“The seeds that were sowed did not sprout
A few that did, did not flourish
With no rain, no water, we perish in this drought
Is this forever we worry
Scorched lands are all what we get?
We, poor, beg and beseech
Is this our fate?
When will the rain come, with the scent of the earth?”
These lines have been written by PerumalMurugan, one of the prominent writers in Tamil, two years ago. Written originally in Tamil, these verses express the plight of farmers who desperately wait for the rain. Now, as the farmers’ protest spreads across various parts of India shuddering the central government, these lines are set in tunes and sung by the Carnatic vocalist T M Krishna. T M Krishna and PerumalMurugan have come together to make this musical piece as a way of expressing their solidarity with all the fighting farmers of India. The farmers of the country are protesting for nearly 20 days against the three laws passed in the Indian Parliament in September. The protestors demand the complete revocation of these three ‘anti farmers’ laws.
Being a native of Kootapalli, a village in Tamil Nandu and born into a farmer household, Murugan’s poems primarily carried vivid images of the farmers’ lives. The intense expression of their sorrow and predicament in the poem moved TM Krishna. For him, there was no better time to compose the song than this turbulent period. In fact, in a conversation with Indian Express, Krishna said, “Diminishing the mind, the body and the work of farmers is a problem. We’ve done this for generations and the song, in a very subtle manner, expresses that. It’s only when farmers have died or when farmers are asking that we talk about them. So, I called Murugan and said that the song should come out now. This is the right time”. The song was released on the social media on December 8 with Hindi and English subtitles. Composed in a traditional Carnatic kirtan format, the song is set in Dhanyasiraaga, which is mostly used to convey bhakti rasa. “We dedicate this song to the farmers in India”, says Murugan and Krishna at the beginning of the video. Murugan begins the piece with the words from Thirukkural. It goes like this, “He who toils to raise his food can be said to live by right. He, who doesn’t is a cringing parasite”.
YouTube link of the song;