My friend forwarded to me in social media, the new or perhaps the oldest and authentic version of ‘Raghupathi Raghava Raja Ram’ which we can say is the national bhajan of India! Popularized by none other than the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, there is no flag hoisting ceremony of any kind without rounding off the occasion with the soulful composition sung in chorus all across our country. The devotional sarva-dharmic song is etched in our hearts from our school days and this is no exaggeration. Now when I hear the original version of Raghupathi Raghava replacing a couple of verses that mention the Middle Eastern Gods with the authentic Hindu god names, with our PM’s sanction, I have mixed feelings. Believe me, I just cannot have enough of the authentic version. I am a great devotee of Lord Ram. And I love Bapu’s bhajan equally dear with its altered verses from very young years like my fellow Indian citizens. There is so much of goodness here and eternal divinity. So sometimes I wish, things are left as such without disturbing the equilibrium – in this case with the Bapu’s words that resonates in all our hearts reinforcing our faith and unshakeable trust in humanity. Why stir the hornets’ nest that is brewing sweet nectar. To what end. India is all ours. None can deny that the soul of India is Hindu. Of course I would have loved a Hindu Rashtra but I wouldn’t want any Indian citizen, particularly minority, to be left out or feel alienated with this dream of mine. I guess, you can understand my logic when you live as minority in foreign soil where alien gods write your cheque every month. Interestingly, my friend’s son studied at a Christian country and works there now. Many of us make a living in the Gulf states. It is true that India has had a violent and tragic past because of our invader-marauders who came from here. But presently, the Hindu India also gains a lot of stability and economic support from Middle east. Our bulk of oil & gas import is from this region. The gulf states favour India over Pakistan even if our hostile neighbours are followers of Islam. It shows how impartial the Arabs are. They care for substance over anything. Wherever that is, they do not hesitate to trade with or make bonds. And their kind of trust and ally is very strong and reliable. My humble request to my Prime Minister on this Republic day is to NEVER do anything to undo the goodwill generations of Indians have earned for our country. No Indian citizen must feel insecure and/or excluded from our mainstream society. You may do whatever to stop conversion and/or take on terror, and you can do what it takes for our national security, but please do not do anything that will break the age-old kinship we Indians enjoy over caste and creed. At the end of the day, we are all Indians. Today I came across pictures in social media of expat Indian muslims hoisting our national flag in arab countries. I came across christians celebrating our Republic day. Our own younger people are studying/working in christian/islamic nations. NRI funds India cannot do without. If we want acceptance anywhere in the globe, then India has to embrace all her citizens as what we say in Thamizh ‘oru thaai makkal’ EQUALS. Again I do love the original version, but let Bapu’s version be the one that is always on our children’s lips.
Can’t resist Ustad Bismillah Khan’s shenai:
Can’t help sharing Vaishnava Janato by Lata Mangeshkar either:
Bapu’s version of Raghupathi Ragava Raja Ram that became the national slogan during India’s independence struggle against the British:
When you stop singing Bapu’s version, you are starting to dismantle all that has come to make India for what she is. Bharat Mata is Mother India to every Indian citizen and the entire Indian diaspora spread across the globe. Let not some of her children be rendered orphans thanks to thoughtless actions of our politicians. The worst insecurity someone can have is that of not belonging anywhere. Let no Indian citizen be subject to this trauma. Or are we witnessing a deconstruction of our recent history as we know it.