Hope springs eternal

It has been (yet) another difficult week of trying to avoid “breaking news” from around the world.  Investigative reporting appears to be a thing of the past.  Instead, we have “fake” or manufactured news that is amplified and regurgitated through social media channels.  Political correctness, or lack of it provides additional fodder to “journalists” who spin it any which way they can.  And now we also have the marionettes on prime-time television putting on their acts, mouthing lines that might not mean much, in the lead up to elections on either side of the border.

Accompanying, and further compounding this chatter are the “Spiritual Thought of the Day” messages that are mindlessly being re-forwarded to “close friends” with the earnest plea that they “do not break the chain to avoid catastrophe”.  In short, we do not need to go looking for drivel; it pours out no sooner than we turn on our devices!

Amidst all the real and fabricated gloom and doom stories, one has to seek that shining beacon which could help to lighten up the mood and set a positive tone for the day.  It is not a distraction but the window in our mind that allows us to look out and opt for those special moments that amuse, lighten and inspire our own daily life.  Each of us has our own preferred coping mechanism; for me music is a great antidote.

This week, I pay tribute to one of my favorite music composers Khayyam (full name, Mohammed Zahur Khayyam) who passed away on August 19, 2019 aged 92.  For a long time, especially just before and immediately after the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, Khayyam preferred using a Hindu pseudonym “Sharmaji” to avoid being identified as a Muslim and face ostracism.  Those were troubled times and religious sentiments were running high, dividing communities.  In the face of such religious intolerance, Khayyam married Jagjit Kaur, a Sikh and a wonderful singer in her own right.

Today, syncretic traditions are again under strain everywhere.  In these troubling times, we look forward to leadership from the upcoming youthful generation of Greta Thunberg, Cameron Kasky and others, who have the courage to dream big and do something to bring their plans to fruition.  This is the generation that gives us hope.

Famous lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi’s following “nazm” (verse) was put to music by Khayyam for the 1958 movie Phir Subah Hogi (The Morning Will Dawn Again).  Soulfully sung by Mukesh and Asha Bhonsle, it provides hope and offers encouragement to tide over troubling times:

Vo sub.h kabhi toh aa.egi … That morning will dawn, some day …
In kaalee sadiyon ke sar se,

jab raat kaa aanchal dhalkegaa

After these gloomy times,

… when the veil of the dark night will slip off

Jab dukh ke baadal pighalenge,

jab sukh kaa saagar chhalkegaa

… when the clouds of sadness melt away

… when the waters of happiness spill over

Jab ambar jhoom ke nachegaa

jab dhartee nagmein gayegee

… when the skies sway gleefully

… when melodies burst forth from the earth

Vo sub.h kabhi toh aayegi … That morning will dawn, some day …
Jis sub.h kee khaatir jug jug se,

hum sab mar mar kar jeete hain

That dawn, in anticipation of which we have for ages, lived as those who are dead
Jis sub.h ke amrit ki dhun mein

hum zehar ke pyaale peete hain

Aspiring to sip the nectar of that dawn, we have drunk endless cups of poison
In bhukhee pyaasee ruhon par,

ik din toh karam faramaayegee

One day our destitute, wretched souls will surely be granted succor
Vo sub.h kabhi toh aayegi … That morning will dawn, some day …
Maanaa ke abhi tere mere armaanon ki keemat kuchh bhee nahin Admittedly, today our aspirations remain unvalued
Mittee kaa bhee hai kuchh mol magar

Insaanon kee keemat kuchh bhi nahin

Even dirt has a price, but humans are considered worthless
Insaanon kee izzat jab jhoothe,

sikkon me naa tolee jaayegee

That dawn when human dignity will not be weighed against these false coins …
Vo sub.h kabhi toh aayegi … that morning will dawn, some day


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