Category Archives: Patriotic Music

Dhano Dhanno Pushpo Bhora

 

I have always been proud of coming from a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious country. In today’s migratory world, many countries can claim the same. But immigrants remain foreigners at least for a generation or two; sometimes for more. In India, we are all different but we are none of us foreigners! As strange as it may be to reach some corner of India where the language is indecipherable, the culture alien and the food unrecognisable, we still look at the people and accept the oneness of being Indian.

So it gives me great pleasure when famous musicians bravely launch into songs from elsewhere in India with passion and enjoyment. I was recently listening to the live telecast of T.M.Krishna’s concert at Spic Macay convention. I am a fan of TMK; I almost always enjoy his music. The last song he sang was the Bengali song Dhano Dhanno Pushpo Bhora. It was a fan request; evidently people have heard him sing this before. I listened with interest as I know this song well. His musicality was beautiful and his rendition full of emotion. But I have to say this much as I hate to do so – the pronunciation just didn’t work. I understand; it is so difficult for us Indians to learn and appreciate each other’s languages, isn’t it! It is all so different, especially Tamil and Bengali. I know; I am fluent in both. Still, I am very happy that he chose to present this lovely piece of nationalistic poetry by Dwijendralal Ray (1863-1913).  Perhaps a new set of audience will come to appreciate these beautiful words. This song has been sung in the past by M.S.Subbulakshmi as well. Given that my audience is almost 99% non-Bengali, I am writing this post to bring this song to the attention of all you readers.

Before I transcribe it, I would like to bring some important points about pronunciation in Bengali. My readers would be well used to the modified version of the Harvard Kyoto transliteration scheme which I use in this blog. I have described it in this page. To be able to transliterate Bengali, I have the need for two more vowel symbols. ɒ is like o as in Hot. This is the ‘default’ vowel sound in Bengali; it often replaces अ in Sanskrit. अ can also be replaced by o like in old. The other vowel sound which occurs frequently is ɛ like ai in air.  Other than that, Sanskrit words when used in Bengali have the following replacements of consonants (I list the ones in the song, this is not a universal list).

v as in vasundhara (earth in Sanskrit) is replaced with b
s  as in sakal (from sakala, total / everything in Sanskrit) is replaced with sh
sw like in swapna (dream in Sanskrit) is replaced with sh
rya like in sUrya (sun in Sanskrit) is replaced with rjɒ
note also that rAnI in Sanskrit, Hindi and Bengali is with the soft न (n) unlike Tamil where the hard ण (ண – N) is used.

I’ve selected a beautifully sung rendition from the West Bengal Sangeet Academy for you to listen to while you follow along with the words below. The lyrics are in Bengali with English transliteration. My thanks to my husband who proof read and corrected the Bengali script for me. I hope you enjoy it!

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ধন ধান্য পুষ্প ভরা আমাদের এই বসুন্ধরা
তাহার মাঝে আছে দেশ এক সকল দেশের সেরা
ও সে স্বপ্ন দিয়ে তৈরি সে দেশ স্মৃতি দিয়ে ঘেরা |
এমন দেশটি কোথাও খুঁজে পাবে নাকো তুমি
ও সে সকল দেশের রাণী সে যে আমার জন্মভূমি
সে যে আমার জন্মভূমি, সে যে আমার জন্মভূমি।।

dhɒno dhanno pushpo bhɒrA AmAdEr Ey boshundhɒrA
tAhAr mAjhE ACHE dEsh ɛk shɒkol dEshEr shErA
O shE shɒpno diyE tOyrI shE dEsh smriti diyE ghɛrA
ɛmOn dEshti kOthA’O khu.njE pAbE nAkO tumi
O shE shɒkol dEshEr rAnI shE jE AmAr jɒnmo bhUmi
shE jE AmAr jɒnmo bhUmi, shE jE AmAr jɒnmo bhUmi

In this (Ey) earth (boshundhɒrA) which is ours (AmAdEr), filled with (bhɒrA ) with riches (dhɒno), grain (dhanno) and flowers (pushpo), in the midst (mAjhE) of which (tAhAr) is (ACHE) a (ɛk) country (dEsh) which is the best (shErA) amongst all (shɒkol) countries (dEshEr). That which is (O shE) created (tOyrI ) with dreams (shɒpno) , that (shE) country (dEsh) is surrounded (ghɛrA) by memories (shmriti ). You (tumi) will never (nAkO) find (khu.njE pAbE) a country (dEshti) such as this (ɛmon) anywhere (kOthA’O)! That which is (O shE) the queen (rAnI) of all countries (shɒkol dEshEr), that is (shE jE) my (AmAr) birthplace (jɒnmo bhUmi).

