When I shut my eyes and think of the hundreds of men and women who came before me, who fought, sometimes silent, sometimes high-pitched battles, to make a lazy patriarchy shift its moral epicenter to fairness, away from only fair and loveliness, the heart brims over. And one knows that each one of us must play our part right now.
A part that none played on that winter night in Delhi.
The outpouring that followed then was a cocktail of guilt, shame, blame and -- somewhere discernible in the stethoscope on a society’s heart – also a sense of ‘No more. No!’
With the wound open, any call for complete healing seemed a bit premature, especially for one that has festered so long in our homes and public spaces.
But there is no doubt that a very private conversation had gone public. Something that hurt this bad must -- or else, how does a society churn?
This International Woman’s Day, the UN has made a call to end violence against women. India has been internalising that call in all sorts of ways. At Yahoo!, our theme ‘Let’s Talk About It’ tracks that ongoing conversation of a nation with herself, as well as of individuals with themselves.
In the urgent blitz of reactions and responses following the Delhi incident, the well known Hindustani classical musician Shubha Mudgal composed this song after a creative dialogue with poet cum TV journalist Aalok Srivastav.
Aalok Srivastav, the reporter-poet shares what she told him: “Aap is dard ke zariye, desh ki har aurat ki azadi ko shabd deejiye aur main ussey awaaz doongi” (“This pain that you are feeling, you turn that into words which speak of and for every woman’s freedom and I’ll give those words a voice.”)
From this jugalbandi of male empathy and female expression was born ‘Khul ke behne do mujhko hawa ki tarah’ (Let me be like the breeze that flows free).
Shubha Mudgal adds: “The song would not have been possible without the generous participation of poet Aalok Srivastav and composer-producer-musician Anindo Bose. Both young men, each talented and brilliant in their respective fields, came forward willingly to share their talent. All three of us decided we would share it on the Internet with anyone who wants to download it, play it, or perhaps use it to protest.”
Just as we look to the power structures for systemic justice, we also look toward our artists to echo our collective sentiment.
As Mudgal puts it: “Not a day goes by without horrifying reports of atrocities against women. If there is any determination apparent in my rendition, it stems from the realisation that we must continue to raise our voices in protest. And the fatigue comes from knowing that even as I do my tiny bit by singing my protest, some girl, some woman somewhere will fall prey to the brutality and violence that seems to have become a part of society.”
Srivastav adds more hopefully: ‘Change has come. Those who will not change from inside will be left in the margins.’
Our Yahoo! Screen team has put the song to more current scenes which, we hope, will leave you with a sense of how much has moved since then.
There are many stories in this song. Is yours one among them? Tune in and let us know.
Dil se nikli hoon, roshan dua ki tarah
Khul ke behne do mujhe hawaa ki tarah
(Like a prayer from a pure heart, I have come to be
Let me be like the breeze that flows free).