Andre Maurois, a French Author has said, “Art is an effort to create, beside the real world, a more humane world.”
India as a country has tremendous potential to be a superpower in the near future. One of the major things that hold the country back from this is certain social norms which are highly regressive in nature. India’s first all-women rock band, ‘Meri Zindagi’ is doing a great job in addressing some of these social issues through music.
Based out of Lucknow, Meri Zindagi was founded in 2010, by Jaya Tiwari, who has a PhD in music and has been a radio jockey for over five years. The songs of the band are meaningful and are always aimed at addressing hardcore social issues, especially those concerning women. Some of the issues that have found musical representation in songs of the band are female infanticide, child marriage, girl-child education, domestic violence, and sexual harassment.
So far, they have composed over 70 songs, including jingles for Women Power Line 1090 and U.P. Mahila Police. They have also been supporting the education of underprivileged girls in Lucknow district.
Some of their songs have gained a lot of popularity on social media. One of them is their song on child marriage, ‘Mairi mera byah na rachana’ that asks mothers to give girls a chance to live their dreams rather than getting them married young. Another one that has grabbed eyeballs is ‘Dreaming ke pressure cooker ki seeti ko bajne do, mere hauslon ke shank nath ko badhne do,’ which encourages girls to believe in themselves and not stay in the kitchen.
Their heart-wrenching song on female foeticide ‘Teri galiyon mein na aayenge kabhi is raat ke baad, maa, meri maa’ earned them invitations from organisations like the State unit of Mahila Samakhya, the autonomous government organisation working for women’s empowerment, and from UNICEF, BBC Media Action, Breakthrough, and WaterAid India.
The band does not believe in only playing for urban crowds or corporate events, that would fetch them a decent pay. The main purpose of their music is to spread the message in areas where the issues are still prevalent. And so, they perform in rural areas as well. They have done more than 100 shows, both in rural and urban areas.
While their main focus is women-centric issues, they do not limit themselves to only those. They have also initiated a few successful campaigns like ‘no sutta’ (anti-smoking), #humkaalehain (prejudice on colour) and #maaki (against derogatory female-centric slangs).