Tuesday, December 7, 2010
On November 2nd I reached Imphal. It was also the day the festival "Festival of Justice, Hope and Peace" started. It was a festival to celebrate the spirit of Irom Sharmila, a Lady who has been fasting for last ten years protesting against Armed Forces Special Powers Act(AFSPA). The festival consisted of many programmes like plays, discussion on AFSPA, Music concerts, Bike Rally,etc. I attended the inaugural day of the festival in which could see some fantastic folk music instruments like flutes and gigantic size drum. Two men in traditional clothes were playing
the drum and the flute welcoming the chief guest.
Before i reached imphal i was informed that my band Imphal Talkies N the Howlers can perform on 5th November along with TAPTA, the greatest music band of Manipur, as part of the festival. So when i was in Delhi i already wrote a meiteilon song called "Eche (Sister)" . it didn't take me more than two days to write the song as i have written few English poems on her.
I met Sachin, lead guitarist in my band, to work out the song with his guitar parts after two days of my arrival. We jammed everyday at Sachin's room with two acoustic guitars and one harmonica around my neck. we prepared three songs for the concert Lai Haraoba, Eche and Qutub Minar. We haven't recorded any of these songs before. SO it was quite hard to arrange the music in such short time for the concert. But Sachin came up with many ideas which i found quite surprisingly interesting. Soon the 5th November arrived, and we were practicing in in his room for one last time. Then sachin's phone rang. It was Vinod, a violinist and a very close friend,
telling sachin he met a road accident. His voice was shaking. He wanted us to come at the accident spot. So Sachin and i leaving everything we drove off his car to Chingemeirong. When we called again he was already at JN hosptal.
We went there and found him lying, cursing the bikers who hitted him from behind with such speed that his NV Vespa ran double times faster than the speed he was riding.
We convinced Vinod to get few injection as the nurse advised us. he was refusing but at the end
The concert would be starting at 4pm. and we were in the hospital till 3.30pm. We drove off from the hospital with Vinod on back seat. and Sachin dropped me at my place. we planned to meet at BOAT which is the concert venue.
I had my lunch as i was starving since morning. while eating a friend called me up and told me that i am invited for dinner at Professor Lokendra Arambam's place. I told her i have a concert
i can not come. Then she said the concert has been canceled.
I was shocked to hear the news. How on earth i didn't know of this?? at least the organisers should have informed me. Then i straight called up Oinam Doren who is a friend with many organisers.
He told me the concert might take place. Then i rushed to the venue. and found six/seven gypsy cars of Manipuri Commandos. They were commanding to pull down the banners and to rush off from the venue. Actually i didnt know why they stopped the concert. then I called up Sachin and informed about the news. He said fine in a very sad tone.
Some said the reason why the concert was banned was due to the public meeting that held at the same venue. As many said the speakers in the meeting were outrageous about issues of various things ranging from Sharmila's itself to whereabout of Meghen, the chairman of UNLF, who was arrested in Bangladesh.
Some said the art and culture department gave permit of the venue only till 2pm.
I was pissed off with whatever the reason it was because it was a big day for my band. we were about to perform for the first time in Imphal and that too in a festival where many activists from across the country have come to celebrate the spirit of Irom Sharmla.
That night i called up Sachin and insisted him to record the song. Soon we hit shallow river studio with no money to record the song 'ECHE'. The studio was having a very busy schedule as many rock bands have already booked it. In between i felt ill for few days too in which i celebrated my birthday on my sick bed. but we finally finished the recording one day before i left for Delhi.
And How i wished to perform this song in front of Eche Sharmila?? It remained a dream.
Here is a video of the song Eche made by Basanta Rajkumar who is more than a brother to us.
Thank You Tamo Basanta for everything
A note that the band sent out with mp3 file of the song to many people across the globe:
The world calls her the Iron Lady acknowledging her undying spirit.
Her steadfast fast-unto death, undertaken for more than ten years, to
repeal the Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act from the soil of Manipur has received international attention. They say there is no room for killing and violence in a truly democratic country. Indeed, they say, there is no room for suppression and oppression in a truly liberated country. However, the Indian State refuses to repeal the same Act in the name of “law” and “order”. Instead, she’s been declared as a proclaimed offender and a criminal numero uno, forced-fed and imprisoned in a high security prison.
Human rights continue to be violated. Lives continue to be taken away. And mournful wails of widows and orphans reverberate in the valley and hills of Manipur.
She’s the one and only person who defies the might of the Indian state.She is truly the embodiment of the triumph of the human spirit and the icon of peace and human rights.
The band thanks Basanta Rajkumar, Homen Thangjam ,Dingo Heikham, Ringo Pebam, Chitra Ahanthem Doren Oinam , Sumitra Thoidingjam, Shallow River Studio Team, RK Jame, Bona Meisnam, Momo Kangabam, Nirun Thongbam, Onil Kshetrimayumand Anjulika Thingnam, Paonam Thoibi.
for their valuable supports, encouragement, etc.