How Music influenced our Freedom Struggle
When you think Independence Day, you usually imagine something like going to school on a holiday, listening to about three to four speeches on the same thing from different people, and maybe seeing the little kids sing some patriotic songs; the only solace being the bus ride back home with your friends.
But now that 2020 has been quite the rollercoaster - and I don't need to explain why, to lighten up our 74th Independence Day, students of G11 had a different take on the conventional 15th of August this year. It was mediated by Rose Chaperone, Siddharth Sirur, Ayush Singh and I, Raghav Ganesh, with some help from Pavan bhaiya.
Our main focus for this presentation was to educate people on how music plays an important role in our lives, taking the example of how it impacted the freedom movements of different countries. We decided that we would not limit ourselves to just the Indian struggle, but would include the American and French revolution as well. All I can say is, our research for the presentation was quite the ride. We had never taken this perspective on Independence Day before, and we had to really think about what content we would share. A thing to notice would be that we deliberately put in songs and music that would not be as commonly heard during this auspicious day. We wanted to show people that Independence Day can be more than the same speeches and generic songs.
Hosting the actual webinar was something else; the online environment was as new as it gets. I still remember the jitters we all were feeling before it began. In my opinion, a webinar is tougher than a physical presentation because I can't actually see what the audience's reaction is to what I’m saying, and adapting to the audience is what I do. As for the actual webinar, I believe it went smoothly except for some technical glitches and bumps. I enjoyed the whole experience, and I'm positive that the team did too...
...When the webinar ended, we, the audience, wanted it to continue. The presentation was splendid: informative, yet captivating is what most of us listeners concurred. The brief interactive moment, in the beginning, set the mood of the presentation as overall being quite informal and highly engaging. Right from the start till the end, we were all completely immersed in everything that the four bold panellists spoke about: the History pertaining to the French, American and Indian Revolutions and how these were each intertwined with music. Though we eagerly awaited the band’s performance, we never did get to see their artistic talents, only their presentation skills, which were astounding, and kept us at the edge of our seats all along. Their eloquence & confidence in oration made the presentation all the more robust, appealing and gripping, despite there being a few factually inaccurate statements.
The highlight of the presentation was unquestionably the French Revolution and all that it entailed. The French Peasants song, alongside its History and connection with music, was phenomenal. Their overall topic was so unusual, yet they explained and brought it out so perfectly and comprehensively. Any questions which arose in our minds were instantly answered by the panellist, as though they had accounted for almost any questions which would have risen. Though I am a History student, the topics they addressed, and the context, were so unconventional that I learnt a whole other perspective and aspect to History and how it can be viewed.
When interviewed later, their mentor, Anupam Deshpande (a DLRC facilitator), repetitively used the words “interesting” and “different” to describe their presentation. This in itself needs no interpretation of what she thought of their performance; she did, however, point out that with extra time, the overall show could’ve been “fine-tuned” a bit more, but given the time crunch that the panellists had, their presentation was spot-on. Though finding an extended time slot where they were all free to collaborate and complete the presentation was challenging, she states her overall experience was enjoyable; the students made this possible. The first thought of this webinar was that of a music jam, but when the students came up with the idea of freedom struggles and music, Anupam ma’am described this as “unexpected and impressive.” This further gave her insight into how to create a script for this purpose, therefore, prompting a learning journey in this for her as well, and not just the students.
In the end, participants were asked if they had ideas for future webinars; their responses suggested any webinar which sounded intriguing, such as this one, would be ideal. Their reasoning was that, not only do these enable the learning of a plethora of new things but also because they allow a new perspective on things they already knew, therefore drawing a holistic picture.
Avishi Dalmia & Raghav Raman