The video titled We, The People of India begins with an alaap loosely based on raag Yaman, which swirls in the air along a basic beat on the drums and a reading of the Preamble to the Constitution of India — the document that indicates that “the source of authority of the Constitution lies with the people of India” and which has found its place amid the continuing protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the upcoming NPR-NRC.
Actor and director Naseeruddin Shah’s deep, solemn voice is heard over the alaap by Carnatic classical vocalist and Magsaysay Award winner TM Krishna along a montage of photographs, which showcase posters, incidents and highlights from the recent protests. The alaap merges into the national anthem, which is sung interestingly, differently, each note stretched in an attempt to denote the coming together of the people of India “to celebrate the values enshrined in the #ConstitutionOfIndia, in a way we have already won”.
Krishna discussed the piece with Shah about 10 days ago and everything worked out post an exchange of emails. In an interview with The Indian Express, Krishna, said, “I was hugely inspired by the fact that the youth of India has given life to the Preamble again by making it an integral part of their protests. I think that’s fabulous. Finally, the Preamble is becoming a part of the culture of young people, who are celebrating it and making it a part of our culture”.
The musician added that the anthem has been included as part of the spirit of the Preamble. “The anthem also needs rescuing, as it is become more of a badge of adherence towards a homogeneous notion and this violent nature of nationalism. When you hear the Preamble with the national anthem, you
see that it’s actually a call for humanity, spirit, empathy, love and beauty,” said Krishna.
Incidentally, at a recent kutcheri in Chennai’s Mylapore, Krishna had sung the unsung portion of the national anthem, which was originally titled Bharoto Bhagya Bidhata by Rabindranath Tagore. It is the first stanza of this piece which was adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India as the national anthem.
Krishna along with musician Madan Gopal Singh and Indian Ocean frontman Rahul Ram, among others, will also be present at a musical protest “in defence of our secular tradition” at Delhi’s Constitutional Club on January 1, 2020, to present a concert organised by Sehmat, titled ‘Surur-e-Azadi’.