The Nationwide lockdown which was imposed on 25th March 2020 as a result of the novel coronavirus had left people jobless. The migrant workers had no other option but to return to their respective natives. Without any means of transports, these migrant workers walked for hundreds of kilometres. Less than 10 % of the total population got to travel by government transport.
Duleshwar Tandi had closely felt this and hence decide to voice his opinion. He decided to make a rap about this situation in Hindi, English and Kosli. His rap wasn’t about the youth or be a rebellion but it was about the miseries of the migrant workers and their struggles in this lockdown.
Tandi is 27 years old who lives in Kalahandi district, Odisha. His rap video, ‘Telling the truth’, went viral leaving the Bollywood industry amazed. “Khane ko nhi chawal dana par bank mai khata khulvaenge…”, a line from his rap video that has portrayed his sentiments out loud.
Tandi questioned saying, “Who is the government helping? No one. Which is exactly why I am questioning them.” He was one of the migrants who returned to his hometown but soon realised that the government is not going to help them and decided to speak out in the form of a rap.
In ‘Telling the Truth’, he made sure that he highlights the government’s lack of interest in helping the poor. Many of whom are left penniless and without a means of livelihood. He said that if the government wanted, they could’ve helped out those walking on foot, they could’ve provided busses and food but they did not come forward to do any of this.
In an interview with the Indian Express Tandi said, “Since corona, our lives have been hampered in a lot of ways. Seeing the conditions, I decided to put my thoughts into words and that is what resonated with people.” Giving the magnificent example of the work done by Sonu Sood of helping the migrants to return to their homes, Tandi said that he commends the work done by Sonu Sood but it isn’t his work to do. “Who is supposed to do this work? The government. And if they are not doing it then why are they even in power?” he added.
Tandi is a graduate in BSc from a government college. He has tried to work at various places to make his livelihood. He even shifted to Raipur in search of a job.
“I have been trying to be a rapper for a very long time. After I completed my college, I had decided to become a rapper. I did a lot of other work to earn money and in-between would find time to rap,” he said. Nevertheless, after a struggle of almost 11 years, he gained fame and recognition.
Tandi said that he had an interest in music from a very early age. Along with music, he was also interested in dance and drama and it was a very common thing in their family. “We children would watch the elders and get together, write scripts, assign roles and act them out,” he added.
He told that at the time when he developed the habit of writing a rap he didn’t even know that it was called rap. He initially started writing poetry and also wrote for his college magazine and took part in the various annual functions.
“There are people who have tonnes of money and then there are those who don’t even have a roof over their heads or have enough food to eat. This is not humanity. I write such content and this was not liked by those in the commercial world,” he added.
He was approached by the film and music producers of Bollywood but he turned them down as he wants to stay clear from commercial music because they don’t sync with his thoughts. Celebrities like Priyanka Chopra and Richa Chadda have shared his video.
Tandi also decided to give up his job and focus on rapping because his raw videos and courageous lyrics attract the people online. “Earlier, people did not listen to such raps, but these days people are listening to me and are liking it,” he added happily.
Tandi said, “People are on the streets protesting against the government. They should analyse why this is happening and why people are unhappy.” Tandi’s main afflatus is that the government should listen to its citizens.
However, his main agenda behind writing this rap is to let the government know that there is something wrong going on, that needs to be fixed. In hopes that the government will consider this and try to make the changes that benefit its citizens accordingly.