by Jonathan “Madd Cold” Azaziah
Every so often, there is a song that comes along that transcends the boundaries of genre, culture, nationality, language and creed. It just vibrates on that frequency of justice and resonates with all people from all backgrounds who have experienced oppression in one form of another. Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” comes to mind, as does Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five’s “The Message”, Peter Tosh’s ” No Nuclear War”, Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power”, Michael Jackson’s “They Don’t Care About Us” and “Earth Song”, Tupac Shakur’s “Changes”, and, in this era of Zionist hegemony, my own “Death To ‘Israel'”. It’s time to add Anuragi’s “Aazadi” to the list, preferably towards the very top. This exceptionally gorgeous piece of music, from the spine-tingling sound filled with mean guitar riffs and an infectious melody to the incandescently inspiring lyrics, is nothing less than a masterpiece.
Dr. Rajesh Anuragi, the vocalist and songwriter of the group, poured his heart out on the joint and that passion doesn’t just leak through, it BLEEDS through profusely as he beautifully tears into capitalism, Hinduism’s oppressive Laws of Manu, the abhorrent caste system, poverty, hunger, corruption, feudalism and the false, Orwellian notions of nationalism represented by Hindutva. The second verse shines brightest of all when Dr. Rajesh sings, “Heed my words!/This is a democracy/But you destroyed it/Call me a traitor!/Call yourself a patriot!/You Divide and Rule!/Is this your nationalism?!/” I’ve heard the track about 40 times now since it dropped a few days ago and I still get chills playing it back.
And while music should not be listened to within the confines of faith or sect, in this time of identity politics, it cannot be stated enough about the kind of bravery it takes for a Hindu brother to speak on these subjects which aren’t just taboo under the Indian regime, but DEATHLY taboo with the Hindutvadi thugs of BJP and RSS roaming the streets and unleashing violence on anyone who doesn’t agree with their warped worldview. Indeed, this makes “Aazadi” all the more impressive, all the more powerful and that much more of an achievement. Thus, the song shouldn’t just be played by EVERYONE and especially those who identify as activists–real activists mind you, not those of the Sorosite and “Arab Spring” variety–and revolutionaries, but Anuragi and Dr. Rajesh particularly should be saluted for their courage as well.
Accompanying “Aazadi” and increasing its beauty, power and depth is the music video directed by my amazingly gifted dear brother Abbas Shamael Rizvi, whose vision for the song is nothing less than luminously brilliant. Abbas took the essence of “Aazadi”, that of freedom from each and every hardship in the Indian state, and put together a masterpiece of his own. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W.) famously said, “Simplicity is the best beauty.” Abbas, with his tremendous direction, exemplifies this to the tee. He produced a simple but exceedingly profound piece of art, not work, but ART as he presented all types of Indian suffering under the yoke of the New Delhi “elites”, from old to young, woman to man, religious to secular, all in chains, ropes, masks, blindfolds and ducktape. And as the song crescendos, Abbas reveals that they have liberated themselves from these shackles and secured “Aazadi” from all the horrors sung about by Anuragi. My words don’t and can’t do it justice. You just need to watch. You just need to listen. And you need to salute Abbas too for his own dauntlessness, as he believes so deeply in Anuragi’s message that he was prepared to put his very livelihood on the line to make this come to fruition.
With a new round of barbarity being inflicted on the people of occupied Kashmir, ongoing violence against the Naxalites of the Red Corridor, longstanding Hindutvadi subjugation of Dalits in Gujarat, the deepening of the Indian farmers’ struggles against Monsanto and other multinational devils and so many other post-colonial issues still plaguing India, “Aazadi” is needed more than ever. It has the potential to be an anthem for the entire Southeast Asia Continent. Maybe even the whole world. It’s that dope. It’s that fly. It’s that wonderful. It’s that intense. It’s that damn good. Alf Mabrouk (many congratulations) to everyone involved. You deserve nothing but the choicest blessings of our Creator for what you’ve done. Verily, you’ve made something historic here. And on that note, it’s definitely time to knock “Aazadi” again at a volume loud enough to make Modi, his maniacal regime and all his ‘Israeli’ terrorist friends cry their evil little eyes out!