It is a no-brainer that young India croons to the songs belted out by new age rappers like Yo Yo Honey Singh and Raftaar, but ever thought a rap song can actually promote a social cause? 'Kodaikanal Won't', a song written and performed by Chennai-based rapper Sofia Ashraf and directed by Rathindran R Prasad has gone viral. The song, created by public mobilisation group Jhatkaa.org, ex-mercury workers association and the Chennai Solidarity Group, questions Unilever's CEO Paul Polman's silence on his company's mercury contamination in Kodaikanal.
The video opens with a message, giving viewers the background. It reads 'Unilever dumped toxic mercury in Kodaikanal, poisoning its workers and the forest. In the past 14 years, Unilever has done nothing to clean up the contamination and compensate its workers and their families, despite talking a big game about social responsibility'.
The video, posted on July 30, has already crossed the one million mark. It has been widely shared and talked about over social media with celebrities like Nandita Das, Varun Grover and Vishal Dadlani sharing it. It even got a word of appreciation from the international rap sensation Nicki Minaj herself.
As per Jhatkaa.org, the accompanying petition has surged to over 12,000 signers so far. One can join the campaign by visiting https://www.jhatkaa.org/unilever/ or leave a missed call on 8880109020.
Unilever's Indian subsidiary, Hindustan Unilever, too, has yet to respond to the issue. However, the company has a dedicated page on its official website highlighting the break-down of the entire case from Unilever's perspective.