While most of us are still grooving to the 2 weeks old song, “Enjoy Enjaami”, some people have been wondering about the song’s deeper meaning as well as the lyrics, Arivu, also known as “Valliamma Peraandi” from the song.
He is a self-taught rapper who uses his music to call attention to the social oppression that exists in society. Despite his status as a musician, he is still known for his powerful lyrics that addresses social inequality.
He also wrote the enthralling lyric for “Maara’s theme” in Soorarai Pottru, in addition to “Vaathi Raidu” in Master.
According to THE HINDU, Arivu‘s story begins 200 years back when his family immigrated to Sri Lanka from India to work as tea estate labourers. After the Sirima-Shastri Pact, they returned to India 60 years ago. (When tens of thousands of Tamilians from Sri Lanka were repatriated to India.) His grandmother was unable to abandon her sisters. He has no idea whether they are alive or not.
Valliamma, who appears in the song’s lyrics and visuals, worked as a railway construction labourer and a domestic helper in Tamil Nadu while her husband worked menial jobs. The couple made certain that their daughter, Arivu‘s mother, received an education.
Because of my mother’s decision to become a teacher, I was able to pursue my dream of becoming an artist. I owe it to her.
Arivu‘s family has always kept him from speaking out about their patriarchal past. “Our heritage isn’t one of bravery or pride. However, I recently wanted to start sharing it; our heritage is rife with exploitation and labour. My grandparents toiled away on the property they will never own. I decided to add a few tidbits from the past.”
‘Thottam sezhithalum en thonda nanaiyalaye’ (My garden flourishes but my throat remains dry) is a line from the song that refers to people who have sacrificed every bit of their life yet living in hardship.
“Oppari” and Arivu have a strong bond. He says, “I believe Oppari is my root.” Mukil Paranthaman’s collection contains the line “Anju maram valarthen.”
The late Paranthaman, also known as Paavalar Mukil and a member of the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artists Association, went from village to village gathering folk songs and publishing them as books. Arivu says that specific line was dedicated to him.
I have an important task ahead: to speak about land, about migration. I have written a song for a documentary titled Soru (Food) for Poovulagin Nanbargal. It’s called ‘Enga nilam enga’ (Where is our land?) And for Vellai Yaanai (an upcoming Tamil film by Subramaniam Siva), I’ve written a song titled ‘Vaazha vachone’ about a farmer forced to migrate. I am haunted by labour on land people can’t own, by their constant forced migrations.
He is now one of the founding members of the band “The Casteless Collective.” The band was founded in 2017 by musician Tenma with the help of filmmaker Pa. Ranjith’s “Neelam Panpaatu maiyam.”
It takes a lot of bravery and nobleness for him to stand up for causes that deserve the world’s support and change.