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The Long March of the Locked-Down Migrants

Photo: NITYANAND JAYARAMAN.

I had to write this song because the world is facing a difficult and turbulent time. At the very hour that some of us implemented the lockdown and bolted ourselves in our houses, we hardly expected hundreds, thousands, lakhs of people to start walking to their faraway homes. This made me extremely sad and agonised. In our highly developed nation, a very great nation, in the nation where we claim to be pioneers in many fields, crores of people were walking long distances – just for a place to stay, to be at home with their families. It made me very sad.

‘Stay at home’? How many people even have a home? As they walked so many kilometres, some died on their way. Those feet, those children, when I saw all those images, I needed to express this cry of anguish. I don’t think this is limited to our country; the entire world is witnessing this great distress. I wanted to speak out about the sadness of the migrants, people moving from one place to another – while many have been thinking about the coronavirus, and not thinking about other human beings. That sadness compelled me to create this song.

I am a traveller of the mind who wants to see the world and journey across it. I nurture immense love for other human beings, whose lives I try to visualise. This song was born of both these impulses too.

 

These are the lyrics:

How are the little ones holding up at home?
I wonder how and with what my old mother feeds them?

We toil daily to subsist
Forced to migrate to make ends meet

The nation may be great
But our lives are miserable

This wicked disease struck us
and wrecked our lives

What life is this? What life is this?
a wretched life, a pathetic life
an abject life, a broken life

Is there a disease worse than poverty?
Is there a solace greater than being with one’s family?

Just to be at home in these troubled times would have been enough
At least we would have survived together, on some gravy or gruel

The kids flit and hover in my eyes all the time
My wife’s laments chase me ceaselessly

What, what should I do? What am I to do?
What to do? What can I do?

No need of buses or trains, O’ saaru
Just let me go, master! I will walk my way home

No need of buses or trains, O’ saaru
Just let me go, master! I will walk home

How are the little ones holding up at home?
I wonder how and with what my old mother feeds them?

How are the little ones holding up at home?
I wonder how and with what my old mother feeds them?

Let me go, O’saaru! I will walk my way home!
Let me go, master! I will just walk home!

Composer, lyric writer and singer: Aadesh Ravi.

Translation of the lyrics from the original Telugu: Kumar Narasimha and Kinnera Murthy

Translation of Aadesh Ravi’s article text from the original Telugu: Rahul M.

This originally appeared on PARI.

More articles by:

Aadesh Ravi is a Hyderabad-based composer, lyric writer, singer in the Telugu film industry.

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