Monday, May 28, 2007

Victory to thee

Thou art the ruler of the minds of all people,
dispenser of India's destiny.
Thy name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, the Maratha country,
in the Dravida country, Utkala (Orissa) and Bengal;
It echoes in the hills of the Vindhyas and Himalayas,
it mingles in the rhapsodies of the pure waters of the Yamuna and the Ganges.
They chant only thy name,
they seek only thy blessings,
they sing only thy praise.
The saving of all people waits in thy hand,
thou dispenser of India's destiny.
Victory, Victory, Victory, Victory to thee.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The world's rhythm in my veins

I cannot translate this into English. You have to know the language. Words are not words. They have lives of their own.

[Update: The video has been changed. This one has subtitles in English.]
The rabindrasangeet is sung by Debabrata Biswas, the freebird on screen is Anil Chatterjee, and the clip is from Komal Gandhar (E-Flat) directed by Ritwick Ghatak. All his life, Ghatak had protested against the partition of Bengal.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Gayatri Spivak revisited

Arnab Ray has blogged about Radheshyam Rasia's bhojpuri singing, with a brief reference to Spivak's theory of the subaltern.

Two months ago, I had written about the popular and the subaltern, with an embed of the same Rasia Tailor video. But now, I think a more accurate analogy to Spivak's Can the subaltern Speak? is the last scene in Antarmahal, where Jashomati, the zamindar's younger wife played by Soha Ali Khan, commits suicide.

Antarmahal is based on Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay's short story Protima. It's not clear if Jashomati is menstruating (see the movie and read Spivak's paper to know why I ask this question), but the ending is pretty close to Spivak's theory of the subaltern. In her original essay, Spivak writes about the suicide of Bhuvaneshwari Bhaduri, a young woman in her teens in 1926, and tries to drive home the argument that the subaltern as female, cannot be heard or read. Spivak is sometimes difficult to grasp, and is known for her obscurity. The point is made, however, in the last scene and it aptly portrays the original title of Spivak's essay: Power, Desire, Interest.

I am not a student of literary criticism, nor am I driven by the romanticism of protest. Any wrong analogies drawn, I hope, will be forgiven by those who know better.

Didn't you enjoy Amar Pal's mellifluous voice? [starts at 3:00]