Sunday, August 15, 2010

Patriotic Songs

Many years back, while in school, Independence Day was celebrated with a patriotic songs competition. Each class put out its best singers boys and girls to sing the patriotic songs in chorus and the peons on the drums and other sundry musical instruments.

Each class prized its singers and cheered them with all their heart. Most of the songs were Hindi film songs bar a few. And it was always Dulhan Chali that won the first prize.

The singers had an added incentive - they got to cut classes and practice and as audience we got to hear many classes practicing for the 10 days before the event. We would cajole our teachers to give us 10 minutes free in every lecture so that the team could practice. I was always a cheerleader all but once I did get a chance to be a chance of that famed chorus of singers - my moments of fame as a voice in the chorus of about 15 children.

Its about 20 years since the last time I attended the school function. But seeing the state of the nation today, these songs seem hollow. I mean, the songs are good, but they are pointless.

Hum honge kaamyaab - perhaps, but 60 years later, we are still not kaamyaab against many basic problems. And we seem to battle corruption as a monster that only grows in scale each year. And with pork barrel schemes, the taxpayers money is almost just flushed down a black abyss of corruption.

Dulhan Chali? 60 odd years later, the bride is anything but a bride. She seems haggard and old and too tired to take on the world. I could go on and on, but the optimism in these songs belies what we continue to see year on year.

Perhaps I am growing old, but to me, atleast on this Independence Day, the songs seem hollow...

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