You can make anything by writing – CS Lewis
Rohan Marley looks just like his father with those dreadlocks, just a bit heavier body. Wearing black frame glass and saffron shirt walks into the room knowing that people are gazing at him. And why not, he is the son of a legend on a maiden trip to India. He was in the capital to launch House of Marley audio products. Though he says that he is not into the music but the rhythms from his father legacy were hard to escape, so he made it business.
With ‘Buffalo Soldier’ playing in the background, he settles down in the chair with glass of wine. Questions started flowing from the journalists who have already surrounded him, “I am not here to sell anything and I am not a salesman. All I want to do is express our love and integrity in which we believe, House of Marley. Moreover, that’s what my father’s songs were all about.” Pulling back his lock he continues, “We listen to his music and we love it. And these products are manifestation of what you hear. The message that my father gives us is to protect the earth.”
House of Marley is into making head phones and portable speaker dock with organic and recyclable materials. What worth mentioning here is that they give out a part of profit to non charitable organization, 1Love. “I listen so much to my father’s songs that I love them all. But song like, Smile Jamaica it says something that really touch me. If people are not happy in Jamaica, I am not happy, so smile Jamaica. In today’s context it will be the whole world. No, I am not satisfied with my life, I need to build hospitals where they give free medicine, university and schools to get children educated and homes for orphans,” thumping the table with his fist. “My father used to do it with songs and we his children are doing our part by giving out something which is eco-friendly. It is more than business to me; you need to have purpose of what you are doing. One need to learn to get satisfied and develop the habit of giving out to others,” says forty years old Marley.
In the middle of the conversation somebody said, Bob Marley was a legend. To which he quickly response, “He was not but he is and will be a legend. He is my hero, I have learned so many things from his life because of which I am here today.” Indeed how it must be to be born with a famous name and carry it forward. “It’s been my life to be Bob Marley’s son. It was like given a responsibility to do things for others that one will do for himself. His thinking was why only his kids will have good home, cupboard with lots of cloths and fridge full of foods, why not all the children around the world. He sang to elevate for those who don’t have anything. He didn’t do it for popularity but to bring peace on earth. My father is a god man, he loved the almighty. That was the purpose of his life.”
Rohan Marley was hardly eight or nine years old when his father passed away at the age of thirty-six due to cancer. “As a kid I used to be always in trouble. I was the problem maker of the family, not listening to my mother. So dad called me up to his room and said to me that, if he gets to hear something bad about me again, I am not his son,” reliving the moments with his father. Today he himself is father of seven children (four boys and three girls) but have to listen to his elder siblings if it is related to his father. “I love my father but I was very young. So I keep asking my brother and sister to tell me more about him. I want to emulate my father. I want to go to my bed happily and make sure that I don’t do the wrongs tomorrow.”
So did he also ask anybody why he was given a Sanskrit name? “Oh yes! Here in India everybody knows how to pronounce my name and I really feel good about it. I was told that my grandpa in Jamaica was a great fan of cricket and that’s how he named me after West Indies batsman Rohan Kanhai. My name means, enlightened one. I hope that one day I will live up to my name,” he smiles. Well, you are not alone, here India we also have Rohan Gavaskar who was also named after the batsman.
In his early age, they shifted to Miami and he studied Sociology in Miami University. But here also his namesake followed him. “At the university people thought that I was there only because I was son of Bob Marley. So I took up football to prove myself and earned some respect from my peers. Telling you the truth, I learned about life after college only, as in college I was more into football.” Not many know that Rohan Marley was a professional footballer, he was in Canadian Football league. And has even rubbed shoulder with players like Dwayne Johnson and Ray Lewis in his university team.
Taking things on his stride today Rohan Marley is a successful entrepreneur and he is not giving up his father’s name. He has clothing line Tuff Gong, inspired by his father’s way of dressing and also coffee brand Marley Coffee. “My father was portrayed into many ways in and around the world. So it was a collective idea by the family to do something in which he really believed in. That is how we started House of Marley. Bob Marley is the chairman and we all work for him.”
(Published in Society Jan ’13, Page No. 94)