"Half of what I say is meaningless...I say it so that the other half reaches you."
- Khalil Gibran
Saturday, April 30, 2005
Aspects of a song
The Indian national anthem is excruciating in its detail and correctness. It is blatantly geographic & the slight element of poetry lies, in my opinion, in putting such details to verse. Contrast this to the national song which, essentially, describes, from the poet's point of view, the Indian experience - never mind the constituents which the anthem places more stress on. So while Tagore documents the primary rivers of India, Chatterji dwells on the quality of these waters. The anthem, in its historical context, is also servile in its theme; while the song, since the day it was composed, remains the most powerful evocation of Indian nationalism. The full poem - and only a part of this is the national song - is also a wee bit polemic because of its particularly strong Hindu flavour second stanza onwards, the fact that its language never fit any accepted form or grammar, & that it was written in parts over a period of time.
The many governments of India, primarily of the Congress party until recent years, has always deemphasized the revolutionary period of the Indian struggle for Independence of which the national song was an inseparable voice. And while the martyrs hardly find a place in public memory, the song continues to capture generations of Indian psyche in its wake just like it did more than a century back.