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20 Jun 2017

Artistes lend voice to Gorkhaland

Artistes perform at the Industrial Park in Kalimpong on Sunday
RAJEEV RAVIDAS, TT, Kalimpong, June 19: A group of artistes, comprising poets, writers, musicians and painters, today left here for Darjeeling on foot to lend their support to the on-going agitation for Gorkhaland as part of, what they called, "Sanskritik Pahal (cultural initiative)".
The artistes from across the hills are expected to converge on Chowrasta, Darjeeling's famous promenade, on Wednesday and organise a cultural jamboree there in support of the movement for a separate state.
"We artistes from across the hills have decided to do our bit to express our support to the movement. We cannot remain silent observers when our people are being killed so brutally and the state government is so high-handed in suppressing what is essentially a constitutional demand," said Chewang Yonzone, a young poet who was among the marchers.
The initiative is being undertaken under no particular banner, and the artistes have come together in their individual capacities.
"Artists from all over the hills have been in touch with each other and have worked out this programme jointly. Our friends from different parts of the hills will be joining us in Darjeeling where we will voice our support for the movement and condemn the state atrocities through our poems, music and paintings," said Yonzone.
Yesterday, Kalimpong was witness to a sample of what would take place in Darjeeling on Wednesday as a motley group of local artists gathered at the Industrial Park near Damber Chowk and recited poetries, sang songs and drew paintings of protests even as a sea of humanity was taking out a rally for Gorkhaland on the streets outside.
Prem Sharma's recital of his poem "Hatyara Sarkar (Killer government)" was greeted with wild claps by the small group gathered in the park.
"Tero ishara ma rudai cha sahar, tero ishara ma goli, bomb, barud parkoundeicha, din ka din jhaldei cha ahgo, rudai cha Darjeeling sahar, tero seto sari Gorkha ko ragat lay rangiyeko cha, hatyara sarkar! (At your prompting, the town is crying; at your prompting, bullets, bombs are being fired; the fire is raging every day, Darjeeling city is crying, your white sari is soiled with the blood of the Gorkhas, killer government," he recited, referring to Mamata Banerjee.
As musicians, young and old, sang songs of protest, artists painted pictures depicting scenes of police firing and lathi-charge on people.
"Hamro bhagya bhabi lay laykhiyena ta kay bhayo, hamro bhetha vishwa lay dekhayna ta kay bhayo, afnu bhagya rekha afnai haat lay hami kornay chhau (What if the Lord did not write our fate, what if the world can't see our pain, we will write our own destiny)," went the lyrics of a song sung by a group of singers.
Another young poet, D.K. Waiba, ridiculed the government for terming as explosives the alleged arms, comprising mostly arrows and farm tools, recovered from the house of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung at Patlebas last week in his poem "Oh! Sarkar".
The loudest cheer was received by the front man of a band who, before belting out three protest songs, said in a message to Mamata.
"This is our AK47 (pointing to the guitar), this is our Tom Hawks (pointing to another guitar), and we are about to bombard this place," said Nishat Gupta, the singer of the band Hilarious (Hill Areas and Us). And, he was not trying to be funny!

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