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Come on, Bono, Rattle and Hum for the women of India!

By PRIYA MIRCHANDANI
Last updated on: December 14, 2019 12:33 IST

'Bono, every time you clap your hands, a woman somewhere in the land of Ahimsa, is being abused.'
'Physically, emotionally or financially; at home, in the street or at work.'
'Maybe just for a little bit, you could tweak your humanitarian mode and turn womanitarian,' asks Priya Mirchandani on the eve of U2's Indian debut.

IMAGE: Members of the Irish band U2 -- Bono, Adam Clayton and The Edge -- visited Mani Bhavan, Mahatma Gandhi's home in Mumbai, on December 13, 2019. The band will perform at the D Y Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on December 15. Photograph: Mitesh Bhuvad/PTI Photo.
 

Two Irish lads walk into a bar. 'Not you two again!' groans the bartender.

This was to be the snarky opening of my piece.

The plan was to then nudge you gently down memory lane as I relived my first history lesson about apartheid (Pride In The Name Of Love), my first kiss (With Or Without You), my first break-up make up (Desire), my first stirring of conscience (One).

I grew up an army brat, with friends and homes changing every couple of years. Very unsettling, especially for a teen.

Thanks to four buddies who stayed by my side right through those tumultuous adolescent years, I found myself more focussed on the world outside, distracted from the hormonal war raging within.

Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr would whisk me away regularly to landscapes that seared through the cells of my brain -- the bloody streets of Belfast, the arid, awe-inspiring Californian desert, shadowy Moroccan dance bars, et all.

U2, in my biased opinion, was the Dylan of my generation, with their scorching lyrics, haunting music and driving need to change the world and reach out to victims of misfortune.

These bad boys are squarely responsible for my abiding addiction to karaoke and unshakable faith in my ability to massacre any tune.

Well anyway, this was the original plan. And then, a week ago, the media exploded with a series of grizzly rapes across the country and the abysmal state response. Cheer and nostalgia eviscerated swiftly. Snarky is not the mood of the hour.

Welcome, Bono, to 'The land that gave the world Ahimsa'. Your words. They are not wrong. Just distressingly ironical.

I feel like a parent who has to bust the Santa myth to his starry-eyed wee one... but it must be done.

Bono, achtung baby, every time you clap your hands, a woman somewhere in the land of Ahimsa, is being abused.

Physically, emotionally or financially; at home, in the street or at work... So thank you for reminding us that Ahimsa is an intrinsic part of the genetic legacy of this nation, and damn, does it need resuscitation stat!

How about this? Maybe just for a little bit, you could tweak your humanitarian mode and turn womanitarian while in the land of Gandhi.

Personal freedoms, equality and tolerance, all the ideals that Joshua Tree stands for, have been looking dodgy for more than 48% of the population in the world’s largest democracy (if you include women and minorities).

Sorry to dump this on you so close to Santa's visit, but weren't you the one who said 'Where you are born should not decide how you can live'?

Come on, Bono, Rattle and Hum for the women of India, would you?

We know you are a knight, the real McCoy ordained by the HM the Queen and all that. Help us slay the patriarchy that is so unbecoming for a nation that prays to possibly more female deities than male. And then promptly turns around and aborts female foetuses.

So this is me, urging Bono, short for Bonavox, he of the good voice, to raise this magnificent voice for Ahimsa. Ahimsa for the women of India.

He's done it brilliantly for famine victims, Aids victims, war victims, he's raised awareness for poverty and human rights like no one else in the music world. He's been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for three consecutive years.

And A R Rahman, you powerhouse of talent and sensitivity, stand up for the daughters, mothers, sisters, wives and lovers.

You beautiful men with your stirring music and gut-wrenching lyrics, you have the power to usher change.

Wield that wand for the women of this country, for justice and equality.

Some 25,000 of the 50,000 fans who will join you on Sunday as you sing 'We're one, but we're not the same, We get to carry each other... carry each other' are women.

Women who are being abused, raped and even murdered with impunity, with scant chance of any carriage of justice.

Lend us the voice that shook the world up in Live Aid and Band Aid, help bring Ahimsa back to the land where it was born.

'It's not if I believe in love,' you say, but if love believes in me.'

We believe in you, Bono. We the women of Ahimsa.


Priya Mirchandani, a former advertising professional, is currently a content creator. Equal parts worrier and warrior, she specialises in delivering punches veiled in irony. Mail us at news@rediff.co.in

PRIYA MIRCHANDANI
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