Song Review: “Nirobotar Kolorob”

The Youtube music video reviewed is thus:


Shib Shankar Dasgupta comments on the recent (and ongoing) Hokkolorob movement originating from Jadavpur University, India. Having observed the movement from its beginning, I thought I’d write a few things on the song. I’m not a great judge of music, and I can’t say much about the rhythm/melody/tune, therefore I’ll limit myself mostly to the lyrics.

The thinly veiled metaphor for the current and previous government in West Bengal, being referred to as “nilkomol” and “lalkomol” (blue lotus and red lotus) seems unnecessary and tacky, and poetic finesse such as this is redundant to both the revolutionary and the layman. Some in the dilettante society in Kolkata might feel relieved at the lack of directness, but is it them the song is written for?
The second stanza makes a statement many would be scared to make in the city, and props go to the artist for writing these lines, but again, it is common knowledge to both the oppressed layman and the rising revolutionary, and again fails to come off as creative or thought-provoking.
The motive behind writing the third stanza is unclear. One wonders what the function of “notojanu nirobota, bhaddhyo porua-r dol/ obohela-e protibad-e ‘onek hoyeche chol’” is in a song that ponders the effects and aftereffects of student revolution on society and the government in the next stanzas. Sure, sometimes, the students might give up on resisting the oppression, but that is exactly the monstrous odds that Hokkolorob overcame and proposes to overcome. What is the meaning of revolution if the revolutionaries already know the outcome? Probably a farce.
Lastly, one is sorely tempted to call bullshit on the last stanza. At the risk of making a fashionable tautology, no, silence is not noise, noise is noise. Silence may fall after noise, but silence cannot be the noise. Sorry again, fine poetic rhetoric and aesthetic, but inaction cannot be taken as protest.


Object Little A wants nothing more than to be the quintessential wallflower.


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Comments: 1

  1. Shib Shankar dasgupta says:

    Two things prompted me to write this song based on the recent Hok Kolorob movement in JU Kolkata: (1) Their elaborate process in General Body Meetings; (2) Participation of the students in the movement.
    Democratic students in JU have adopted a scientific methodology of bringing out issues through their General Body (GB) Meetings in this movement. A GB offers an opportunity to voice the views of ordinary students who otherwise prefer to remain silent. The GBs in this movement were enormously successful as more than 50 000 students and their sympathizers participated in the grand rally.
    Hok Kolorob is not another political slogan like Ma Mati Manush. Nothing is thrust upon the students from outside. It is a celebration of a constant emergence of the spirit of students’ aspirations. It has a legacy of the past. I used the phrase “Avinno Ucchash” to describe those aspirations of the students.
    The pundits along with the media have always criticized JU students as “Baddhyo Poruar dol”. There is always a sense of ridicule that JU students are opportunistic corporate stooges. But when the movement gathered more than 50 000 students in that Michil, everybody was stunned. The third paragraph is a poetic expression of giving a slap on the face of these pundits of Bengal.
    I was lucky enough to participate in the Students’ Gathering of 1976-77 (just after the Emergency period during Indira Gandhi’s time). Throughout the last 30 years, I have noticed that both the ruling parties from 1977- 2011 and later from 2011 onwards, have the single intention of subverting any movement that develops in JU. I used the phrase “Avinnyo Santrash” to describe it. This is a poetic dissection to highlight how one of these parties was trying to hijack and manipulate the current HokKolorob movement. It was quite evident when the students during the recent college elections used a poster to say, “We have not forgotten the earlier years when the students were similarly brutalized.” I used the same sentiment through this expression.
    You have lot of wrath for the term Neerobotar Kolorob. JU has always been the center for democratic movements in West Bengal. Behind the current celebration of Hokolorob movement there is a continuous silent struggle in perfecting whatever they learn as students and teachers of the university. Most of the academic dialogues remain dormant within the boundary walls of the university. I have tried to project these continuous endeavors as the silent aspect of a movement. It was silent but dynamic. It was only the preparation for another outburst. When this movement will subside, the students will go back to their work again. But that does not mean that they will be silent. They will be involved in a kolorob of different dimension which academic pundits and political manipulators will never be able to fathom. “Sob Rong sesh hole, Sob Sur theme gele, Neerobota-i sotyo, Neerobotar Kolorob.”
    I am quite grateful to you for spending your time and publishing this commentary on my song. You have every right to critique my song. But your readers should have the benefit of knowing what I have to say in response to your comments. Let the people (your readers in this case) be the judge.

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