SBS has always used songs, often adapted from popular Hindi film songs, as part of our campaign strategies. Our aim is to inject laughter, irreverence and a sense of enjoyment in our work. It is these aspects of our work which also allow our users to contribute and to own since it draws on many of their own popular cultural references and traditions.

Here are two examples:

‘I will survive’ by Gloria Gaynor is a real favourite with SBS to the point of being its anthem. It was first rewritten and sung on demonstrations and pickets outside the Home Office and Court of Appeal during the Kiranjit Ahluwalia and Zoora Shah campaigns. The song was rewritten again by Rahila Gupta to make it relevant to the picket that was mounted outside the High Court during the judicial review, in July 2008, of Ealing Council’s decision to cut funding to Southall Black Sisters.

We Will Survive – SBS style

First we were afraid
We were petrified
Thinking we could never live
without Ealing by our side
But we spent so many days
grilling lawyers hard and long
We grew strong
And we learned how to carry on
You will be sad
When we are gone
You’ll lose the feather in your cap
You’ll lose the jewel in your crown
You’ll learn what special means
And be sorry you caused a fuss
When women are knocking on your door
Don’t come back to bother us

Go on now go walk out the door
Don’t turn around now
’cause you’re not welcome anymore
Weren’t you the one who took our funds away
You think we’d crumble
You think we’d lay down and weep
Oh no, not we
We will survive
Oh as long as we know how to work
We know we will stay alive
Cos’ we’ve got all our life to live
We’ve got all our skills to give
and We’ll survive
We will survive – hey, hey

It took all the strength we had
not to fall apart
We kept trying to go on
Looking hard at cashflow charts
and we spent oh so many nights
just feeling sorry for ourselves
We used to cry
Now we hold our heads up high
and you see us
Somebody new
We’re not that piddly little group
Still in debt to you
Singing for dinner and a dime
Going down to beg on bended knees
now we’re spending all our time
On funders who’ll set us free

Go on now go walk out the door…

This song was written and performed by Parminder Chada for SBS’s 21st-anniversary celebrations and sung to the tune of Kali Kali Aankeh – a popular Hindi film song from the early 90s.

Kali Kali Behene

Yeh kali kali behene
Yeh stroppy stroppy chaal
Yeh picket/shicket laga keh
Kar dheythi bura haal
Vo Home Office walon ki
Oorda dheythi hai baal
Yeh kali kali behene
Yeh stroppy stroppy chaal
Yeh kali kali behene
Yeh shaitaano ki missal!
Bechaare pandit mullon
Per phenk dheythi hai jal
Tho fundamentalism ki
Rahegi kuchi daal
Yeh kali kali behene
Yeh stroppy stroppy chaal
Yeh kali kali behene
Jin ki hogi 21ks saal
Badhai ho tum ko
Burdhao yeh kamala
Aur tumarhe chaane waale
Hazaaron hain naal
Yeh kali kali behene
Yeh pyari pyari chaal
Aaj thumhe salaam karthe hain
Poora Southall!

Parminder Chadha © Am