Raging against the system
Ringo Pebam and Ronid Chinganbam *
When everything in your surrounding shatters how would you react? Would you just cry or blame everything under the sun? Yes! We are talking about Manipur; it now crumbles to a land which is synonymous to "Killing Field"
How would a rock music band play its role in such killing field? Many bands we have seen in the past, but they couldn't last long to do their parts as musicians. But Eastern Dark has survived for so long and it has got its own answer for the Killing Field. Their debut album "Kangdrum" proved that "Manipuri" too can be rendered as a language of rock music like French or English. The greatness of Eastern dark lies in their lyrics!
True talents can only be reflected on our own creative ways of negotiating with the 'everydayness' of our lives in times of 'turmoil, war and peace'. If we remain blind or close our eyes to the realities of the 'self' and the 'society', we would not be doing justice to ourselves and our own sense of creative endeavor.
Eastern Dark's lyric reflects the "roots" not purely in cultural terms but in the kind of dilemma that we as youth have encountered.
The track "Eikhoishibu Sha-Ngara" from their album "Kangdrum" announced the death of God in our society at the same time it points is finger and tells us how Meiteis are badly mixed up about their ideas and lived practices of religion and culture. 'Sanaleibak manipurgi sanasing, mantrigi nupisingna lik sadok-khre.' goes the line from "Ngamu Leite" that strikes a chord with the common man.
Eastern Dark never stops telling what's so wrong in our society. In their new album ""Kangjei" the track "Bobok Na Hai" and "A Su A Ningbane" address many issues in our society.
Both the songs point out the practices of the 'so-called' revolutionaries like extortion, hurling bombs, making the lives of everyone so insecure in the name of being patriots or revolutionaries. To be more emphasized, the song "A su A ningbane" tries to hint that the main reason behind the current issues in Manipur is due to the conflicts between many ethnic groups. Such attitude shatters Manipur as a whole as Manipur is a land of various ethnicities. "Bobok na Hai" brings out the fear of a common man cause by fake revolutionaries.
One may say their songs only address issues without a solution to repair our society. But we say that one needs to learn to be self critical first before we go searching for a solution.
How can Eastern Dark address all such problems in their music? Yes! In our society there is no freedom of expression. Why those pictures of 23rd July BT road shoot out were published in Tehelka not in any Manipuri Newspaper or other meduim despite the fact that the pictures were not shot by Tehelka. This proves how any individuals or journalists are scared and insecure of their own lives. Freedom of expression is nothing more than a phrase in Manipur. Freedom to kill is what the land practices in reality.
But Eastern Dark is breaking that unwritten law imposed by both state and non state actors. Such is the guts of Eastern Dark.
Their album "Kangjei" is released now. Let us buy their music and support them. Manipur has no music industry; no shops want to keep original music other than film music which has no connections with our lives. But Eastern Dark's music is about our lives and our society. We all listened to their debut album through piracy, we didn't bother to buy it. But this time let's not make it happen again.
We are fortunate in the sense that we have musicians like Tapta and Eastern Dark, who have both the abilities to think global and also act local.
Being able to convert the contents of their thoughts into words and eventually give it a shape in the form of a song is no mean achievement. The process they must have undergone while writing down the words of lyric is possible because of their willingness to engage with certain given situation. Hence, we do not search for an escape route by enjoying or just by getting inspired but also by possessing the quality to inspire others, not necessarily only in music but also other fields too. Be it music, dance, literature etc. we should take this process forward. While doing so, we should not be so much overburdened with the politics of 'limited ideas of ourselves or the things that we do' like so many other people of our generation have done: just imagining that there is only one way.
Creative Experiment is the key to many Mystery Doors.
[ Disclaimer :: We are not Eastern Dark. We are just passionate fans of Eastern Dark. For more information, please go to www.easterndark.com ]
* Ringo Pebam (Bangalore) and Ronid Chinganbam (Delhi) contributes regulary to e-pao.net . They can be contacted at ringo.p(AT)gmail(DOT)com and ronidchi(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on February 23rd, 2010.
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