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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Phir Bhi Ganga Behati Hai !

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Someone, somewhere once rightly said - Art is the mirror of the society. The medium of art which strongly influenced the Indian society and vice versa, is, no brainers indeed - Cinema !
A melodious songs from a timeless classic of Rajkapur released in 1960 very beautifully written by master Poet Shailendra, goes like this -
होटों पे सच्चाई रहती है, जहाँ दिल मैं सफाई रहती है. हम उस देश के वासी है, जिस देश मैं गंगा बहती है!
महमा जो हमारा होता है, वोह जान से प्यारा होता है ! ज्यादा का नहीं लालच हमको, थोड़े मैं गुजरा होता! बच्चों के लिए जो धरती माँ, सदियों से सभी कुछ सहती है! हम उस देश के वासी हैं, जिस देश मैं गंगा बहती है!
कुछ लोग जो ज्यादा जानते हैं, इंसान को कम पहचानते हैं, यह पूरब है, पूरब वाले हर जान के कीमत जानते हैं! मिल जुल के रहो और प्यार करो, एक चीज यही तो रहती है! हम उस देश के वासी हैं जिस देश मैं गंगा बहती है! The picturization of this song, relevance to the story and music indeed are simply superb. However what is more important is the timelessness and travesty of this song. I think every generation in past 2500 years of history can relate to this song and would have wished to live in a society narrated in the song. This song portrays An immortal wish, dream, value system, which never materialized and perhaps ever will ! To good to be true, the song touches the Indian hearts and souls almost every time it is played (rarely though these days) on the television or perhaps YouTube ! That's plurality of being Indian, a confusion, dilemma, puzzle, enigma. In the context of movie, this song plays a role of fire in ice. Amidst cold blooded hooligans and innocent villagers a modest man reminds everybody of what it means to be being true Indian-Modest, Truthful, Generous, Loving, Happy despite all hardships, Caring towards friends and guest, Sacrificing, Pious . This is what elders in every generation has taught to the younger generations, this is what is written in the books, this is what is being taught by religious leaders, saints, gods and demigods! The truthfulness, the simplicity depicted in this movie and all other movies released in 1950s and 60s appears to be - Too Good to be true, now !! The society, the people shown in Black and White movies of those times, were black and white in their character, in their beliefs and value system. Where are those people ? Is it safe to say that people now are more complicated than people 50 years ago ? Or is it the other way, i.e people are far less complicated now and don't try to hide behind a song, or don’t try to live in a make believe world and are honest and courageous enough to accept the truth! 40 years down the line, Javed Akhtar penned a song, which projected a grey, yet happy state of Indian society -

हम लोगों को समझ सको तो समझो दिलबर जानी जितना भी तुम समझोगे उतनी होगी हैरानी अपनी छतरी तुमको देदें कभी जो बरसे पानी कभी नए पच्केट में बेचें तुमको चीज़ पुरानी
थोड़े अनारी हैं थोड़े खिलाडी रुक रुक्के चलती है अपनी गाडी हमें प्यार चाहिए और कुछ पैसे भी हम ऐसे भी हैं हम हैं वैसे भी
थोड़ी हममें खुशियाँ भी हैं थोड़ी है नादानी थोड़ी हम में सच्चाई है थोड़ी बेईमानी आँखों में कुछ आंसू हैं कुछ सपने हैं आंसू और सपने दोनों ही अपने हैं दिल दुख है लेकिन टूटा तो नहीं है उम्मीद का दामन चूका तो नहीं है
हम लोगों को समझ सको तो समझो दिलबर जानी थोड़ी मजबूरी है लेकिन थोड़ी है मनमानी थोड़ी तू तू मैं मैं है और थोड़ी खीचा तानी हम में काफी बातें हैं जो लगती हैं दीवानी फिर भी दिल है हिन्दुसतनी !!

Another timeless classic, another song to which almost all the generation can relate to, not in a philosophical or superficial manner but as a song which represents them more accurately, which portrays their mixed feelings, emotions about being what we are as we are now !

Both the songs are beautiful in their own way, while former summarizes lessons from thousands of years the later symbolizes past 20 years of liberalization.

What about the benchmarks ... (ps: nothing to do with the creativity and genius of both the writers!) Of Society ? While the former song refers to a wishful thinking, but still it reminds us of what is right. Perhaps an escape from reality but yet reminds us of how we should be ! I think whatever acts of kindness, nobility we see in our society can be attributed to the good songs we used to listen to, poems and books we used to read. We still are good as a society but with some insanely bad habits, especially the most fundamental ones! I always believed that realization is the first step, but mere acceptance and a bit of arrogance that "we are like this", “ Everything is possible and everything is acceptable”, cant lead us to anywhere! To maverick foreigners visiting India, this new found freedom, madness on street might appeal a lot, to NRIs returning/visting India, all of this might appear despicable and to most of us all of this becomes a routine with indifferent attitude. 
Such an attitude puts a break on the growth of society. What starts with acceptance of minor deviations in behaviour, small wrongdoings becomes a habit which society keeps on accepting and slowly and unknowingly, the minor deviations becomes humoungous caused by complex interactions, leading to permanent changes (temporal but over long duration such as couple of decades) in the benchmark of what is right and what is not! For example what might have started as an occasional 'gifts', 'inaam', sweets, slowly become a monster what we now call as bribing, which grow out of proportion in the form of multi billion scams! Similarly what might have started in an attempt to taste the legacy of East India Company and the British Empire, i.e drinking Tea in government offices, slowly became a habit of absconding from offices to drink tea and ultimately leading to whole day being turned into a tea break!

While its good to realize our shades of grey, black and white, attempts must be made to turn the greys and blacks into lesser greys and lighter blacks white, with universal (and not contextual) definitions of rights and wrongs, an attempt to be white and fair beyond the fairness cream for women and now for men !
As Javed saheb has rightly put - दिल दुख है लेकिन टूटा तो नहीं है, उम्मीद का दामन चूका तो नहीं है !

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