Anthem of resistance “Bella Ciao” goes Punjabi at India farmers’ protest site

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Farmers protesting against Farm Bills in full swing. (Poojan Sahil)

Punjabi rendition created by 27-year-old goes viral amongst farm bill protestors in India. 

Called the anthem of resistance, “Bella Ciao” now has a brand-new Punjabi version called “Wapas Jao” (“Go back”), reflecting solidarity with the farmers’ protest. The song is created by 27-year-old Poojan Sahil and echoes with the wide support for the farmers on protest from Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and other states of India. The song (embedded below) is viral on YouTube and has over 200,000 views within a week and is being widely shared on social media.

“Bella Ciao” is an Italian protest folk song that originated in the 19th century sung by workers against the terrible working conditions in the paddy fields. Various versions of it have been chanted across the world during numerous protests. This latest Punjabi version named “Wapas Jao” is not a direct translation but a Punjabi rendition.

Sahil, a teacher of Mathematics in a school in Delhi, is elated over the acceptance and popularity the song has gained. He enjoys making social-political songs that ask questions and let people show their dissent by humming familiar tunes. 

Sahil has also created a Hindi version of the number. During numerous student protests, it gained popularity during the anti-CAA protests earlier this year. “Bella Ciao” gained more popularity with the series “Money Heist.” Sahil has also composed songs on lynching and love jihad, a law in Uttar Pradesh that bans religious conversion after marriage.  

Sahil chose the Punjabi version with the idea that it would fit well due to the history attached to the song.

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