Modi, A Message To You 1 Favorite 



Apr 6 2014


Delhi, India

Mode, A Message To You 

Remember the ska tune "A Message to You, Rudy" by the British band The Specials? Now an Indian band called the Ska Vengers is making waves with a cover of the song that wades deeply into politics.They call their version "Modi, A Message to You." 

The song was published when the Lok Sabha elections were around the corner in 2014. It is squarely aimed at Narendra Modi, the controversial Hindu nationalist who is the frontrunner to be elected prime minister in India's current elections. The song blasts Modi, the top elected official in the state of Gujarat, for a long list of alleged wrongdoings. The song's lyrics include: 

Stop your fooling around / 
Messing up our future / 
Time to straighten right out / 
You should have wound up in jail / 
Modi, A message to you. / 
Modi, A message to you. 

Stefan Kaye, keyboardist, says, “The idea was to address some of the major concerns many have about a government that cares less about basic civil liberties and intends on placing further curbs on individuals’ lifestyle choices.” For this animation video, The Ska Vengers joined hands with filmmaker Kunal Sen and digital filmmaking entity The Jamun Collective. 

Commenting further on how the band thinks that the Modi government will curtail journalistic and artistic freedom, Kaye says, “The band feels that vocal opposition to what polls suggest will be a BJP victory has been muted among many in creative fields and those in the public eye, who privately are bothered by the prospect of a Narendra Modi-led Indian government. We hear with alarming frequency of Indian journalists and columnists’ heads rolling as political bias begins to hold sway and criticism of reactionary style policies becomes increasingly less tolerated. That India’s biggest (Modi/BJP-backing) corporations have large stakes in much of the media and therefore can and do dictate what can and cannot be published or broadcast is now common knowledge.” 

When asked if he’s expecting a backlash and Kaye told us that it is inevitable, more so for the band members who are not from India (Kaye included). “There will be the added bonus of indignant patriotic types who will assert that non-Indians should clear out if they dare say anything or represent a cause which they may decide is critical of the ideology they espouse. Simply ignoring is the most effective way of dealing with it.” 

The music video ends pointedly with swastikas spinning in a cartoonish rendering of Modi's eyes. Sultanate, the lead vocalist, doesn't apologize for equating Modi with the Nazis. "It's not arbitrary. We put them there for a reason," he says. "The point is to drive home the fact that this man was directly involved in the very gruesome killing of over 2,000 people."
Posted by Sahil Bhattad on