, part of a large gathering, a peaceful protest rally against atrocities and exploitation (by non-adivasi traders, landlords, babus, policemen and other outsiders), were gunned down brutally by the security forces (official estimates quote a lower figure).

[ here's a link to a news story, in telugu, on indravelli. and here's another account, in english].

**jAtara: fair, religious festival etc.

+ singareni coal pits: the singareni coal mines are spread over adilabad and a couple of other north telangana districts.


Kiran said...

This genre of movies is one of the redeeming features of telugu cinema . perhaps this is one industry which has made a dalit hero a commerical success (referring to R narayana murthy films)

Yayaver said...

Reading an incident like indravelli makes my mind numb. This is not the part of "Great Indian Culture" taught to us by our society. Thanks for bringing story like this in front of ignorant readers like me who lives in the cocoon type of life style waiting for his paychecques and friday night show.

Hari Batti said...

Though I've no knowledge of the original, the translation works on it's own terms. Enjoyed this very much. Glad I found this blog.


Add to Technorati Favorites