Thanks For Your Atrocities: Manipur Musician Sings Out Loud Against Citizenship Bill

Here are some lines from the song

…Thanks for your atrocities.

Now we stand united Against your BJP

Against your CAB

Against your propagandas

Against your government…

…No place for you

No place for Hindutva

No place for fanatics

No place for your politics…

Imphal, February 5, 2019

No place for you, No place for Hindutva, No place for fanatics, No place for your politics, We have learn how to have fun, Amidst the guns and militarisation, Here we are to take you down And your fascist regime – goes the lyrics of the song which was released by the Imphal Talkies and the Howlers, a folk-rock band from Manipur, opposing the much-debated Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

Musician Akhu Chingangbam and his band slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government “atrocities” and “fascist” behaviour towards the Northeast region. You book people under NSA for speaking out. How big is your prison? I wonder! You been killing us with AFSPA. How big is your morgue? I wonder! ….the singer asks.

The two-and-a-half-minute long black and white video – Stand United Against CAB – was uploaded on the band’s YouTube page on February 4th, 2019. The video is a compilation of footage from the various protests, candlelight vigils and rallies against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill across the Northeast.

The band, which was formed by Chingangbam (vocal and guitar) with Sachidananda Angom (guitar) in 2008,  is known for singing protest songs about politics, insurgency, human rights issues, and racial attacks in Manipur and across the Northeast States. The band is a vocal opponent of the Armed Forces (Assam and Manipur) Special Powers Act (AFSPA) of 1958.

Lashing out at the Centre for “killing” the people of the entire Northeast region by imposing the draconian act AFSPA, Chingangbam, who penned the lyrics, sings, “You want the land but not the people. Oppression has been your culture, You want to write new history and fables, But my kingdom is older than your nation.”

In one of the verses he says, “You want to build your empire in my land, With your clowns and puppets, You dream to build your temples in my land, But this is a kingdom made up of my ancestors’ sweat, blood and flesh.”

Watch the video here

United Against Citizenship Bill

On January 31st, 2019, the normal life in Manipur came to a standstill following call for 24-hour shutdown in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. The band members too thought of registering their protest. The members headed towards their studio, located in Nagamapal in Imphal, and recorded the song.

The musicians came down heavily of the ruling government at the Centre. “It’s been decades since you colonized us, And now you wanna give away my kingdom, You shot my brothers in the streets of Tripura, And now you wanna arrest Dr. Hiren Gohain…”goes the lyrics of the song.

Bone of contention

The Citizenship Bill, which seeks to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who entered India before December 31st, 2014, was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8th, 2019. However, the bill was stalled at the Rajya Sabha on January 9th, 2019 following strong opposition from the Congress, Trinamool Congress along with other parties.