Published: 21st October 2020
Kerala teacher, former student wrote a song for Jacinda Ardern. And the NZ PM wrote back to thank them
The song 'A leader called Jacinda' was written by M C Vasisht and composed and sung by his student Ashish Thomas George
New Zealand is no Wakanda, but at least after the COVID-19 pandemic engulfed the earth, this is one country to which everyone wants to run away. With a total tally of 1,887 and 25 deaths, the way the country under the leadership of its Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern managed the pandemic was praised by the entire world.
Ardern's got admirers in Kerala too. Among them were M C Vasisht, a history professor in Kozhikode's Malabar Christian College and his former student Ashish Thomas. When the lockdown allowed them some time to get their creative juices flowing, the duo came up with a song for the Prime Minister. While Vasisht penned the lyrics, Thomas composed and sang the song. Titled A leader called Jacinda, the song was well received by people in both India and New Zealand.
"That was when I thought that I must let Ardern also know about this song. So, I emailed it to her," says Vasisht. However, he wasn't prepared for what happened next. A few days later, he received an email, all the way from Kiwiland. Even though Ardern, who was then busy with the elections couldn't respond personally, her office did send out an email, thanking the duo. "Jacinda has very much appreciated receiving your kind words and hope you are staying safe and well in Calicut, Kerala India," the email read.
Even though not overwhelmed, Vasisht was quite happy. "Her leadership is quite admirable. She has redefined governance for the entire world and did a great job of managing the pandemic," he says. During the lockdown, he had also made documentaries about a few other world leaders who played a key role in managing the pandemic.
A three-month-long journey
Vasisht says that the song is the result of a "teacher-student friendship that blossomed in Malabar Christian College." Thomas agrees to this. "I have composed a few songs in the past. But when Vasisht sir called me up with the song's lyrics, I thought I would get a professional team for him to compose it. The lyrics were really beautiful," he says. "But he wanted me to compose it. I was quite elated. However, the lockdown delayed the project a bit," he adds. It took them three months - June to September to produce the song.
Thomas, who also created the video montage for the song, said that the search for the right pictures was what got him to learn more about Ardern. "She managed the pandemic and the country so well. I feel quite lucky, to be part of a project that pays tribute to a leader like her," he adds.