Women empowerment has been a topic of debate since centuries and many women are coming out to address the issue. Their attempt to come out of this black hole is never ending and among such women few turns the term into complete a different structure. Jaya is one such women from Lucknow who is boosting women empowerment within the country by her music. She presents you the India’s first all women rock band “Meri Zindagi”. With all five women members, she creates songs which can easily relate to the lives of almost all the women’s of the country. From issues like child marriage, infanticide, sexual assault, female feticide, dowry to possibly every issue is expressed in a way that the band not only has women supporters but also a vast array of men supporters.
In a male dominated rock industry, these women are sailing like a pro!
Started in 2010 the band today has Niharika Dubey, Anamika Jhunjhunwala, Poorvi Malviya, Saubhagya and Swastika as the current members of the group with the youngest Anamika, the drummer of only 17 years old. Back then they didn’t had the same audience as now and it was tough to keep going, and with no money it meant that they were not able to afford the needed instruments. But this lack of financial cause doesn’t let their dreams go away instead motivated them to do something out of the box. With everyone at surprise they used kitchen utensils like spoons, forceps, plates and dishes as the substitute to the equipment’s. With only guitar and kitchen weapons, these women are creating songs nothing less than a masterpiece. Led by Tiwari, the band was first created when she saw all the baby boys was adopted by the orphanage nearby and only the girls were left behind having no one to adopt them. This motivated Jaya to do something and to at least address the issue.
“I saw that after few days only the ones left at the orphanage were girls. This depressed me and I began thinking how could I change it”.recalls Jaya.
At first she wanted to create the band with all those orphaned girls as to empower them, but due to some reasons that didn’t work. Later she started looking for like minded women and thus found Niharika Dubey as a synthesizer, who also had been a student of Tiwari. With few more members they started practicing early morning in a nearby parks and later would join their jobs, colleges or household works. Now they all practice at the home of the lead member Jaya in the early morning. Songs like ‘Mairi mera byah na rachana’ and ‘Dreaming ke pressure cooker ki seeti ko bajne do, mere hauslon ke shank nath ko badhne do’ gain them popularity, first through social media and later through stage performances. Today they have a huge fan following on Facebook and Instagram and more people come to see their performances. Their famous song ‘Teri galiyon mein na aayenge kabhi is raat ke baad, maa, meri maa’ which was based on female feticide quickly went viral. It also let them invited by the State unit of Mahila Samakhya and many others like UNICEF, BBC Media Action, Breakthrough, and Water Aid India. They have composed more than 70 songs over the journey of 9 years and are also supporting the education of young girls in the area. Some members have also back stepped due to personal causes and were replaced by guitarist Poorvi Malviya, and vocalists Saubhagya and Swastika. When they couldn’t make up for the morning practice, they all connects over skype and practice, which means that the band rarely misses the training session. All the women in the group are either in schools or colleges with only having Jaya as the eldest who is working full time as a radio jockey.
The band was named as “Meri Zindagi” because they don’t create songs that are Bollywood fetish but on social topics which are highly relatable to the life of every girl next door. Over the years many have supported them while many has not but the band never fails to drop all the hatred down and come up with extraordinarily ordinary songs back to back. Their attempt to raise awareness is another reason for us to believe that good can be served in any way possible.