Katha Suno Re Logo (as featured in Anand Patwardhan's Bombay, our city) - Vilas Ghoghre
Anand Patwardhan’s, 1985 film Bombay, our city, tells the dark tale of Bombay’s “development” - the stark disparities, class and caste based discrimination, the uprooting of the homes of the poor - Bombay’s slum dwellers who make up more than half the population. Using real narratives from the field, voices from activists and majdur, it rips the veil of middle class and upper class hypocrisy. It is the story of the city deserting the very people that have built it. Sounds familiar? "Is this the law? That today, because we’re poor, they attack us? The footpath isn’t ours. It belongs to you. to the government right? So, get rid of us. Remove us. Push us into some corner. Then make your Bombay beautiful. Make it shine.”
These lines are uttered by a character in the film as the camera pans through scenes of slum demolitions, and the sordid conditions in which the labourers live. The lines are intercut between Vilaas Ghogre’s heart-rending rendition of Katha Suno Re Logo. Today is the 23rd anniversary of Lok Shahir Vilas Ghogre's protest "suicide" that followed the police murder of 10 Dalits at Ramabai Colony on 11 July, 1997. Anand Patwardhan has also made his film Jai Bhim Comrade public on youtube. The film explores the murky world of the caste system in India, the Ramabai Colony killings, Vilas Ghogre’s life, activism, his songs and his death, and contemporary Dalit activism including the Kabir Kala Manch. The film can be found here. Jai Bhim Comrade, like all of Patwardhan’s films, is a gritty, realistic portrait of a society that the proscenium of progress and development seeks to hide. The marathi film Court also uses elements from Vilas Ghogre’s story. Find below the first few verses of Ghogre’s Katha. Make sure you listen to the entire song, and also the songs of other lok shahirs, and the brilliant Kabir Kala Manch; if for no other reason then to remember and pay homage to Ghogre’s story and his unfinished fight for justice. Katha suno re logo Ek katha suno re logo Are hum mazdoor ki karun kahaani Aur kareeb se jaano
Bhaiyoooo! Beheno! Bhaiyo! Beheno!
Apni mehnat se bhai, Dharti ku hui khudai, Maati ne beej ko boya Dharti ko dulhan banai Paseena humne hi bahaya Bhoopathi ne khoob kamaya Saukar ke sud ne humko Saukar ke karz ne humko
gaao se shahar mein bhagaya
Arre daane daane ko saath jod karke jeene ki kathinai Aisa kyu hain bhai? Kyuki….
ye saamanthi raj hain khaane ko khana nahi
peene ko pani nahi rehne ko ghar nahi pehnne ko kapda nahi
Ye Kaisa Raaj hain Bhai! Ye Jhoota Raj hain Bhai!