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Thursday, June 24, 2021

    Sowing the seeds of change

    Inclusion- a feeling many of us take for granted, evokes powerful emotions among the ones left out by society based on lived experience

    Sowing the seeds of change

    Sipping into our cup of hot brew, we often feel how things need to change and how society today should be more progressive. Most thoughts that spring in our conscience remain within and fail to see the light of the day. I am as guilty as the others, and hence when I see people around me working for change, I yelp with pride and happiness.

    Last week, I had such a moment, and I felt incredibly proud as this artist known for her vibrant Bihu geet took the plunge to sing and voice her opinion on a topic, which is still considered taboo by many. Abhishruti Bezbaruah in her new release “Ore Raati” changes her path from her vibrant folk songs of Assam to talk about the life of a transgender person to sensitize the audience about the inequality they face in our society. “Embrace, Educate, Empower” is Abhishruti’s appeal to society in her new song.

    Inclusion- a feeling many of us take for granted, evokes powerful emotions among the ones left out by society based on lived experience. Through “Ore Raati”, the singer and her team try to include the legally accepted third gender into the society with open arms and a clear conscience, free of malice and judgments. Abhishruti, in her honest and robust endeavour, urges society through her song to “embrace the LGBTQIA+ community, and for society to educate themselves and empower trans people.” Ore Raati features JanviBorkakoti, an inspiration in herself who is proud to be a Trans woman and lives life on her own terms, legendary actor Smt. Malaya Goswami, Bijit Kumar Das, Tanets Twins- Dimpi and Simpi and the singer herself. Conceptualized and realized by Abhishruti herself, the song is directed and shot by RaktimHazarika. The audio production is by AnupamKonwar. KalpanaBhuyan penned the magic of the lyrics.

    In a brief telephonic conversation with the singer, I had just two questions in my mind which Abhishruti gracefully answered and which touched and moved me into believing “the seeds of change need to be sown today if we want to relish the fruits tomorrow.”

    What inspired you?

    Society. When you walk about your daily life, you get to see the distinctions made and differences emphasized on parochial lines. Such sights and societal norms made me think and question, our existence as humans.  No matter who we are or who we choose to be, in the end, we are all humans beneath the differences of our gender, caste, creed, ethnicity, race, skin colour and affinities. Respect is vital for all, and we all should be given that basic respect and dignity in life.

    These feelings have been with me over the years now, and I have tried my best to understand this community I am trying to represent in my song, to the best of my abilities by communicating with members of the LGBTQIA+ community. During this pandemic, I connected with GayatriBhuyan and MilindDutta. MilindDutta is an LGBTQIA+ activist; producer of the movie “JonakiPorua” and a proud Trans man who helped me connect to various members of the community in Assam.

    Moreover, that is when I realized this community needs to be celebrated and presented in a positive light. LGBTQIA+ community needs acceptance, and we, as members of the same social fabric, need to educate ourselves better, and Ore Raati brings about this same message through music.

    Art for a cause- does it work? What are your thoughts about this?

    I believe our society is a sum of all its parts and progressive change takes time.  I see change; I see people widening their horizons; there is more acceptance in the world. As an artist, I feel that each of us who have the privilege and influence in social and mainstream media should initiate, enable and address much-needed conversations, to bring about the progressive change we seek.

    Song with a cause should be the caption for Ore Raati. Love, strength and power to the singer and her team, as they are “sowing the seedsof change”.

    The writer is a PhD Scholar and a trainer from Guwahati (Assam)

    The views expressed by the writer are personal and may not in any way represent those of TIME8.

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    First published