The anthem of Italian resistance, Bella Ciao is now in Punjabi. And the relevance is uncanny. Bella Ciao, an Italian folk song of the 19th century which was the result of protests against the pitiable working conditions in paddy fields, becomes the protest anthem a century later in the biggest organised protests in India by the farmers to oppose new farm laws. The music, coupled with interviews from the farmers at the Singhu border, makes the video of the song an interesting one as it gives a peep into the struggles the farmers are going through sitting on the roads to make their voices heard.
Poojan Sahil, who penned and uploaded the song, Bella Ciao—Punjabi Farm Laws Wapas Jao on December 17, is the same guy who created the Hindi version of Bella Ciao, which got popularised during the anti-CAA protests.
“Music has always been a part of my life but I started creating original songs and parodies two years ago. It’s a conscious effort to create socially relevant music and it feels good to get equally enthusiastic response from the audience. I couldn’t believe when within 24 hours, the views and comments started pouring in,” says Poojan. The video is created by a page called Karwan-e- Mohabbat.
And, the inspiration for the song wasn’t Money Heist. In fact, Poojan had parodied the Hindi version of Bella Ciao much before he watched the web series which is credited for re-popularising the song and making it mainstream today. The Hindi version was easy but for the Punjabi version, this mathematics teacher got home-tutored by his parents. “Although born and brought up in Delhi, our roots are in Punjab. So, I took help from my family and friends while writing Farm Laws Wapas Jao. I only wish this will boost their morale because they are the ones on the road while it’s a fight for everybody.”
While there are many who inspire him to create the kind of music that he does, but Faiz Ahmad Faiz is on the top of the list. Ask him if he is approached by any big names in the music industry after his songs became popular and he says, “Till now, no one. I have no problem working with big banners but at the same time I am not willing to stop creating the kind of music that I relate to. As soon as you put a constraint on an artiste, the flow of creativity is bound to falter.”