চন্দ্র সূর্য গ্রহ তারা, কোথায় উজান এমন ধারা,
কোথায় এমন খেলে তড়িৎ, এমন কালো মেঘে,
ও তার পাখির ডাকে ঘুমিয়ে পড়ে (alt: উঠে ) পাখির ডাকে জেগে।
(repeat refrain)

chɒndro shUrjo grɒho tArA, kOthAy ujAn ɛmon dhArA
kOthAy ɛmon khɛlE tɒDit, ɛmon kAlO mEghE,
O tAr pAkhir DAkE ghumiyE pɒDE (alt: uTHE) pAkhir DAkE jEgE
(repeat refrain)

The moon (chɒndro), the sun (shUrjo), the planets (grɒho), the stars (tArA) – where (kOthAy) is such a (ɛmon) stream (dhArA) with an upstream flow (ujAn)? Where (kOthAy) does lightning (tɒDit) play (khɛlE) like this (ɛmon), amongst black (kAlO) clouds (mEghE) like this (ɛmon)? Which falls asleep (ghumiyE pɒDE/uTHE) with the call (DAkE) of its (tAr) birds, having also (implied) woken (jEgE) with bird calls (pAkhir DAkE).

এত স্নিগ্ধ নদী কাহার কোথায় এমন ধুম্র পাহাড়
কোথায় এমন হরিৎ ক্ষেত্র আকাশ তলে মেশে
এমন ধানের উপর ঢেউ খেলে যায় বাতাস কাহার দেশে
(repeat refrain)

ɛtO snigdhO nɒdI kAhAr, kOthAy ɛmon dhUmro pAhAD,
kOthAy ɛmon hɒrit khEtrO AkAsh tɒlE mEshE,
ɛmon  dhAnEr Upɒr dhE’U khɛlE jAy, bAtAsh kAhAr dEshE
(repeat refrain)

Whose (kAhAr) river (nɒdI) is as (ɛtO) gentle (snigdhO)? Where (kOthAy) are such (ɛmon) misty (dhUmro) mountains (pAhAD)? Where (kOthAy) are fields (khEtrO) green (hɒrit) like this (ɛmon) blending (mEshE) under (tɒlE) the skies (AkAsh)? In whose (kAhAr) country (dEshE) does the wind (bAtAsh) play (khɛlE) like waves (dhE’U) over (Upɒr) the rice fields (dhAnEr)?

পুষ্পে পুষ্পে ভরা শাখি কুঞ্জে কুঞ্জে গাহে পাখি
গুঞ্জরিয়া আসে অলি পুঞ্জে পুঞ্জে ধেয়ে
তারা ফুলের ওপর ঘুমিয়ে পড়ে ফুলের মধু খেয়ে।
(repeat refrain)

pushpE pushpE bhɒrA shAkhi, kunjE kunjE gAhE pAkhi
gunjɒriyA AshE oli punjE punjE dhEyE
tArA phUlEr Upɒr ghumiyE pɒDE phUlEr mɒdhu khEyE
(repeat refrain)

Branches (shAkhi)  filled (bhɒrA ) with flowers (pushpE, repeated for emphasis), birds (pAkhi) singing (gAhE) in bowers (kunjE kunjE), bees (oli) rush (dhEyE) in buzzing (gunjɒriyA) swarms (punjE punjE). They (tArA) sleep (ghumiyE pɒDE) on (Upɒr) the flowers (phUlEr) after having sipped (khEyE, literally eaten) the nectar (mɒdhu) of the flowers (phUlEr).

ভাইয়ের মায়ের এতো স্নেহ, কোথায় গেলে পাবে কেহ,
ও মা তোমার চরণ দুটি বক্ষে আমার ধরি,
আমার এই দেশেতে জন্ম যেন এই দেশেতে মরি।
(repeat refrain)

bhAiyEr mAyEr ɛtO snEhO kothAy gElE pAbE kEhO
O mA tOmAr chɒron duTi bɒkkhE AmAr dhɒri
AmAr Ey dEshEtE jɒnmo jɛno Ey dEshEtE məri
(repeat refrain)

Where (kOthAy) can anyone (kEhO) go (gElE) to get (pAbE) so much (ɛtO) love (snEhO) from brothers (baAiyEr) and mothers (mAyEr)? O Mother (mA), I hold (dhɒri) your (tOmAr) two (duTi) feet (chɒron) on my (AmAr) chest (bɒkkhE ). My (AmAr) birth (jɒnmo) was in this (Ey) country (dEshEtE), take care that (jɛno) I die (məri) in this (Ey) country (dEshEtE).

