‘Shut Up’ has already ruffled some whiskers.
High up in the blogosphere, a certain journalist has taken exception to two parts of the song title: ‘Shut Up’ and ‘Vote’.
His first blog post, titled ‘On Dumb Editors… and Dumber Rockers’ accused TAAQ’s anthem of being ‘exceedingly stupid’. We popped in to say our bit. Over the last couple of days, the conversation did hot up and today, he has a fresh new post where he snipes at TAAQ again.
Sauvik Chakraverti writes:
TAAQ confessed to having composed their song “Shut Up And Vote” in response to a “brief.” In journalism, we call this a “command performance.” As I said, this song is not from the heart nor from the mind. It is just an ad jingle – and a rude one at that. It cannot work. You cannot compose a jingle that says “Shut Up And Drink Coca-Cola.”
Our response: You can (in a bottle or in a can). And lots of people are doing that. But we won’t. And not just because we like our cola with rum.
A command performance, indeed! You wish!
Let’s get this straight. The Jaago Re One Billion Votes campaign is a citizen initiative spearheaded by the voluntary organization Janaagraha along with Tata Tea. If we were singing this anthem for a particular political party, the blogger’s accusation would hold water (or cola, or whatever). But what’s dumb about speaking out along with like-minded, progressive citizens, and what’s dumb about persuading young people to participate in electing our leaders?
Now, Mr. Chakraverti comes across as a reasonably intelligent, articulate sort of chap but, like many of his kind that we know of, his views are clouded with pessimism and this, in our observation, is nothing new to this creed of non-participants. And that’s what we tried to remind him about.
Go to the coffee shops and watering holes and pot parlours of the world and you will find plenty of them – bottom-feeders that drink deep but taste not the spring of citizenship. What we have exhorted the youth to do through this song is participate in the electoral process, to exercise their right as citizens. That, Mr. Chakraverti, is a necessary first step. Before crying foul, before finding fault with the system, or even before poking holes where none existed.
Through this song and through this series of concerts, we urge the youth: Do not stand back and submit to pessimism and inertia. Participate as citizens. Idle debate is no good unless you have exercised your right to bring in change. Ok, you know and we know that the system sucks. You know and we know that even this time round, we cannot do away with corruption. You know and we know that the usual suspects may share power again. But all of that said, your inertia is not a fitting response. It will take us nowhere and will only leave us more frustrated at the way things are.
We’ll write another song for the cynic and the pessimist and the non-voting beefburger (haven’t we, already?). When it’s time.
Until then, shut up and vote.
Et tu, Mr. Chakraverti!