Colours of nationalism

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 […]

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’.