Nationalism is an ‘identity’ an ‘idea’ an ‘ideology’. Modern Nations define ‘Nationalism’ through various symbols , rituals and images such as the National Flag, National Anthem or National song, which are enshrined in the Constitution and are respected by the citizens; they identify with it and consider it as their duty.
However; individual nationalism has been there since ages; even before the formation of modern ‘Nation States’. It flows from the heart of an individual and is manifested in their creative expressions such as poetry, song, Drama .cinema and even actions. Presenting here three colors of ‘Nationalism’ from the ‘Rainbow’ of ‘Nationalism’ .These are three poems/songs by three different poets who have presented their ‘idea’ their ‘images’ of Nationalism . These poets are- Suryakant Tripathi (Nirala) Sahir Ludhiyanvi and Prem Dhawan,.
Surya Kant Tripathi-‘Nirala’, lived up-to his name-Nirala; (different/Strange), revolutionary in thought and action, text and texture of his works. Lyrical were his compositions in verse and prose as well. ‘Heart’ he was from top to toe. Readers are struck both by his life and works , much in Allahabad but formulated in west Bengal and well versed was he in Hindi ,Sanskrit, Bengali and Persian. There is inherent music in his Poetry. Unpredictable and uncompromising he was in his lifetime, which was filled with struggles , disappointments, personal loss of his young wife and daughter, and uncertain economic condition. But the fire of his imagination never reduces. He remains current. What I personally like about him is that he was steeped in Indian literature and mythology, had deep knowledge of Sanskrit and Bengali and yet he was modern. His modernity is vivid in his poetry. Among his many poems ‘Vinavadini’, remains popular as ‘Saraswati vandana’ in many school functions in North India. Though it is sung as a routine Saraswati Vandana it is a fiery ‘National Song’ where Devi Saraswati –Godessof Art and literature and music and knowledge is being invoked for the good of the new Nation emerging from the shackles of slavery. Nirala is seeking the blessings of Saraswati(Vinavadini) for Bharat- The poem titled ‘Vinavadini’ goes like:
var de vinavadini var de
priya swatantra rav amrit matra
nav bharat mein bhar de
kaat andh ur ke bandhan ster
baha janani jyotirmaya nirjhar
kalush bhedh tam har prakash bhar
jagmag jag kar de
nav gati nav laye taal chhand nav
naval kanth nav jalad mand rav
nav nabh ke nav vihag vrind ko
nav sur par nav sur de
In this poem Nirala has chosen Godess Saraswati to bless the young Nation. He has not invoked Durga for Power, has not invoked Laxmi for economic prosperity and wealth. But sought blessings of Sarawati for long term ideology, spirituality, character building ,aesthetics, poetry, qualities which as humanity we perennially lack. He begins in the first stanza by addressing Saraswati and seeking direct boon – var de veena vadini varde- O holder of Veena bless me ;give us boon. Fill the new born Nation Bharat with an independent voice/sound/music/,with immortal sound/words/phrases/compositions. Give new voice to this new nation. Bring out the Nation from darkness of bondage and fill it with the burst of light .destroy darkness , evil of the past and illuminate us with knowledge. In the final stanza the poet is at his poetic best when he says. Give us new rhythm , new melody, new meter, new voice, new sound burning slowly with aspiration . New sky, new birds, new forest chirping with new sound of new music.
It is an allegorical composition seeking divine boon for the Nation new. The new Nation needs new voice free of bondage , free of restrictions.
A break from the past , which is not easy, therefore the invocation. Moreover the new Nation needs new Ideology ,both formal in terms of its ‘Constitution’ and informal arising out from the free society. It has to move forward from the era of exploitation, feudalism, rigidity and carve a place for itself in the new world. It has to be a refined Nation –aesthetically , free from all restrictions. Providing congenial environment for the growth of Art, Music and culture. Making intrinsic good citizens who shall thereafter make the Great Nation. Lofty ideals indeed. Unique- ‘Andeze bayan’. Have we lived up-to it?
Nationalism of Sahir (Ludhiyanvi) so nicely written in the song he wrote in 1963 for Sunil Dutt’s film , ‘Mujhe Jeene do’. The film opens with the song in the background:
ab koi gulshan na ujre ab watan azaad hai
rooh Ganga ki Himalaya ka badan azaad hai
kheetiyan sona ugayeen vadiyan moti lutayeen
aaj Gautam ki jameen Tulsi ka van azaad hai
Mandiron mein shankh baje Masjidon mein ho azaan
Sheikh ka Dharam aur Din- e -Barhaman azaad hai
loot kaisi bhi ho ab is Desh mein rehne na paye
aaj sabke vaste dharti ka dhan azaaad hai
simply translated it means :
now no garden ( implying – home/family) shall be destroyed as the nation is free
the soul of Ganges (river Ganga) and the body of Himalaya is free
there is prosperity in the fields and valleys
the land of Gautam (Buddha) and the forests of Tulsi (Tulsidas) are free
there is sound of blowing of conch shell from Temples and that of azaan from Mosques
the religion of Muslims(Sheikh) and Hindus(Brahman) is free
loot in whatever form shall not exist now
today the wealth of nation is for all
Sahir’s ‘Nationalism’ provides ‘Security’ to all Homes- Gulshan, implying that all families consisting of parents, children, old, toddlers, as various flowers exist in garden (Gulshan) shall be safe in this Free Nation. The ‘Soul’ of the Nation represented by the Pure Ganges river is free; the ‘Body’ of the Nation Represented by the ‘Mighty’ Himalyas is free. Purity of soul and body as unconquerable as Himalyas is the Poet’s vision.
As the Nation is free there is prosperity in rural areas(dharti sona ugayen) in shape of fertile fields. There is also beauty in the valleys represented by flowers and fruits in abundance(vadiyan moti lutayen)symbolized by the word –Moti. The land of Philosophy, peace and Poetry represented by Gautam Buddha and Tulsidas are free .
There is religious tolerance between Hindus and Muslims manifested by the sounds of conch shell blowing from temples and the azaan from mosques.
Now that the land is free there shall be no exploitation- loot of any kind; physical , mental. Today the Wealth of Nation is Free for its people- Equal Opportunity to all.
Now Sahir and all of us know that India was far from his description at that time and even now. But this was the aspiration of the Poet and also the aspiration of the people.
This was his ‘Ideology’ his ‘vichardhara’.