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To My Two Homelands

India AustraliaToday is a day of National significance to the two countries I call home. In India, we celebrate the Republic Day, a day when the Indian Constitution came into play and India came into its own in 1950. Australia Day marks the anniversary of Captain Arthur Phillip unfurling the British flag at Sydney Cove and proclaiming British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia in 1788. It is truly ironic that in one of my homelands we celebrate the final departure of the British and in the other we celebrate their arrival!

In either case, it is a day to remember the lands we call home with love and gratitude.

India made me who I am. She gave me an identity, a family, a culture, a society,  the  languages I speak, an education, a belief system and a philosophy. For all of these and much more besides, I thank Her. I am grateful to have been born on this land and pray that I can continue to call it my home in all my future births.

As for Australia, I have a story to tell. The very first week that we arrived in Melbourne, my then 8 year old daughter fell very ill. We had been out looking at cars in showrooms when her asthma worsened rapidly until she could hardly breathe. We took her to the first clinic we saw on the road; the doctor who saw her said that she had better go to the hospital. Driving unknown streets to reach the hospital, I listened with increasing worry to her laboured breathing. At the hospital the triage nurse took one look at her and in what felt like minutes she was in a bed with an oxygen mask and drips to stabilize her. Then we went to the front desk to do the paperwork.

‘Your Medicare card please?’ the lady asked.
‘Sorry, we don’t have one yet’.
‘Your address?’ she continued.
‘Only a temporary one, we are guests at a relative’s home’ we said.
’Do you work, do you have an income?’.
‘No, we have just arrived’.

And that was the end of the matter. No one asked us any more questions, not at this hospital, not in the ambulance which transferred her to a children’s ward in another hospital, and not at the second hospital where she stayed for three days and received very good care. Nor did we receive bills or invoices afterwards. On that day, Australia became my own for She had treated me as her own. She gave us the priceless gift of our child’s life and a helping hand when we needed it most. That very daughter works as a doctor in a children’s hospital today, helping other children in need. There are some gifts which can never be repaid. My gratitude to Australia till my dying breath.

To celebrate, here are two pieces of music which resonate with the emotions I feel for my two homelands.

Mile Sur (original) a beautiful song to celebrate the diversity of India.

And for Australia, the song which is so meaningful for us expats – yes, absolutely, I still call Australia Home!

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Singing a Salute

Album : Anand Math (1952)

Song : Vande Mataram

Music : Hemant Kumar

Lyrics : Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay (27 June 1838 – 8 April 1894)

Singers : Lata Mangeshkar

 

On this day, a National day in both my birth and adoptive countries, I choose this beautiful song as a salutation to both nations. The Hindi film industry has presented us with a number of memorable patriotic songs, many of which I would love to name in this blog one day.  But in my quest to present personally meaningful songs, this is a standout. I woke up to one version of this song everyday of my childhood as it played at 6am in the radio. At school, I sang another version of this song daily for 7 odd years.  I was an impressionable teenager when I sang this with the school choir at an event attended by Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India. Shaking hands with her, I had been mesmerized by her aura of power and her personal magnetism. ‘This is how a woman ought to be’, I had thought. A self-defining moment for a growing girl.

So today, I present this song to you, as an ode to Mother Earth, Mother India, and Goddess Shakti (the Goddess of Power).

 

Vande Mataram–Lata Mangeshkar

vande mātaram, sujalāṃ suphalāṃ malayajaśītalām
śasya śyāmalāṃ, mātaram, vande mātaram
śubhra jyotsnā, pulakita yāminīm
phulla kusumita, drumadalaśobhinīm
suhāsinīṃ, sumadhura bhāṣiṇīm
sukhadāṃ varadāṃ, mātaram
vande mātaram

I bow to thee, Mother,
richly-watered, richly-fruited,
cool with the winds of the south,
dark with the crops of the harvests,
the Mother!
Her nights rejoicing
in the glory of the moonlight,
her lands clothed beautifully
with her trees in flowering bloom,
sweet of laughter, sweet of speech,
The Mother, giver of boons, giver of bliss!

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