Image for representational purpose only (Pic: Official Website)
Image for representational purpose only (Pic: Official Website)

Why this parody of Manike Mage Hithe talking about protests at VBU and campus closure is super cool

The organisation has students from various universities who sing songs, perform on stage productions and much more

Even if you are not much of a music lover, you couldn't have avoided Manike Mage Hithe (rather the cover of the song by Yohani). It's everywhere from Instagram reels and now even in protest songs. A Bengali people's cultural group — Janaganomano — has come up with a parody of the catchy tune that speaks of the protests at Visva-Bharati and the demands of the students while also criticising the actions of Vice-Chancellor Dr Bidyut Chakraborty.

The group that has everyone from thespians to artists to students and was formed around 2019, has been part of many protests and their songs are quite popular even on social media platforms. "We chose this song because its was very popular and is instantly relatable for young people. Not just that, it also has a very folkish tune which is in perfectly with our lyrics and mood of the song," said Shubhankar, a thespian who is an integral part of the organisation. The song talks about the protests at VBU, the VC's decision to rusticate students and how educational institutions have been closed for months now. It even has a rap like the OG song that has crossed 116 million views.

The organisation has students from various universities who sing songs, perform in stage productions and much more. Ankita Ali, a 2021 Bengali Honours graduate from Jadavpur University lent her voice for the song along with a few others. "We thought of the song when we were protesting against the decision of the VBU authorities in Kolkata. When I sang the song live, I saw people had accepted it. It's amusing to connect it with the song that's everywhere but at the same time it is also getting the message across," said the student who just finished her undergraduate course last month.

While protest songs are not a new concept, political parties have also started using popular songs for campaigns and they have been a hit on social media as well. "But we do not use such strong, aggressive or even crude words as most of those songs. We want to get the political idea or the idea of the protest across to the people. We do not want to just make scathing remarks and not tell people why something is wrong or needs to change," said another member of the group.

Even though they have got a boost due to social media, the song has also attracted much hate. But that should not bother the artists or creators, said Shubhankar. So, is any publicity really good publicity? "Yes, there's that. But I also feel that the social media platforms have made us available even when we are not physically there. Our songs have been sung at protests where we could not be present," said the thespian. "But I also think that there's no point in keeping your ideas to yourself. If a handful of us are talking about our ideals, our aim is not to remain a handful for the rest of our lives. We too want to be a majority. That's why we do not talk about partisan politics rather emphasise the classes and how they are affected," he added.

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