Monday February 19, 2018
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Tripura rapper likes songs on issues such as discrimination and racism

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Guwahati: Borkung Hrangkhawl, son of a politician who comes from northeastern state Tripura dislikes alcohol, women and parties when it comes to rapping instead he likes songs that highlight issues like discrimination and racism that is commonly faced by people of the region.

“Singing about clubs, alcohol and ladies are part of rapping, but they are not my taste. Rapping is a gift from god that I want to use in making a difference,” Borkung said here on the sidelines of the second edition of Rongali, Assam’s destination, culture and harmony festival.

The son of Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl, president of the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura, finds the genre interesting as he believes “you can literally tell a story through a rap song”.

“Being from Tripura, I felt like I have lots of things to say. My father is a politician. I got inspired by him because he has been working for the welfare of tribal people in Tripura. So, I picked up rapping to tell the stories of my life, people in Tripura and others around it,” said Borkung.

“Tribal people’s rights in Tripura are being neglected for some reason, probably because of the population ratio… We are declining. Other people have come in and settled there. It’s not that I want to chase away others. We just want our rights as Tripuris. I don’t want to promote violence or anything against humanity. I want to promote equality and peace,” added the 29-year-old.

Talking about violence, the Delhi University alumnus, who began his musical voyage with the hip-hop band DropSquad over five years ago, once got stabbed while strolling in a park in the capital.

“I think it was 2006…I was poked in my chest with a small knife. They poked me three to four times, but it didn’t go in by god’s grace. I asked them why they tried to do it. They said it’s their job. I told them there is no use in doing all this. They thought I was from Nepal.

“Later, they apologised and got me a Bandaid. I could have died. I hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else. It was a bad experience,” he said.

Didn’t he feel like returning to his hometown after the incident or on reading about racist attacks on the northeast people in the capital?

“I felt like that at one point in time. But I thought why we should run away. We are Indians. I feel that there is a need to bridge the gap.

“Instead of always going to the usual vacation spots in India, they (people from other regions) can go to Guwahati, Tripura or Nagaland. The only thing is that they don’t understand our culture. That’s the only problem. Otherwise, they are also good human beings,” he said.

Borkung, who has delivered hits like “The roots (Chini Haa)”, “Never give up” and “The journey”, likes to rap in English as he thinks the language has a greater impact.

“I am more fluent in English. I thought it would be more impactful. Though I did sing ‘The journey’ in Hindi as well,” he said.

Is he open to Bollywood?

“If an opportunity comes, I will consider it… Not so commercial, though. I would like to work on films like ‘Barfi!’ as it’s different. I don’t watch movies for ‘masala’ sake,” said the rapper, who has performed in Chennai, Delhi, Mizoram, Shillong and more.

As of now, he is looking forward to being part of a documentary.

“We are doing a documentary with a few people from Mumbai. I can’t reveal much. They want to make a documentary on people who make protest songs. I am excited about it,” he said.(IANS)(Image-youtube)

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BJP Offers Christians a Pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Is Religious Pilgrimage A New Playground For The Political Parties?

This would not be the first time that India has bankrolled pilgrimages for the Christians. Before this, the government had subsidized the Haj pilgrimage for the Muslim community

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In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented. Wikimedia Commons
In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented. Wikimedia Commons
  • The political parties (BJP and Congress ) are promising a free trip to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage in the coming local elections of the eastern states of India
  • The Christian population in Meghalaya and Nagaland is almost 75 percent and 88 percent respectively
  • After the Supreme Court’s intervention, the government had drafted the policy to abolish the Haj subsidy in a phased manner by 2022

The Campaign promises during the elections times are quite bizarre nowadays, from “I’ll cut your taxes,” to “vote for me, and I’ll set you free.”

In the coming local elections in the Christian- majority state of Nagaland in India the agenda by the rival BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and Congress parties are unique: “Vote for us and get either a free or a heavily subsidized pilgrimage to Jerusalem.”

Yes, you read it right. The political parties are promising a free trip to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage. The offer has been put up by the Prime Minister Modi- led BJP for the upcoming elections. Even the local partners of the Congress party are treading up the same path.

Recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. Wikimedia Commons
Recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. Wikimedia Commons

The BJP has not made it clear yet if it is offering the scheme to all of India’s Christians, or only to Christians in the northeast, or only to Christians in Nagaland. The Christian population in Meghalaya and Nagaland is almost 75 percent and 88 percent respectively. Nagaland is one of smallest states of India, with the population of just under two million people.

Also Read: Muslim women can now travel for Haj without Mahram

As per the Tourism Ministry figures, around 58,000 Indian tourists came to Israel in 2017, a 47% increase from 2015.

The elections are scheduled for the February 27 in three northeastern states – Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura – later this month.

The AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi also tweeted on the double standard of the government and lashed out at the government for its discriminatory decision, ending Haj subsidy but allowing subsidies to continue for Hindu pilgrimages like the Mansarovar Yatra.

This would not be the first time that India has bankrolled pilgrimages for the Christians. Before this, the government had subsidized the Haj pilgrimage for the Muslim community. But recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. The government cited the reason for the subsidy withdrawal as they wanted to utilise the funds saved from withdrawing the subsidy for the education of minorities, particularly girls. After the Supreme Court’s intervention, the government had drafted the policy to abolish the Haj subsidy in a phased manner by 2022.

Also Read: Government ends Haj subsidy as part of a new policy

The scheme is a clear cut example of hypocrisy and opportunism, especially considering the cancellation of Haj subsidies. It seems quite contrary, on the one hand, the government is cutting down the benefit scheme for one section of the society and on the other hand, some other community is been offered the same thing. Such moves bring out the double standards of the political parties just for the sake of vote bank. In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented.

In 2011, Nigeria also did something same as that of India. For many years, their government financed a trip to Mecca for Muslims, leading to some 42,000 Nigerians visiting the country. But with the change in the government, subsidies have been cut considerably and now a 12-day pilgrimage costs around 2000 dollars. The change in stance has resulted in 78% decrease from 2011.