Speaking to TNM, the MKIK (People's Art and Literary Association) said that they made the viral song to combat BJP's communal agenda in Tamil Nadu.

Like Rama Rajya Modis slippers ruling TN Kovans song slamming Rath Yatra goes viralScreenshot/Facebook
news Politics Friday, March 23, 2018 - 13:47

The Rama Rajya Ratha Yatra, which commenced from Ayodhya on February 13, entered Tamil Nadu on Tuesday and met with stiff opposition from political parties in the state.

This, even as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami defended the government’s decision to permit the yatra, impose Section 144 in Tirunelveli and make a number of arrests as preventive detention.

The opposition parties questioned the government’s stance and claimed that the yatra was an attempt to spread saffron terror in the state.

A viral video uploaded on a Facebook page has singer Kovan, a member of the Makkal Kalai Ilakkiya Kazhagam (People’s Art and Literary Association), taking on the yatra and also criticising the Modi government.

In the video, Kovan and a group of folk artists start by asking, “Where are you holding your rath yatra?” They go on to add, “This will be the last yatra for Rama rajya.”

Equating the Modi rule with the rule of Rama, the hero of the epic Ramayana who is worshiped by Hindus as an avatar of Vishnu, the artists sing, “Rama rajya is Modi rajya, even if you are an Aryan stooge, your destruction is for sure.”

Showing visuals of the rath yatra, Kovan and troupe sing, “Rama ruled with a pair of slippers in the Ramayana, Modi’s slippers are ruling Tamil Nadu.”

This is a reference to an allegation levelled at the AIADMK government which is seen by many as a puppet in the hands of the BJP.

Making a cheeky comparison to Rama’s abandonment of Sita with Narendra Modi leaving his wife Jashodaben, they sing, “He ostracised his wife in the Ramayana, it is so apt… oh, I don’t mean Modi!”

The singers then go on to say, “Rama brought back Sita and that’s the Ramayana, that was his wife, why should I celebrate?”

This is followed by lines that will hit home immediately in the state which harbours simmering resentment over the Centre’s stance in the Cauvery river dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka: “Our Cauvery is also a woman and she must come home. But you’re the one who has kidnapped her and we need to bring her back.”

Showing a dancing shot of Jaggi Vasudev, who is among the “spiritual gurus” who are considered to be pro-Hindutva by critics, Kovan and the singers continue, “Gujarat model is Rama Rajyam. No water, no schools, a total zero. It belongs to Adani and Ambani. And the innocent Hindus have cow urine in their mouth.”

While several people have liked and shared the video, congratulating the team for their efforts, others have slammed them for targeting the rath yatra.

Singer Kovan is not new to controversy. In October 2015, he was arrested by the police on charges of sedition, attempt to create enmity between social groups, and sale of defamatory material. The reason was a viral song which took on the government-run alcohol shops in the state and made references to the then CM of the state, Jayalalithaa.

His arrest was slammed by human rights organisations, social activists, political parties and student bodies at the time.

Speaking to TNM, Kaliappan, the state joint secretary of the MKIK, who was the first accused in the 2015 case, says, “First, the BJP is targeting the democratic and secular culture of Tamil Nadu. It is in this context that we wanted to expose their intentions behind the yatra. Second, they say India is one country and has one culture, but in the Cauvery issue, they have deliberately stopped Tamil Nadu’s rights – the Centre, particularly the Modi government. On the one hand, they deny Tamil Nadu its rights and on the other hand, they want to bring their communal politics here.”

Kaliappan adds that the song was made and performed in just one day.

Asked if the MKIK feels that the government will be tolerant to criticism, considering the sedition charges filed in the past, Kaliappan says, “We’re ready to face whatever comes.”

You can watch the video here.

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