Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lyrics: "Tu Hindu Banega Na Musalman Banega"

तू हिन्दू बनेगा न मुसलमान बनेगा
تو ہندو بنےگا نہ مسلمان بنےگا
You'll become neither Hindu nor Muslim

इंसान की औलाद है इंसान बनेगा
انسان کی اولاد ہے انسان بنےگا
You are the child of a human; you'll become a human
(as opposed to being labeled as Hindu or Muslim)

अच्छा है अभी तक तेरा कुछ नाम नहीं है
اچھا  ہے ابھی تک تیرا کچھ نام نہیں ہے
Good that 'til now you have no name

तुझको किसी मज़हब से कोई काम नहीं है
تجھ کو کسی مذہب سے کوئی کام نہیں ہے
You have no dealing with any religion

जिस इल्म ने इंसानों को तक़सीम किया है
جس علم نے انسانوں کو تقسیم کیا ہے
The knowledge which has divided humans

उस इल्म का  तुझ पर कोई इलज़ाम नहीं है
اس علم کا تجھ پر کوئی الزام نہیں ہے
That knowledge will not burden you
(with accusations)

तू बदले हुए वक़्त की पहचान बनेगा
تو بدلے ہوئے وقت کی پہچان بنےگا
You will be the face of the changing times

इंसान की औलाद है इंसान बनेगा
انسان کی اولاد ہے انسان بنےگا
You are the child of a human; you'll become a human

मालिक ने हर इंसान को इंसान बनाया
مالک نے ہر انسان کو انسان بنایا
God made each a human

हम ने उसे हिन्दू या मुसलमान बनाया
ہم نے اسے ہندو یا مسلمان بنایا
We made each a Hindu or a Muslim

क़ुदरत ने तो बख्शी थी हमें एक ही धरती
قدرت نے تو بخشی تھی ہمیں ایک ہی دھرتی
Nature allocated one earth to us

हम ने कहीं भारत कहीं ईरान बनाया
ہم نے کہیں بھارت کہیں ایران بنایا  
Whereas we have created India and Iran

जो तोड़ दे हर बांध वह तूफ़ान बनेगा
جو توڑ دے ہر باندھ وہ طوفان بنےگا
The one who breaks each lock will become a storm

इंसान की औलाद है इंसान बनेगा
انسان کی اولاد ہے انسان بنےگا
You are the child of a human; you'll become a human

नफ़रत जो सिखाए वह धर्म तेरा नहीं है
نفرت جو سکھاے وہ دھرم تیرا نہیں ہے
The religion that teaches hatred is not yours

इंसान को जो रौंदे वह क़दम तेरा नहीं है
انسان کو جو روندے وہ قدم تیرا نہیں ہے
The step/foot that tramples humanity is not yours

क़ुरआन न हो जिस में वह मंदिर नहीं है तेरा
قرآن نہ ہو جس میں مندر نہیں ہے تیرا
The temple without a Qur'an is not your temple

गीता न हो जिस में वह हरम तेरा नहीं है
گیتا نہ ہو جس میں وہ حرم تیرا نہیں ہے
The mosque without a Gita is not your mosque

तू अमन का और सुलह का अरमान बनेगा
تو امن اور صلح کا ارمان بنےگا
You will become hope for peace and reconciliation

इंसान की औलाद है इंसान बनेगा
انسان کی اولاد ہے انسان بنےگا
You are the child of a human; you'll become a human

ये दीन के ताजर ये वतन बेचने वाले
یے دین کے تاجر یے وطن بیچنے والے
These traders of religion; these who sell the country

इंसानों की लाशों के कफ़न बेचने वाले
انسانوں کی لاشوں کے کفن بیچنے والے
These who sell the shroud off of corpses

ये महलों में बैठे हुए क़ातिल ये लुटेरे
یے مہلوں میں بیٹھے ہوے قاتل یے لٹیرے
These murderers and thieves sitting in palaces

काँटों के एवज रूह ए चमन बेचने वाले
کانٹوں کے ایوز روحِ چمن بیچنے والے
These who sell thorns instead of flowers

तू इन के लिए मौत का ऐलान बनेगा
تو ان کے لئے موت کا اعلان بنےگا
You will become their death knell

इंसान की औलाद है इंसान बनेगा
انسان کی اولاد ہے انسان بنےگا
You are the child of a human; you'll become a human

Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi
Transcription & Translation by Nikhil Nandigam

Saturday, May 12, 2012

"Truth Alone Triumphs"

This afternoon, I finally had the opportunity to watch the first episode of Aamir Khan's hyped television show -- Satyamev Jayate. With the release of the show's theme song and its popularity, I was very interested in finding out more about the show's agenda. Would it be a travel show, and entertainment talk show? Would it be placed aside as another of the many reality shows?
My answer is that it is a combination of all three, and it is what India needs. Firstly, the objective of the show is to highlight societal issues which are often swept under the rug by upper-middle class urban Indians -- Indians who will likely form the audience of this program. Secondly, this program targets issues which well-off urban Indians believe do not affect them at all. 

In previous posts from India last summer, I discussed the existence of two Indias: 
In my opinion, there are two Indias: the “modern India” that is publicized in the West and the “establishment India” that actually runs the nation. One generates money for the nation, and the other swallows money from the nation. People would like to believe that they live in the former, when in all actuality, they live in the latter. The privileged want to stay far from this “establishment,” while the average Indian drowns in the madness.
 The first episode which can be seen on Youtube courtesy of StarPlus focuses on female feticide in India. This refers to the sex-selective abortion of unborn girls in India. So what is different in the way that Satyamev Jayate covers this topic? Haven't we already seen documentaries and news broadcasts on the topic? I would like to highlight two significant ways in which I think this program will be more effective in sticking with its audience and roping in the attention of the upper-middle class urban population. This is the sector of the population that needs to be convinced of social injustices as they are the only sector of society with a certain amount of wealth and numbers. This cannot be said of the extremely wealthy and of the average or poor Indian.

That said, Satyamev Jayate takes the correct approach to addressing a topic such as female feticide. It's angle is somewhere between the usual types of programming Indians are accustomed to: a news broadcast and a serial. SJ avoids the sensationalism of Indian broadcast journalism and it also brings its subjects closer to the audience rather than isolating them in a condescending manner.

At this point, SJ accomplishes what pure journalism mostly cannot. Aamir is able to bring his subjects -- in this case mothers forced unknowingly into an abortion -- into the spotlight where they feel safe to speak out against their circumstances, and clearly tell their stories. SJ is respectful to its subjects and it is committed to alleviating these injustices. In this episode, Aamir says he will personally write a letter to the government of Rajasthan to quicken efforts for court hearings for the victims. From this first episode, Satyamev Jayate makes it clear that it is not trying to drop by, tell a heart-wrenching story, and retreat -- the word badlaav (change) was often used. Aamir is in it for the long run.

The angle of Satyamev Jayate also avoids the melodramatic mess of the average serial. Aamir could have easily gone this route to present societal injustice. It would have been easy and familiar. Thankfully, he did not. Serials create a sense of distance and fantasy between the audience and the characters. Rather, Aamir takes a key feature from serial culture and implements it appropriately into SJ -- that is, story. The witnesses tell their stories -- given no other context. That's the first part of the show.  The stories bring the audience into Aamir's mindset. The audience, at hearing the stories, are teary-eyed, but they still see themselves as separate, as part of "modern India" and removed from these injustices.
Next, Aamir pulls the audience off of its pedestal -- and this is the second reason why I feel SJ will be very effective. It bridges the gap between the two Indias. When the camera asks urbanites about female feticide -- three words emerge:

"GaaoN" -- village
"Anparh" -- illiterate
"Ghariib"-- poor

From here, a researcher asserts that this practice did not start with the poor, or rural, or illiterate folk. And that today, it is practiced by many people of reputable careers and families. Aamir even interviews a doctor who herself was forced into an abortion by her husband. This shatters the glass wall between the two Indias.

The audience is no longer allowed to feel at ease as Amir shows that female feticide not only affects mothers of girls, but that its effects spans across all families. For example, government officials license these doctors, doctors perform these abortions, and young men around India face a shortage of women when it comes to marriage. This imbalance affects all women as there is an increase in kidnappings and gang rape.

From this point onwards, audience expressions are not teary, but they are of shock. And this is the key success of Satyamev Jayate. To force sheltered, well-off Indians to realize that an injustice has been committed, one that no one can run from -- not one that merits sympathy, but one that merits shock and anger and reform.