Celebrating the Tea People of India

By Mumbai based Folk/Blues/Rock band EQ

Credits: Sunayana Sarkar is EQ’s vocalist.
Nilanjan Samaddar plays guitar and stringed instruments;
Manas Chowdhary, bass;
Ambar Das, drums and percussion;
Ashwin Srnivasan, flute;
Bappa Sengupta, dotara;

Directed by Mahan J. Dutta

Cinematographer Prayash Sharma Tamuly

Shared by Dr. Sunayana Sarkar (PhD , IIT Bombay )
Assistant Professor (Structural Geology and Geotectonics)
Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management and Engineering
Narsee Monjee I. M. S. University, Mumbai

“The indentured migrant laborer community of the tea plantations in Assam and North Bengal in India, has always intrigued,” writes Dr. Sunayana Sarkar.  “Their history has also appalled, at times,” adds Sarkar, a professor of structural geology and geotechnics and a gifted musician.

Sarkar, the daughter of a tea researcher who grew up in the tea lands of Assam, is the vocalist with EQ, a Mumbai based folk/blues/rock band.

The group’s music video is Railgadi Jhumur

“The music form fleshed out around a mental conflict between the misery of missing home; the inability to leave employment due to legal bindings and an undeniable desire to stay on since situations back home were a lot less promising. It speaks of stark human emotions. The song touches your soul and draws you close to this immense worldwide migrant labor debate,” she says.

Railgadi Jhumur is a modern rendition of a traditional jhumur dance performed by young girls. It is dedicated to the members of the tea community who have continued to be the backbone of the tea industry for more than 150 years. The song and music video were sponsored by APPL Foundation (https://applfoundation.in/). It was selected as the theme song of the first Sirish Tribal Festival, an annual event to showcase  traditional dance forms, sports, art and literature. The Sirish comprise about 25% of the population of the state of Assam.

The Mumbai based band EQ

The APPL Foundation is a charitable trust established in 2011 to provide relief to those in need in the tea lands.

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