Namami Gange: an anthem for the Clean Ganga Movement

10th May 2016
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Trichur Brothers send a rough cut video that captured the imagination of the Government

– By Meera Warrier @thewarrier

While initiatives to preserve Ganga are not new, what with the Ganga Action Plan of 1986 and the Save Ganga Movement of 1998, the current Government’s Clean Ganga movement has definitely captured the fancy of today’s India. From addressing global crowds, deploying interesting social media communication to on-ground events that bring the movement alive, Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to be tapping the tools that resonate with youth today to revive a message of years.

trichur-brothers-namami-gange

It was to this backdrop that Trichur Brothers – Srikrishna and Ramkumar Mohan – sent a video of a song they had created as homage to the great river of Ganga. Contrary to all expectations of how a government organisation would react to such a video, they heard back within seven days.

The video –‘Namami Gange’ – was created with the intention of inspiring people to be a part of a socially responsible movement such as Clean Ganga. The Trichur Brothers share with us the journey of their musical sojourn and the genesis of Namami Gange.

An upbringing replete with music

Sons of Veteran Mridangam Maestro, Trichur R. Mohan, the brothers represent a very intimate art form of Indian Classical Music. “Belonging to a business family in Trichur, which was deeply rooted in Carnatic Music, we grew up in a household which has hosted almost all giants of Carnatic Music from Sri. Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, Sri. Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Smt. MS Subhalakshmi, Sri. KV Narayanaswamy, and many others,” they recollect fondly.

They attribute their leanings to this influence and the exposure to various genres of music from early childhood. This, they believe, has added a very different perspective to how they view music.

The title ‘Trichur Brothers’ itself came from His Holiness Jagadguru Shankaracharya Shri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal of Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Matam, and they have ever since been performing under this banner. Chartered Accountants by profession, both of them recently quit their jobs to pursue their passion – music – full time under the band Anubhoothi.

The genesis of Namami Gange

On September 28, 2014, PM Narendra Modi spoke at Madison Square Garden. The passion with which he spoke about the country and its people inspired Srikrishna and Ramkumar like many other youngsters. “What he said about River Ganga and the need to revive HER struck a chord within us. We decided to serve the country in the way we could best – using our talent in music to stir passions in the younger generation,” they elaborate. The duo worked out a complete concept, including visualisation along with a very able team and the music video has now been completed. It is scheduled to be released soon by the Government of India.

The process

The team believes the project is blessed. From the day they received the letter of approval in principle for the concept from the Government along with an appointment to meet the officials at Delhi for formal discussions, the duration was just seven days (not even seven working days). This they view as a paradigm shift in perceptions about how Governments work.

Srikrishna and Ramkumar have sung music in praise of Ganga, but had never seen the river until the video shoot. “We were destined to visit the holy river only with the initiation of this project,” they believe.

The journey undertaken for the shoot itself left a huge impact on them.

Well, there is so much contentment in people living in quite a few villages around the river. We met some labourers in Uttarakhand who were earning about Rs 100 per day for tiresome work such as lifting sacks up and a down a flight of about 100 stairs. As we struck a conversation with them thinking how they live their lives, one of them quipped, ‘We do not know how to spend so much money!’ We were awestruck with this kind of simplicity and contentment.

The video maps the river starting from at Gangothri/Gaumukh, the point from where the river begins its journey. The shoot took them to five prayags – Vishnu Prayag, Nanda Prayag, Karna Prayag, Rudra Prayag, and Dev Prayag. Additionally, they shot at some of the other important points like Haridwar, Rishikesh, Kanpur, Ghaziabad, Varanasi, Vikramshila, and Sunderbans. “In effect, we have covered the diversity of River Ganga along with capturing the livelihoods of people who depend on River Ganga. It is a sight to behold. Blue waters, scenic and snow clad/green top mountains, adventure, biodiversity, tourism, spirituality. The Ganga offers it. All she asks in return is Respect,” sums up Ramkumar.

Namami Gange

Working with the Government

“Politicians, bureaucrats and everyone in the Government machinery who have seen this music video so far has been extremely happy with the output. Those who watched this video compared it with the immortal ‘Mile Sur Mera Thumhara’ and that’s an honor. Thinking about it, India has never had a music video to bring the entire nation together after Mile Sur and this one, we hope, can fill that void,” says the duo.

While the team received a lot of support from the Government, there was no creative interference says the team. “With their experience and in-depth knowledge of the issues, they have guided us in the right direction. At the same time, it has come to us as a pleasant surprise that, there was no creative interference at all. They trusted us on the job and we are happy that the trust has not reduced one bit after they watched the music video,” share the two of working on the video.

The song is to be adopted as the national theme song for the Clean Ganga Movement. National Mission for Clean Ganga, the body under Water Resources Ministry which is in charge of the Ganga Mission, has developed awareness measures to mobilise citizens of the country to be a part of this massive movement.

We have been told that the Government intends to widely use this as a prime campaign and awareness material to inspire the masses to be a part of the Namami Gange Movement,

shares Ramkumar.

We would like to specifically thank State Bank of India, the financial sponsor for this music video. Without their support, this would never have been possible.

Next steps

The duo says that increasing awareness about social causes will always be a part of their musical initiatives. “This is our first project of this kind, but this has made our priorities very clear. Music, we believe, is beyond language, religion and other social barriers, and is the most effective way to mobilise the youth to work for the betterment of society,” concludes the duo.

Link to the trailer of the video.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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