Art of making 'Bharat Mata ki jai' sound like a miserable joke

Archana Dalmia
Archana DalmiaMar 23, 2016 | 15:53

Art of making 'Bharat Mata ki jai' sound like a miserable joke

Countless images immortalised by films and literature come to mind as I write this.

Those of people/villains committing heinous crimes and touching their earlobes muttering the lord's name in a rather fast manner of speech. As if, the chanting would exonerate them, because some sort of logic tells the faithful that saying the lord's name is enough to grant that place in heaven. Your actions simply don't count.



Remember how the dreaded killer and dacoit, Ratnakar, was reformed? He was asked to chant the lord's name, but the other way around. The poor chap didn't know that if spoken quickly, the word he was chanting, thinking he was chanting "mara mara mara" ("dead dead dead") had actually begun to sound like the name of the lord Ram. He was redeemed, thus born was Sage Valmiki, and the text he wrote - the Ramayana - is sacrosanct in our homes and hearts.

But, Ratnakar was lucky. I love his tale, which is a part of folklore. Now, a new sort of chant has become all-important. It is a direct translation of "Glory to the Motherland". And, chanting it is a sure means of gaining access into the haloed ranks of the patriotic. Not chanting it, or worse, refusing to chant it, immediately categorises you a heretic, an anti-national person, a real un-patriot.

So, imagine this. A man, chasing a girl down. She is dressed in Western clothes. The man is chanting "Glory to the Motherland", and believes he is doing his motherland a favour by hunting down women who wear Western clothes, tarring their faces, or humiliating them in worse manners. But, since they are chanting the most patriotic of patriotic chants, their actions are redeemable, in fact, totally cool.


Mrs XYZ is cooking up a succulent mutton dish in her kitchen, her son Rahul and his friends are coming over to feast on her special dish. In burst some men. Shouts of "Glory to the Motherland" ring loud. The boys are soundly thrashed, Mrs XYZ is pushed about, and maybe someone even dies. "We smelt a certain meat! We smelt our Mother Cow's meat being cooked. We think this is beef."

Mohammad Akhlaq's family in mourning in the aftermath of Dadri lynching. (PTI)

They chant the sound of the glory repeatedly as they make waste of the kitchen and the boys. They even have a rod ready to spear one of them or maybe all of them, piercing through their ears.

It is perfectly all right. Because they say, they raise the slogans, the chants. They are the patriots. Their place in that heaven is booked.

Imagine. Wait, but you don't have to imagine this scene; it has been replayed so often on TV. Of lawyers thrashing students and journalists, heckling them to chant the glory of the motherland and all the while chanting it themselves.


"We are patriotic. We will tell you why we spoke of petrol bombs in court. Only when you chant the magical four words will you turn into a patriot too." Beat, kick, thrash, kill, maim, but do it while singing "Glory to the Motherland". Thanks, but no thanks for turning the chant into a joke.


I don't yell obeisance to my country when I go about my work. I don't chant its glory when I pay my taxes and don't break queues. I don't wrap myself in the colours of my flag each time I stop to look for a dustbin and not litter the road. I don't wear saffron when I switch off extra lights to conserve energy, I surely do not stand to sing the national anthem when I refuse to bribe or be bribed.

I act my patriotism. I don't need to make a public display of it. And have we not heard so much about what acute public display actually means? Be it of affection or of patriotism.

Too much song and dance is usually aimed at hiding something dark, grey and sinister. It is an indication of the person or people being dysfunctional.

This lacuna in their personalities and lives makes them tom-tom to the world a certain kind of image.


The rest of us simply go about our work. A slogan here, a chant there, a speech here, a cartoon there, a meat dish here and a vegetarian one there, do nothing to dent our love for our motherland. Because our patriotism is staunch and has deep roots. Flimsy, silly and trivial things do not shake my country's integrity, nor do they turn me less patriotic, because I don't stand touching my earlobes chanting the "Glory to my Motherland".

And even when I do chant it, why should I chant it for your listening pleasure? I say in it my mind, hear it echo in my soul and beat with my heart. Say, like the Chalisa I pronounce every day. I say it for myself and my God. Not for anybody else!

I am devout. And your brand of devoutness means nothing to me. But, yes, you are welcome to yours.

Likewise, save the Bharat Mata ki jai. Don't kill it. She is my Bharat Mata as much as yours. I may want to call her Ma, Mom, Ammi, Aai.

Long live my motherland.

(Courtesy of Mail Today.)

Last updated: March 23, 2016 | 15:53
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