|In India the cultural scene is
no better than Pakistan. Urdu is now well and truly a
"classical" language. Dead, mummified and buried. The Fort
William people in the 19th century pronounced it to be a
"Muslim" language or the language of the Mohammedans of India.
They then proceeded to manufacture a language for the poor dumb Hindoos
and called it Hindi. This was to become our rashtrabhaashaa after
independence. All the patronage a government can provide has failed to
enable it to take off, get up or grow up.
Thus the Indians of the North have a language called
Urdu which was murdered by communalism and a still-birth called Hindi. The
result is that for the first time in its long and chequered history there
is no poet of Dillee. Dillee the beloved city has no poet to love it and
sing its praises.
Even at its so called decadent worst, the fresh new
lyrics (ghazals) recited by Zauq, Momin Ghalib et al in the
Qilaa-i-Muallaa or the Red Fort of Dillee were carried from tongue to
tongue. And when the poet returned home on many occasions he was regaled
by the sound of his own verse being sung on the balconies and in the
chambers of the great courtesans of the time. This was because Bahadur
Shah Zafar, the last Emperor of India, was not only
a poet but also an accomplished musician. Culture definitely has a
We are ruled by a party which has no intellectuals or
men or women who are creative in prose, poetry, drama, sculpture,
architecture or town-planning. Not that the Indian National Congress was a
shining example and endowed with nauratans like the courts of Vikramaditya
and Akbar. But they were open to the Bhabhas and Vikram Sarabhais, the
Mahalanobises and the C.V. Ramans.
The parivaar does not feel the lack. The sycophants of
the regime rig up a pseudo Hindu temple on Vijay Chowk for Independence
Day celebrations and have a lady wearing weird designer clothes belt out
the Prime Ministerís poems on Doordarshan. What the eye is not
sensitised to see or the ear trained to hear is not missed.
Itís in this context that the reader has to see
"Dr" Murli Manohar Joshiís attempts at "doctoring"
history to show that the Muslims and the Christians have brutalised
Hindoos for a thousand years and must be made to pay. The slogan is:
badmouth and make into objects of hatred and fear; identify, isolate,
The right wing of the Indian National Congress led by
Vallabhbhai Patel drove out the "professional" singers from the
All India Radio on grounds of public morality. He also made it impossible
for Ahmad Shah Bokhari, a brilliant and creative man and the first Indian
to become director general of All India Radio, to
opt for India and stay on in Delhi. There was no other patron or platform
for classical and semi-classical music, ghazals, dadras, thumris and the
like except the A.I.R. Keskar completed what Patel started.
Great singers were treated like whores and ostracised.
A whole heritage was killed by callous indifference and blind prejudices
because the Patels and the Keskars were ignoramuses and prejudiced.
Who in the India of today can sing a ghazal? A host of
women claim the throne (gaddee) of Begum Akhtar and call her Ammee or
mother. In this area as in the Indian National Congress, dynasty is all!
If Sonia is inept and unlettered in politics so are these ghazal singing
ladies in the language of music and culture. Not one knows Urdu and
Persian itís like a glint in a long dead eye. No one cares or misses the
Being culture insensitive and poetry illiterate, music
deaf and painting, sculpture and architecture blind our rulers have only
what they think to be religion as expression for their urges in the
aesthetic sphere. The way the Gayatri mantra is murdered every morning
cannot be believed even by lacerated ears.
When Atal Behari Vajpayee was a member of Parliament
from New Delhi, it was suggested to him that the paid priests of Arya
Samaj Temples be formally trained in reciting the mantraas but he pleaded
inadequate finances as an excuse for inaction. Hundreds and thousands of
crores are being spent on building temples but there is no money for
reciting the Gayatri mahamantra. Alas!