Healing with Music

A new album 7×7 by artistes of seven northeastern states tries to find a solution to drug abuse. A report.

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BASIC (Be Aware, Support, Care & Inform), a non-profit organisation today launched ‘7×7’ music album featuring seven bands/artists from each of the seven states of Northeast India. 7X7 is a sincere attempt to take a step towards bringing healing, and to try finding solutions to the issues of drug abuse. The burning issue of drug abuse in most of the states of Northeast India call for an urgent attention and active response from everyone who care and desire to bring change.

The album not only unites various bands from different Northeast states to raise one voice for the cause but also features the diverse music talents that the region has.  The album features the following bands from the seven states of Northeast India – The Vinyl Records from Arunachal Pradesh, Axis from Assam, Alien Conspiracy Theory from Manipur, Frisky Pints from Mizoram, Afflatus from Meghalaya, Abiogenesis from Nagaland and Borkung Hrangkhawl from Tripura.

Ninong Ering, minister of state for minority affairs, Government of India graced the occasion as the chief guest and present at the event as guest of honour was Shri. Jyoti Kalash, IAS, Resident Commissioner, Nagaland House, Government of Nagaland, New Delhi.  Ninong released the album along with the bands that were present during the event. Two of the bands from 7×7 music album, Borkung Hrangkhawl and Alien Conspiracy Theory (ACT) enthralled the audience with their performance and freestyles.  

BASIC (Be Aware, Support, Inform & Care) is an ongoing quest which began in August 2011 to bring about positive social change through various social innovations and collaboration with diverse social contributors. It is now a fully registered not-for-profit organisation. BASIC is an answer to a quest of a group of friends that resulted from daily and casual discussions on various issues and problems that plague our society. Awakened to the need of people around us, we felt an impending need to do whatever we can to be agents of change. We desire to make people aware of the issues that society live with, garner support from people to tackle these issues, inform people of ways and means to tackle the issues, whilst caring for all of God’s creation by serving with a heart of love and inculcating an attitude of stewardship.
Some of BASIC objectives include fund raising, networking & connectivity, capacity building, awareness campaigns & advocacy, youth empowerment, social & cultural promotions and advisory services to other struggling NGOs & support their works.

Addressing the audience, Ninong Ering said "We must really congratulate these young children because they have a very big agenda in their mind. I know it is very difficult especially the issue of drug abuse. We have personally experienced this in our own states. Our future generations are being spoilt by this. Really, the organization has tried to put in through music through songs to the future generation because these are the children and these are the citizens of the future and if we don’t check this I don’t know where our state will lead to. We must try to contain it and we must try to find a solution, a permanent solution to eradicate all these vices because it is like a cobra spreading its poison throughout the country, throughout the states. I really appreciate that the challenge that you have taken up and we the seniors will surely try to back you up. Of course we have the DoNer Minister, we have the NEC and I’ll also try to apprise and try to convince that this kind of organizations should be supported. Even from my own ministry also I’ll try to do something."

Many reports and news have highlighted the gravity of the issue in the Northeast region. Every third person in the region is or has been a drug addict at some point in his or her life. North Eastern part of India is one of the least developed regions with very few infrastructural, educational and employment opportunities, which add on to the vulnerability of youth falling into substance abuse problems. In addition, the existing complex conflict situations make trading and illegal dealing of drugs easy. Often everyone, from the police to the politicians, the army, the excise and customs officers, and the insurgents are involved in drug trade in the Northeast.

Through this album, BASIC will raise fund and aim to support people in need with special focus on HIV+ orphans. The worst sufferers and victims of drug abuse are mostly not the drug users but people around them especially family.  BASIC has been supporting ‘Tabitha Home’, an orphanage for HIV+ children for more than two years now. Most of the children had IDU fathers (and all HIV+). BASIC will organise a concert during November 2013 with all the seven bands in Delhi to create awareness among people especially the youth.

Sharing about the project and future plans, Khevito Elvis Lee, Project Manager said “BASIC would like to thank all the bands and friends who have been supporting us so far selflessly. It gives us immense pleasure to launch such unique and one of its kind project for a good & urgent Cause. It's been such an amazing and encouraging musical journey so far. In future, we aim to make drug abuse issue and especially the need of people who are into substance abuse a state concern on priority basis. The matter has not got the attention it needs and every state should take it seriously on a war front to address it. We still struggle to provide the much needed medical help and fully equipped rehabilitation centres to address the needs.”