From the Indian Ocean band: A Song for the Anti-Nuclear Movement

Anitha S.

Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala witnessed a unique musical evening on October 7th, 2012. Under the evening sky crowded with roosting birds and emerging bats, the musical lovers of the city heard the first live performance of the famed Indian Ocean band in Kerala.

Organised as part of the 5th Kovalam Literary Festival the musical evening pulled a large 1500 strong audience mostly composed of youth. The Indian Ocean band which started in the 1980s does not claim to be a political band but has had very strong and clear human liberal approaches to issues and realities. The team members are against communalism and discrimination and is committed to people’s struggles and concerns. This has been proven time and again through their songs Bandeh ( in the movie Black Friday), Ma Rewa ( the hymn from Narmada Valley in the album Khandisa) Khandisa ( in the ancient dialect Aramaic) sung for peace and love and the Bengali Bondhu.

Indian Ocean performing in Thiruvananthapuram

In an interaction with anti-nuclear activists in Trivandrum, Rahul Ram, the bass guitarist and vocalist of Indian Ocean expressed his concern about the safety of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant and the technology itself. In indignation he exclaimed “ If it is so safe then why not have one in the heart of Bombay or Delhi?”

This support towards the People’s movement against Nuclear Energy was evident as he dedicated the song “ Boll Weevil” to the people fighting for justice, safe life and livelihood and against corruption in the Koodankulam area. Boll Weevil written by Adivasi activist and poet Vahru Sonavane of Bhoomi Sena ( Thane, Maharashtra) speaks of the adivasi admonishing the policeman asking for chicken as bribe by proclaiming that we will not give as we are adivasis or cubs of the tiger . The need to establish the identity and self-respect of Adivasis and of all traditional communities linked to nature and ecosystems is evident in the song. It questions all forms of inequality and hierarchy and sings for the establishment of truth and justice in the world.

As the audience cheered when Rahul announced the support for the Koodankulam struggle, it was clear that the movement has touched the minds of many.




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