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VIEWPOINT: TO BE OR NOT TO BE

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To be or not to be

Have begun writing after quite a while. After long deliberation, I decided to write on a few new Northeastern bands that I had recently come across. As expected, their media presence is non-existent as is the case with most bands from this region. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a saviour or a leader. I am a part of a badly drawn circle. And then I chanced upon #OccupyGezi.

Gezi Park was one of the last remaining spots of greenery in Istanbul. To cut a long story short, the people of Istanbul had taken to the streets—to protest against the Prime Minister tearing down the park—to build a shopping complex owned by him. The police was sent off to crack down on the protesters. The media was barred from sharing any images (still or video) in their reports. The only updates came via Twitter which was raging under the #OccupyGezi hashtag. All sorts of international media organizations and celebrities were tagged to share updates, most incidentally did not! #OccupyGezi is a person standing up for their rights, for what is right. Not many people are aware of it but Istanbul didn’t stoop down and cry. Istanbul created so much noise that people around the world had to sit up and take notice. And we did…

I took to music writing by accident and the more I got into it, I realized this was far from being a safe career option—safe only next to suicide bombing perhaps. A few years ago, Facebook was hit by the Northeast India versus Mainland India debate. Mainland India has always maintained that Northeast India should stand up on its own feet, rather than trying to be ‘underground’ and expecting exposure to come to them. Although that topic veered onto to much more unpleasant territory, the line remained with me. And after spending a considerable amount of time doing this, I realize that the sentence was true.

Why do we cry about no nominations at music awards?  Why do we whine when the most hip deathcore band is assigned only 3 paragraphs towards the fag end of a music magazine? Why is there the extreme need to be acclaimed and appreciated, to be put up on a pedestal? Why can’t we sell our wares? In my mind, an analogy between #OccupyGezi and the situation that faces our bands began to shape up. What if we take our music and shove it down the ears of anybody who listens to music? What if we spam a music promoter in Mumbai or an A&R executive until they begin to pay attention? Why don’t we pool money and go play outside? Can’t we bleed for what we stand for? Can’t we set our egos aside for a while and escape the safety of familiarity? We very well can. Northeast needs to create noise and not sit, stoop and sulk. The noise needs to be univocal, instead of being keyboard warriors muttering the mundane. The noise will make heads turn. Istanbul did. We can too. So, should we?

 

~ Hengul Dutta

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