An anthem for the times: Madara’s Tukde Tukde gang

Nothing like music to communicate the anger and passion which sparks within. As the year winds down and the anger runs high, hip-hop artist Rahul Negi, who raps under the name Madara has released what I think will find a huge following among the political churning ongoing among several young people in the country. The rap communicates what has been said in many ways in the last months to year: that a manipulative, divisive and malicious narrative of pitting people against one another will eventually be exposed for what it is.

The following is an attempt at English translation of the rap lyrics by Tanya and myself (On 31 December, Madara integrated the translation below as English subtitles for his song!). Several lines are borrowed from another translated version by Umesh Srinivasan that appears in the YouTube comments of the song video (scroll below for an embedded video). The version by Umesh is more accessible to a global audience who may not grasp the nuances of some of the references in the translation from the original below. Phrases that refer to recent debates/events have been hyper-linked to what I thought is a good read on that topic. If you feel I should be linking to a better-off one, do drop in a line in comments!

Listen to the rap by @MusicMadara

Someone pops a casual question “Why is JNU so cheap here?
And then you ask why you’re getting ripped off in private colleges?
Leeches sit at the helm, while the poor are ravaged by fees
Those who pay bribes and study bark at JNU
Meanwhile, the schools rot in hell, while the statue reaches for the skies

The celebration of the struggle, your daughters sitting in protest
Fiery sounds of the uprising fan the waves of rebellion
And with the flow of words often flow corpses

You silent sheep, you’re used to being screwed
Even your dreams are ransom to the dictates of these thugs
If the chaaiwala in power were enlightened
In this battle for rights, he would stand by you

Would the four-car-toting neta eat ration grain?
Why have the students of AIIMS, IIT, IIMC or BHU poured onto the streets?
Chaos reigns in Uttarakhand’s Ayurvedic college (over fee hikes)
The white-kurta clad politician is a pimp

While one neta is stuck on Einstein’s (discovery of!) gravity,
Another says peacocks make children by drinking their tears,
Yet another pushes cow urine’s cancer cure claims,
But when himself ill rushes to AIIMS

Chorus
Who are these tukde tukde, these pimps of education
Who are these tukde tukde, these sold-out journalists
Who are these tukde tukde, those silent on rape
In the guise of a chowkidar seeking Godse’s nation
Who are these tukde tukde sowing divisions within the country
While sending own children abroad for education
In the struggle for rights, they drive the lathis
And my dear, they make bhakts of the unlettered

What fuck-all progress my country will make
Farmers hanging on their land, girls raped and killed
Rapist ministers prowl free within
While the 56-inch chested roams abroad.

Here, things are rotten, while the journalists are off-rhythm
A terrible thing this, you are tainted beyond measure
If I were to tell what’s on my mind in a sentence
My dear friend, you are bitter and you’re a pimp

People are questioning Kanhaiya’s PhD
While their own netas take 33 years to pass MA
The media lost in a fanciful slumber
While even a loyal dog’s fealty has its limits.

Yea, what will these bearers of fake degrees teach you
They’ll get you to build a temple and have you fry pakoras (for a living)
This government is slimy, it’s agenda incendiary
This is not a lotus in the filth dude, the lotus itself is the filth

Chorus
Who are these tukde tukde, these pimps of education
Who are these tukde tukde, these sold-out journalists
Who are these tukde tukde, those silent on rape
In the guise of a chowkidar seeking Godse’s nation
Who are these tukde tukde sowing divisions within the country
While sending own children abroad for education
In the struggle for rights, they drive the lathis
And my dear, they make bhakts of the unlettered

Translated from hip-hop by Madara/Rahul Negi

A rhyming English translation by Umesh Srinivasan extracted from the YouTube comments is below:

Why is our public education so affordable? I question you.
And you want to know why you’re getting ripped off in the private schools? Here’s why: The leeches in power extort fees from the needy
And the ones who curse our education are the corrupt, the greedy.
The schools rot in hell, but the symbolism is high
Your daughters rise up in protest, don’t you want to know why?

Their voices are the flames of protest, you comprehend?
But with the current also flows our corpses my friend.
You are the silent witness who keeps getting screwed
Your dreams are ransom to the uncouth and the rude
If your Prime Minister was enlightened and wise
He would be fighting this rightful battle with you side-by-side
Why are these politicians riding around in armoured cars?
while they can’t find any jobs for BA, MA pass?

In an Uttarakhand college, chaos reigns supreme
While the “spotless” politician pimps away your dreams.
One of your leader thinks that Einstein discovered gravity
While another — through tears — is expert in peacock depravity
Yet another claims that the cure for cancer is cow urine
But AIIMS is where he ends up when he does fall ill.

Chorus
Who are these rabble, these pimps of education?
What are the pieces of this puzzle? Corrupt journalism
Who are this rabble who stay silent when women face rape?
Look no further, this country is Gosde’s.
Who are these rabble using divide and rule?
While their fancy offspring go abroad to school?
We will not bow down to the stick, whip or teargas
Your propaganda only works for the brainwashed.

Bullshit, “my country is going to see any progress”
Farmers hanging in fields, while girls are ravaged
Our ministers prowl the country raping the nation
While our broad-chested PM is missing-in-action.

Our country is screwed, but the press doesn’t care
Unfortunately, you are beyond repair
If I had to say this in just one line
You’re “bitter”, you’re pimps, but never mind.

People question qualified academicians
while failures in degrees are now politicians
The media is knowingly and peacefully sleeping
But for god’s sake there’s a limit even to ass-licking
How are these imposters going to teach us peoples?
We’ll be selling pakoras to survive while they force us to build temples
This government is useless, it’s agenda is nothing but subversion
The lotus grows in the muck, but this lotus is a perversion.

Other lovely songs riding on the anger have surfaced.

  • The protests in the Aarey forest area in Mumbai spurred the hip-hop collective Swadesi to release a video they made in collaboration with a Warli tribal chief, Prakash Bhoir. Titled The Warli Revolt, the song captures the impassioned call by several people in the area against the cutting down of trees, but soon transformed into taking on larger and more powerful interests.
  • More recently, the Malayali thrash metal band, The Down Troddence (TDT) released their response to the anti-CAA protests titled Fight. React. Be a part. Clearly, music and poetry communicate the anger and passion behind the counter-narrative against the new idea of India that’s been widely bought into by many of the better-off historically and/or socio-economically privileged.
  • Another powerful listen in these times is the reading of the Preamble of the Indian Constitution by Naseeruddin Shah followed by TM Krishna’s Carnatic style rendition of the national anthem.

2 responses to “An anthem for the times: Madara’s Tukde Tukde gang

  1. Where is the video of your translation? 😀

  2. Uh? Do you mean me rapping the translated version in English? It might affect humanity adversely. 🙂

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