People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 42

October 21, 2012


Parcham Releases Latest Album of

Revolutionary Songs




THE audience clapped and sang along when the protest song squad, Parcham, rendered their Hindi version of famous Spanish song 'Guantanamera', written by Latin American revolutionary Jose Marti, at a function to release their latest album 'Soorat Badalni Chaahiye' (This situation must change) on October 11 in New Delhi. 


They also had the listeners singing when they rendered their Hindi translation of Bhupen Hazarika's 'Ganga', which is based on Paul Robeson's 'Ol Man River', and other compositions.


This was their fifth album after those titled 'Aman Ke Hum Rakhwale', 'Halla Bol', 'Jal Rahi Hein Zindagi' and one in memory of Safdar Hashmi.


The CD was launched by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury at the function, which was jointly organised by Parcham, SAHMAT and Act One, to commemorate the 45th martyrdom day of Cuban revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara.


Releasing the CD, Yechury said the album was launched after a long break, which many of Parcham's admirers disapproved of. He said this was a very happy moment since this was the "second revival" of the culture which Parcham advocates. 


"The first revival was when Parcham was launched to revive the rich tradition of the Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA) by rendering the spirited revolutionary songs of the freedom struggle era and those relating to the struggles of the people."


Yechury dwelt on the role of culture in the Cuban revolution as well as its important place in the history of struggles of the people. He expressed hope that Parcham would now onwards continue to bring out more such albums more frequently to give a fillip to the democratic movement and the ongoing people's struggles across the country.


Noted theatre personality M K Raina and mediaperson Paranjoy Guha-Thakurta introduced the Parcham team, saying the members may have grown older, but "they have not lost their heart, soul and fervour and the belief that they have to protest against all that is unjust."


Noted Sufi singer Madan Gopal Singh and folk artiste Jasbir 'Jassi' were the guest performers who too sang several songs on the occasion.


Launched in the early 1980s, Parcham song squad rendered revolutionary and protest songs for almost three decades at factory gates, in remote villages, in colleges, during street protests and wherever there was a struggle against exploitation in any form. In this, they were inspired by the example of the IPTA.


Their performances took the squad to the remotest parts of Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, as also to West Bengal during elections and other campaigns.


Parcham's latest album 'Soorat Badalni Chaahiye' primarily contains internationally themed songs of which all except one are translated into Hindi from English, Bengali or Spanish. Among the iconic songs (translated) are 'Guantanamera', Bob Dylan's 'Blowing in the Wind', Harry Belafonte's 'John Henry' and Salil Chowdhury's 'O Alor Potho Jatri'. The only song that is not translated is the famous poem 'Darbar-e-Watan' by Faiz Ahmed Faiz.