Friday, April 8, 2016

Digest for - 1 update in 1 topic (Dr. Jai Maharaj): Apr 09 12:44AM

By Rajesh Singh
The Pioneer
Friday, April 8, 2016
In today's crazy environment, Mohammed Rafi, Naushad,
Shakeel Badayuni and Dilip Kumar (Yusuf Khan) would have
been proscribed by fundamentalist clerics for having
crossed Islam's 'red lines'
The ongoing controversy over 'Bharat Mata ki jai' is
still going strong. It will fade away in due course of
time when politicians, media and intelligentsia find
another cause to engage one another on prime-time
television and in print. But the issue is too important
to be forgotten because it raises a core concern: Are we,
or at any rate many in the liberal-secular space,
becoming apologetic about displaying nationalist
sentiment, in the fear that we will be branded as 'ultra-
patriots'? Or do we really believe that the way to
secularism lies in the repudiation of slogans that
energised millions of Indians during the freedom-struggle
and continue to be morale-boosters to this day for
thousands of our jawans engaged in preserving and
protecting the nation's security and sovereignty?
We were not always like this. Religion was kept at more
than an arm's length in matters of nationalism, even when
the latter seemed to find metaphors in certain religious
leanings. Mahatma Gandhi did not lose followers from
other faiths just because he was a staunch Hindu and
loved to hear the chant of 'Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram' or
when he spoke of Ram Rajya. Nor did BR Ambedkar fritter
away Hindu support in the political sphere after he
embraced Buddhism. There are many similar instances, but
the most interesting of cross-religious support for
nationalist slogans and renditions are to be found in
Hindi films. Many of those songs would have generated
huge outcries today, what with an Owaisi or an Azam Khan
or an over-zealous Muslim cleric on the prowl.
A film, Jagriti, was released in 1954. It had many
popular songs, and one of them, written and sung by the
eminent poet, Pradeep, was: 'Aao bachchon tumhe dikhayein
jhanki Hindustan ki/ Is mitti se tilak karo, ye dharti
hai balidan ki...' So far so good, but the next line
would have ruffled the clerics today: 'Vande Mataram!
Vande Mataram!' The song was filmed on a bunch of Indian
children travelling with their teacher by train, and the
teacher was communicating to his wards about India's
great heroes and its imposing history and geography. It
cannot be said that the director had taken care to keep
out Muslim children from the scene. But there was no cry
of protest from the Muslim clergy, claiming that the song
offended its community's religious sensibilities. To this
date, on occasions like Independence Day or Republic Day,
one gets to hear the song played in public places.
In a more recent case, noted music director AR Rahman
composed the enormously popular, 'Ma tujhe salaam...
Vande Mataram'. It cannot be argued that he compromised
on Islamic beliefs which he holds dear to his heart, or
that he is less of a Muslim than the acerbic Asaduddin
Owaisi who refuses to chant 'Bharat Mata ki jai' because
it supposedly offends his Islamic sensibilities.
We must consider it lucky that the likes of Owaisi and
fundamentalist Muslim clerics did not exist, or at least
did not have a voice, during the early years and decades
of independence, or else they would have made the life of
someone like the legendary playback singer -- and a
devout Muslim -- Mohammed Rafi, miserable. Would this gem
have been able to live in peace as a 'true Muslim' after
singing songs such as 'Mann tadpat Hari darshan ko aaj';
'O duniya ke rakhwale' (given the film's situation);
'Insaaf ka mandir hai ye, bhagwan ka ghar hai'; 'Madhuban
mein Radhika nache re'? In fact, not just the singer but
also the lyricist and the music director in these
instances were Muslims. Additionally, the last two songs
mentioned had a Muslim hero on screen. And yet, neither
they nor the listeners or film-goers were cued in to
religious affiliation or felt offended. What mattered to
them was professional commitment and the belief that
films and music cut across religious boundaries and
united people
In today's environment,fatwas would have been issued
against Rafi, Naushad, Shakeel Badayuni (who was educated
at Aligarh Muslim University) and Dilip Kumar (Yusuf
Khan) -- all of whom collaborated in the songs mentioned
earlier -- for having crossed the 'red lines' of Islam
(determined by the fatwa-delivering clerics of various
hues having little support within their own community).
There would have been calls for boycott of these
personalities, effigies would have been burnt and the
screening of films concerned would have been disrupted.
Some would have probably filed cases against them for
'hurting religious sentiments'.
It's not a coincidence that, while many songs in the
1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and even in early 1970s, related to
nationalism, the list got shorter thereafter. Those were
days when children were shown to be imbued in patriotic
hue, walking spiritedly to the tune of, say, 'Chal, chal
re naujawan'. On occasions, there was the sagacious
gentleman who crooned to a child, 'Tu Hindu banega naa
Musalmaan banega'. Such songs projected the shaping of a
child's mind in nationalistic ways. As this sentiment
lost film space (with film-maker and actor Manoj Kumar
braving the trend almost single-handedly), it became
clear that the immediate generation, wedded to the
Internet and brainwashed by liberal-seculars, found it
acutely embarrassing to express its nationalistic
This does not mean that today's youth are less
nationalist; it's just that they are being asked to
believe that open support to patriotic lines such as
'Bharat Mata ki jai' is somehow parochial and even ante-
diluvian. The encouraging part is that, with Owaisi and
group upping the ante, many people, generally silent,
have come out in support of raising nationalist slogans
without being made to feel guilty. Connectedly, it was
wonderful to hear Muslim women gathered at an event in
Saudi Arabia which Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently
attended, raise the 'Bharat Mata ki jai' slogan.
(Photo Caption: A scene from the 1954 film, Jagriti,
whose songs were laden with nationalist feelings)
More at:
The Pioneer
Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi
Om Shanti
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