By SHRI RAM SHAW
New Delhi, 03 June: “Sustainable development is very much possible if environmental safeguards are adhered to. The whole world is at a decisive moment wherein we have to choose to be with the planet – Mother Earth or invite the inevitable. Year after year, we have continued to deplete the resources of Earth, drilling the planet, chopping down trees, killing animals and thus reducing biodiversity,” said Susmita Das, renowned singer who has lent her velvet voice for a UN-backed music video – “Prithvi Manthan – The 2nd Churning” on pollution scheduled to be released on World Environment Day.
Calling upon people to stand and unite for the Planet Earth as “it is the only one we have and it’s in terrible condition”, Susmita further said, “We are still contributing to what is currently one of the most devastating conditions for the planet. Things have become extreme and through this song we have tried to convey the urgency, sensitivity and immediate action needed to stop climate change. So, the question arises – Can we bring Earth back to a point of balance? Each day must be Environment Day.”
“Prithvi Manthan – The 2nd Churning” – the music video based on Shiva Tandava Strotam and Sagar Manthan (Churning of the Sea) is basically a fusion of Bhakti and Nature (Environment) which conveys a strong message to protect our Mother Earth. It has already been uploaded on YouTube.
And, this is how netizens have reacted to it – “This is genius of a song to combine both Hindu mythology and need for climate change awareness. This is the “Call for Action” conveyed through exhilarating music, song and beautiful dance…an immensely enjoyable brilliant symphony of music, mythology and environment. The befitting message is very apt, symbolic, powerful and timely on the occasion of World Environment Day. Great concept, impactful lyrics and visualisation and if this doesn’t stir up humanity, then what will?”
What is The 2nd Churning…
Sagar Manthan (Churning of the Sea): In Hindu mythology, the Gods and the Demons joined up to churn the seas to extract the hidden treasure. But the skimming also produced ‘Halahal’, the most vicious poison that threatened to destroy the entire universe. Lord Shiva came to everyone’s rescue and swallowed the poison to save the universe.
Prithvi Manthan (Skimming of the Earth): An analogy for over-exploitation of natural resources to meet our greed and unsustainable lifestyle. In the process, like ‘Halahal’ in Samudra Manthan, Green House gases and pollutants are deadly by-products, which has grown to such proportions that the very existence of humankind now stands jeopardized.
In the song, we beseech divine intervention from Lord Shiva to absorb these poisons or give us collective and individual strength to imbibe this venom that has been our own creation. The musical is composed in the backdrop of Shiv Tandav Stotram. Tandav is an energetic and virile dance by Lord Shiva to the beats of the Damru, the two headed drum and Shiv Tandav Strotram is a high-pitched rhythmic chanting of the hymns written and composed by Ravana – the Demon King to appease Lord Shiva and seek his blessings.
Interpretation of the visual presentation…
The woman and child represent human race (current and future generations respectively). The three demons represent Global Warming, Pollution and our Unsustainable Lifestyle. Threatened by these demons, humanity is praying to Lord Shiva to “either kill the demons or to empower them to control those”. Lord Shiva empowers humanity by providing a sword to drive away the demons and protects next generations. The same woman is shown as humanity and Lord Shiva, because we are invoking Shiva within us. Lord Shiva symbolizes the Governance system and the sword the Environmental safeguards.
Well known actress Suryamayee Mohapatra has performed in noted lyricist Shivkumar Bilagrami’s ‘creative fusion’, choreographed by Amit Nayak (Amit Dance Group). Director Dev Meher and Former DG of Forest, Government of India Siddhanta Das have been instrumental for the direction and its conceptualization. Musician Om Prakash Mohanty has composed the music video which will be released officially on 5th June.
The lyrics thus goes – “Dravya pipasu nitya nirantar karte prithvi manthan/ Iske karan khatre me hai apna manav jeevan.” What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another. Let us pledge to make a cleaner and greener environment. We must join hands to save our beautiful planet as there is no other place in the universe so beautiful, so vibrant and so lively. Let us be more responsible. Mother Nature has always been kind to us and now it is time to return all the favours by showing a responsible attitude towards the environment,” said Bilagrami whose compositions have been rendered by many famous singers from Bollywood and abroad too.
“I thought Shiv Tandav Stotram being so very intense and energetic could form basis of a song to generate awareness on environment,” said Susmita, several national and international award-winning Classical, Ghazal, Hindi Retro, Indian Folk singer with 500 plus live performances, and 20 Odia and Hindi music albums, who has already performed at the OSA Convention 2007 held in Detroit, USA, and in Canada, London, Ontario and Toronto, as well. She is the recipient of ‘Bhajan Samrat Bhikari Bal award’ instituted by Natraj Sangeet Vidyalaya, Dhenkanal.
She is a regular artist in the AIR, Cuttack and various TV channels, and has performed at various stage shows and cultural events worldwide. She is very popular in Odisha for her unique style of singing. She has received widespread appreciation for her songs ‘Rasagola’ and ‘Hati Saja Kara Mae Ghoda Saja Kara’, etc. To create awareness among people during the lockdown period, she also sang a unique song – ‘Aau Nakara Nakara’. She also came out with a CD consisting of eight love poems of the Oriya poet, Dr Mayadhar Mansingh, called ‘Maya Darpan’.
However, Dev Meher said, “Apart from being the only song from India to be backed by the UN body for 2021, the music video has several firsts. For the first time in India, a music video on pollution has been made at this scale combining CGI, choreography, performance and art. Similarly, for the 1st time a concept on the environment has been musically fused into Shiva Tandava Stotram.”
Siddhanta said, “I sincerely wish the song to be circulated far and wide. It is not for entertainment, but for spreading an important message for creating mass awareness. Therefore, I seek support of environmentalists and celebrities in different fields who are passionate about conservation of environment to promote the song.”