the Kolkata Rockers’ political agenda

Part 3

So who else Rocks in Kolkata?

Quite a few in fact, groups like, Lokkichhara, SHANDHAN, DHUMKETU, STRINGER, ARKA to name a few. There are scores of others in the suburbs around Kolkata, across the coastal state West Bengal and beyond the borders in Bangladesh.

They haven’t got a subversive political agenda. They are not here to change the world. “We know we cannot do it” is all they have to say about this subject. They are indeed far from being any organized force yet. They have no unions to look after their interests. they hardly have time to ponder over the distance they have covered. They are simply busy keeping their acts alive at this juncture. Survival is more important.

They do however proudly project themselves as the flag bearers of Bangla Alternative Music. They want the world to know that it is not accidental.  Their music do successfully reflect how this generation feels, thinks about life around them, their vulnerability and angst and disillusionment and dreams and aspirations, typical urbane problems and issues.

Ways of loving and living that are typical of their times. Sex is no longer a taboo, you can sing about it if it concerns you in any serious way.

There is less pretension in their music.

Most of the musicians are professionals – doctors, engineers, teachers, ad-men, journos, and university blues and know their way around the intellectual and philosophical terrain.

They have managed to capture the essence of urbane contemporary life, within an urbane contemporary format. Their presentation is designed to reaffirm the vigour and vitality of the angst ridden GEN X and GEN Y.  Their medium of expression is contemporary Bangla of campuses and tea stalls (roadside chai kitlis), uninhibited, free flowing, spontaneous musical expression, where grammar gracefully takes second seat while rocking emotions take the first.

What about the great Rocking tradition of challenging the status quo? CACTUS  Siddartha looks bored. ABHILASHA Kutty shrugs, “We abhor the disintegration that is happening all around us, we simply want people to stop waging wars and live peacefully, each one doing his own stuff.” Rupam says, “No one was listening. I realized I was lonely, with something to say to the world, so I decided to breathe in and scream.”

You don’t need to sit properly, dress properly to attend a Rock show. Anything goes, you could be anybody, they are the intellectual democrats – your age, sex, colour, creed is no bar as long as you are willing to give yourself up to their music and jive along, be alive and conscious of life around you, for their music is about here and now.

The established order is slow, the people diffident, but they won’t let go, so pitch in, fasten your seat belts and hold on to whatever while giving it a loud shout, let the angst explode, the strobes blaze…

“Jibon ar cholchhey na shoja pothhey”, roars Rupam in one of his songs ( meaning, life isn’t exactly straight”). Life is constantly changing and we get caught in the vortex at times. There is no skirting the process or getting out of it, one is driven, so let it be, jump into the Band wagon and have fun. Let physics, and nature and economics take control and evolution take its own course.


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