Cha’bi’s Phir Hum Dekhenge is protest made poetry
“Tum Maaroge Patthar, Hum Unn Pattharon Se Ghar Banayenge”
Cross genre Hindi alternative/indie-pop band Cha’bi is angry. They are angry at a corrupt, uncaring, vicious world. They are angry that equality, security and liberty continue to be elusive concepts for so many people. They are angry that violence is still a daily companion in the lives of millions. They are angry that we, as a species, country, community, world, have not done better by now.
They are angry, but they haven’t given up.
Akshay Kapoor of Cha’bi reveals that the song was born when he “sat and listened to Iqbal Bano and Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s ‘Hum Dekhenge’ and it inspired me to write.” The bristling exasperation of the song comes from his depth of conviction; “I genuinely believe this country deserves more, its people deserve more. The spirit of this country is yet to be broken and till then, we will fight. Phir Hum Dekhenge.”
The song wins by virtue of its lyrics. In ten short lines, Akshay and Paras have summarized the rebellious spirit that has always distinguished India and her resplendent yet tragic history. Take a moment to savour the meaning inherent in a few staccato lines:
“Hum Dekhenge Ki Kitni Nafrat Hai Bhari Dilon Mein Unke
Ki Kitne Ghar Jalaane Se Pyaas Unki Mitegi”
The song isn’t just about rising up in defiance to a certain injustice at a certain point in history. It is a proclamation of the belief that despite the darkest turn of history, the human spirit will endure, witness and prevail. That pursuers of justice will be heard and will have their day of reckoning; “Phir Hum Dekhenge”.
It declares unity:
“Yeh Tera Desh, Yeh Mera Desh”
“Tum Todoge Paer, Hum Bhaag Ke Tumhe Pakdenge”
and holds out hope, especially when hope seems invisible.
The instrumental arrangement focuses on conveying melancholy and ominosity. Paras “based the production on a small synthesizer called Teenage Engineering OP-35. It gave me such amazing sounds to sample from and base the song on a neo-melancholic vibe that we’re trying to achieve with Cha’bi.” The soundscape is subdued, and provides atmosphere for the words.
The song is profound, meaningful and at times, overwhelming. It is a reminder that a world worth living in still has to be fought for. It is tough love, and burnished poetry.