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Meet Odisha's 'Gully Boy'! Migrant worker who raps about migrant workers' issues

Duleshwar Tandi aka 'Rapper Dule Rocker' is a science graduate and rose to fame after his 'Rap Song' depicting the plight of migrant workers went viral on social media

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | July 14, 2020 | Updated 18:48 IST
Meet Odisha's 'Gully Boy'! Migrant worker who raps about migrant workers' issues
Duleshwar Tandi aka 'Rapper Dule Rocker', the 27-year-old tuition teacher and an occasional migrant worker hails from Odisha's Kalahandi district. File Photo/Twitter

Duleshwar Tandi aka 'Rapper Dule Rocker' is a tribal migrant worker who has become the talk of the town with his rap songs portraying the plight of itinerant labourers during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The 27-year-old tuition teacher and an occasional migrant worker hails from Odisha's Kalahandi district.

Tandi is a science graduate and rose to fame after his 'Rap Song' on migrants went viral on social media. He is seen narrating the ordeal of migrant workers, walking home during the coronavirus lockdown, in the song.

The song has touched a chord with listeners. The tribal youth is also being likened to the character portrayed by Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh in the 2019 Hindi film Gully Boy.

Also Read: Coronavirus crisis: Only 20 lakh out of 8 crore migrants got free food grains so far

With no musical instrument, no background score, nor any decorated stage behind him, Tandi sings and records videos on his mobile phone from his mudhouse at Borda village. He lives there with his mother.

Tandi worked as a waiter at a hotel in Raipur, Chhattisgarh for a living and had come back to his village on March 23. This was a day before PM Modi announced a nationwide lockdown.

Tandi moved to the city in 2013 as a migrant worker after completing his BSc degree (Chemistry) from a government college in Kalahandi.

"As I saw news reports of coronavirus cases growing in China, US and European countries, I sensed that the situation may get worse here if such lockdown is announced and after the state government announced lockdown in major districts, I made up my mind and I decided to come back," Tandi told India Today over the phone.

Disturbed watching news reports on the plight of other migrants like him who could not make it back home in time, he made a 2.45-minute rap video called "Telling the Truth".

Also Read: Coronavirus crisis: Feeding India's 8 crore migrant workers to cost Rs 3,500 crore, 0.18% of stimulus package

Tandi vents his anger on politicians in the song after seeing migrants walking home barefoot with small kids on their shoulders.
In another song titled "Sun Sarkar, Sat Katha" (Listen Government, True Fact), he describes how coronavirus had destroyed migrant workers' lives.
Tandi also performed in Chandigarh after he got a call from an organiser who had seen his video on Facebook. He has also received a few offers from the Odia film industry.

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