Bambai Main Ka Ba? Rap with an angst & reality check

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Manoj Bajpayee along with Anubhav Sinha has indeed turned the heat on the migrant issue with his debut rap album – ‘Bambai Main Ka Ba’. Long long time ago, it was presumed that Bambai was on some kind of an inclined plane downside where a migrant just had to slide and he would land up in the “City of Dreams”. But the tone and texture of the dreams have changed and the rainbow has become monochrome.

RAP as a medium of protest when it touches the issues pertaining to struggle of the common man instantly catches the eye. It starts riding the popularity charts which may flummox those who believe in maintaining the status quo ante. It has the potential to become the reference point for reorienting the policies and the approaches to problems of development. BLACK LIFE MATTERS is one such recent case in point which has become a rallying point and it started out as a protest.

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Bambai Main Ka Ba | Bhojpuri Rap | Manoj Bajpayee | Anubhav Sinha

The timing of Bambai Main Ka Ba or what is there in Mumbai that people leave their well settled abodes to come and live a life of squalor is in sync with the going back of the servile class from the metropolitan cities to their abodes which they had left behind for a rainbow but found in most of the cases that it indeed is a chimera.

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Be it a Manoj Bajpayee or an Anubhav Sinha, they all belong to the category of migrants who landed one day in Bambai but find that the struggle continues and stability is elusive. If it is the case with a Manoj Bajpayee or an Anubhav Sinha, one can very well understand the pain that a common individual who has come from far off places to earn his living must be enduring to eke out their living for years on end and still finds that stability does not exist in their lexicon.

Migration has been one of the pains that leave a sociological impact upon those who have been left behind at the native place and the sense of loneliness which the migrant has to endure in these urban spaces of BAMBAI.

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It was the famous poet Bhikhari Thakur who had created the concept of BIDESIA for the women who are left behind when the husbands go off-shore for livelihood and hence the name BIDESIA which encapsulated the angst and loneliness of women in the villages. Bambai Main Ka Ba takes this argument to a different level by questioning those who have come to cities like BAMBAI or Mumbai and asking whether the whole effort is worth it?

Rare ‘Bidesia’ Song | Bhikhari Thakur | शारदा सिन्हा – बिदेसिया गीत | भिखारी ठाकुर

The timing of the rap is in sync with the ideas post-COVID times where the planners and thinkers are toying with the idea of developing new nodes of urbanity near the nativity for jobs and to ease out the pressure on the metropolitan cities which are bursting at their seams. Bambai Main Ka Ba is pointing towards having a relook at the manner in which urban planning has been done so far where few cities on the map of a nation have become suction nodes at the cost of development of smaller cities.

It is an urgent cry at relooking the whole planning process and imperative urge to think seriously about focusing on developing the second line of cities in each of the states which would ease out the pressure on the metropolitan cities and also help in broad-banding the developmental process.

Once this happens, there will be scores of Manoj Bajpayees who will come out and echo the thought process that Bambai Main Ka Ba wishes to underline, and the day it starts happening the purpose of this rap would be served.

Please find below the English lyrics for your reference-

So what is it?
What is it?
Just what is it about this Bombay?
What is it about Bombay
That I slumber in a carrier
When back home I have more than a mere acre
What is it about Bombay?
That I must live my life in this loop
Of oil and salt and shampoo
My palms I dip in the earth
And my heart, it turns all green
Oh my soul it’s still back there
In that hot meal of my dream
Oh what is about Bombay?
So what is it?
How I wish I’d spend my days
Amidst my farms and orchards, my yard
But here I am yoked to ways helpless and hard
So what is it ……
Here I am
A security sentry
Doubling up on duty
Each day I waste and fray
Like a wicker lamp that burns away
Oh who must have such will to bear
The biting of mosquitoes
Who would want oh tell me
To be rent by nerves, oh who does
Between village and town of mine
I lie a bit bewildered
To feed two tummies no more
To Bombay I have wandered
So what is it….
Just what is it ….
Milk and ghee and butter sugar candy
It’s what’s plenty back there
But here one must make do
With snack and bread, what else’s there?
But work there isn’t where I come from
And no jobs to be had
Look how they herd and drive us
Like sheep and goat, it’s bad
If only there was an earning
Would’ve made my home my heaven
Why ever leave if that place rocked
To arrive here and then get knocked
So what is it……
And who’s here to share this grief
And this helplessness, what a life!
A year it’s been, a year
Away from the darling wife
And who is it that’s dumped us
In the grip of these compulsions
That even my chit of a darling girl
I can’t under-arm mine clasp and whirl
The elders, mai and babu
The pond and dale all lost
Who shall I open unto this heart
That lies all broken upon itself, what a cost?
So what is it …..
Blade and knife and rake and plough
There’s also pick and axe
And a length of home, a brood of keepers
I too have a kingdom, let me wax
Scrapers tall that these hands built
They all go kissing the sky
Here I am under this shanty roof
And it leaks, oh my my
Oh come and see you city lads
What a stampede all this is
Our lives, they are trussed and pressed
Come see what a hen coop this is
So what it is…
We toiled and toiled us two
We rolled the soil us two
And on a leg we stood
A month of rain, us two
But a tuppence that didn’t earn
For all the labour, all the toil
And for little things we yet yearn
The ways of the bit city
I pray I can’t divine
All the time they snap and scold
But tell not what fault it is of mine
So what is it…..
Those hands that hold the rules and law
Those hands they drip of blood
Those hands, those hands
Those hands are hands of flaw
Oh reckon among such folks
The gulfs that exist
Between the high and the low
Little the Constitution can even do
But to scrape and bow
Better that life
Lived close to daughter and to son
There’s neither a fair school close
Nor a hospital for a dose
So what is it…..
It’s atrocity that upon us rains
How much must one bear and try
The lofty lordships of the land
What’s there on them to rely
We lie on earth
Your throne’s too high
It’s known to all because of who
Bereft lie our homes, oh sigh
O lordships! O masters!!
Will anyone lend an ear?
The ill, they’re dying back home
Sans medicine and cure, we fear.
So what is it?
Just what is it?
Just what is it about Bombay?
Just what?????

Courtesy: T-Series

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