How ‘Resistance’ Music Amplified Protests Against CAA in India

Amongst the sloganeering and lathi-charge, protesters took to famous resistance songs to boost protests.

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Video Editor: Mohd Ibrahim

Music has had a long history of being a crucial part of protests and movements. From The Beatles to Tupac Shakur, music as a means of protest has picked up momentum over the years. Taking a cue from history, India too, witnessed the power of music as it played a crucial role in the nationwide anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests.

From famous songs like “We shall overcome” to contextual adaptations of famous songs like “Bella Ciao”, the CAA protests saw it all.

There were others who took inspiration from our desi rappers and spun a verse or two about the Citizenship Amendment Act, and the violence in Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University. The rapper compared India to Lanka in Ramayana, saying that in the epic, it was Hanuman who had set fire to Lanka, but now people were setting fire in the name of Hanuman.

In Delhi, protesters took up an adaptation of a famous Bollywood song “Woh Chali” and turned it into “Modi Ji Modi Ji, dekho democracy ki tumne, aisi tasi kar di” (Modi ji, look what a mockery you have made out of democracy).


Some protesters even came up with original numbers and sang it during the protests, while many others joined in and sang along.

In Kolkata, it was Bella Ciao which got a Bengali and political makeover and the lines sounded like “Jab lal lal leheraega, toh hosh thikane aayega” (When it is all red, everyone will come to their senses.”

But it was “We Shall Overcome” which predominated the charts at every protest as most protests saw the song play out at least once – sometimes in different languages.

Music, complemented with the war cry of ‘Azaadi’, amplified the atmosphere at protests across the country.

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