In Meghalaya, it is now “If music be the food of politics, play on.” The Congress and BJP have both used music to kick off their campaign for the February 27 assembly polls.
The Congress launched its campaign with a concert called “Celebration of Peace”, where about half a dozen top groups of Shillong took part. The BJP went a step ahead by getting Lou Majaw, the best-known Northeastern singer performing today, to lend his voice for its music video.
Last week, when Rahul Gandhi spoke at a felicitation, the Congress orgainsed a performance by many well-known bands of Meghalaya — Da-Thymmei, Soul-mate, Colours, Dewdrops, Blue Temptation, Empirical Tribe, to name a few. The intention was clear — to attract the 86,000 young voters of the hill state, whose capital Shillong is also often referred to as the Rock Capital of India. Several thousand young people turned up for the concert.
Lou Majaw, who features in the BJP music video, enjoys legendary status with more than 50 years of singing behind him. “It is time to raise a loud cheer/ It is time for the waves of change to blow/Let the wind blow everywhere/ The lotus flower will bloom for me..” Majaw sings in the 2-minute, 30-second music video.
“Yes, I have sung for the BJP. But then I have sung because I respect the art of music. I consider the use of music in every sphere of life, including politics, very important. It is true people will think I have joined, which I haven’t done. Singing a song for them does not make me BJP,” Majaw, winner of several awards including the Bhupen Hazarika National Award, told The Indian Express.
The Congress, which had engaged other top groups of Shillong for its concert, also called for change, despite the Congress being in power with a stable government here for the past five years. It picked up Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quote “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” and used it on one huge banner at the entry gate to the music concert.
But considering Lou Majaw’s immense popularity, which is expected to give a major boost to the BJP during its campaign, the Congress has begun exploring the possibility of finding another top singer to do a music video for it. “Maybe we will rope in a traditional folk singer,” said a party official in Shillong.