Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hindi Song on Pahela Baishakh!


On the hilarious occasion of Pahela Baishakh, a concert entitled "Nokia Fusion Baishakhi Concert" was held at Gulshan Youth Club. I could not attend that music feast but later came to know which artist performed which songs through The Daily Star dated April 16, 2008. To my utter dismay, James, my most favourite singer since childhood, performed Bhigi Bhigi, one of his popular hits in Hindi, on this very occasion whose spirit is nothing but BANGLA!

James has enviably created and given voice to, no doubt, a good number of tremendously hit Bangla songs throughout his long and colourful musical journey. By virtue of his uncommon voice together with inherent talent, he surpassed many of the singers of our country contemporary with him in terms of popularity and has showed the world once again that Bangladesh can produce world-class singers.

With popularity comes responsibility. In an interview with a leading national Bangla daily, James tells that he enjoys most singing in Bangla, no matter how much popular his Hindi hit numbers are. That sounds really nice but this latest incident made me sorely sad. There are at least ten more Bangla songs more popular than Bhigi Bhigi that he could have performed in the concert celebrating this Bangla occasion - Pahela Baishakh! Given that Hindi songs are very popular among the young here, performing a Hindi song on part of an immensely popular singer on such an occasion is indubitably inopportune.

I strongly expect that my most favourite singer would act more sensibly in future.

[ published as a letter in The Daily Star on April 21, 2008. ]


REJOINDER

Nazmus Saquib from Department of English, Stamford University, Dhanmondi sent a rejoinder to the above letter published in The Daily Star dated April 27, 2008. Here it is:

This is in response to the letter of Ahmed Ferdous Bin Alam published in The Daily Star on 21 April. The writer got hugely disappointed with the Hindi song performance of the popular singer of our country James on Pahela Baishakh. He even went as far as saying that a singer like James should not have rendered a Hindi song on Pahela Baishakh in order to show his true patriotism!

I think what James did was not at all something for which we should blame him. Rather, we as Bengalees are proud about the fact that our very own singer James has brought international name and fame not only for himself, but also for the whole country and its people in the field of music. Moreover, Mr. Alam should understand that to refrain from singing in Hindi for just one particular day would not prove our true love for our mother tongue. If we blame the fm radio stations for broadcasting Hindi songs, it will not help us in any way to establish our true love for our language. Rather, we all should respect our language from our hearts. The love for our country is not something which we should demonstrate. The love for our country and language should come from within ourselves.

If we really love this country, then we should try to protect its true identity, culture and tradition. These days some so called modern music composers are composing Bangla songs using vulgar words, and thus trying to destroy our language. So, instead of shouting at Hindi songs, we should condemn those singers and composers who in the name of experimenting with Bangla songs are actually doing great harm to our language.


I've sent a response to his rejoinder. Here it is:

In response to my letter published in DS on April 21 regarding James' rendition of Hindi song at a concert on Pahela Baishakh, Mr. Nazmus Saquib, in his letter in DS on April 27, 2008 tried to enlighten me and I aptly appreciate his kind effort. But I'm sorry to say that he misconstrued the message I intended to pass. So I feel I should make my point unambiguous.

Mr. Saquib said that we all should respect our language from our hearts. I do agree. He also said that what James did was not at all something for which we should blame him. I can't but disagree! No doubt it's a matter of great pride when we see our own singers make their powerful presence felt on the international arena. But that doesn't mean that a singer of that high stature can act irresponsibly by singing a Hindi song at a concert celebrating an occasion that signifies the identity, culture and tradition of our Bangali nation. Personally I enjoy melodious Hindi songs. Nowhere in my letter did I "shout at Hindi songs" as he told. I simply expressed my opinion that it was indubitably inopportune and irresponsible to sing a Hindi song on Pahela Baishakh and James should have been careful of this. That's it.

"To refrain from singing in Hindi for just one particular day would not prove our true love for our mother tongue", He says. Does that justify stage performance of Hindi songs on Pahela Baishakh either? Really ridiculous!

Respect and love for our own country and mother tongue are something that need not be flaunted, rather are felt in the way we act. Irresponsible behaviour on part of a popular celebrity can mislead his ardent fans in their realization of the spirit of Pahela Baishakh.

[ published as a letter in The Daily Star on May 07, 2008. ]


REJOINDER no. 2

Mr. Nazmus Saquib had been tenacious and sent again a rejoinder to the above response that was published in DS on May 12, 2008. Here it is:


This is once again in response to the letter of Mr. Ahmad Ferdous Bin Alam published in DS under the above title on 7th May.

I don't understand why he is trying to make an unnecessary argument over a simple matter. I made my point very clear by saying that James didn't commit any mistake by singing Hindi songs on a Pahela Baishakh concert, simply because his intention was not to hurt the sentiments of the audience, rather the audience present on that concert were requesting him consistently to sing Hindi songs. Being a born and professional singer, he just obliged to the request of the audience. As songs have neither religion nor any language, so we shouldn't take a parochial view of the matter.

Moreover, if we stop listening to Hindi songs on Pahela Baishakh, then why not on 21 February, 16 December and 26 March? It doesn't make any sense to me why people are always eager to show off even a serious thing like patriotism.

Patriotism is something which should come naturally, showing our true Bengalee identity by stopping Hindi songs on one particular day or some particular occasions will not make us great to the rest of the world. We all love our country and love our language and therefore we know how to value others' language and culture as well. The bottom line is that respect to our mother tongue should come from within ourselves.

I've already sent the response:

This is in response to the letter of Mr. Nazmus Saquib in The Daily Star on May 12, 2008 regarding the above issue.

He said that James performed Hindi songs on incessant requests from his fans in that concert. I have to reiterate - with popularity comes responsibility. A singer is not supposed to swallow every request of his fans. He must have sense of appropriateness and should have reminded his fans of the spirit of an occasion that signifies the identity, culture and tradition of our Bengali nation, instead of gleefully singing Hindi songs.

Nevertheless, I do agree that we should not be complacent with our 'patriotism of one day'. Add to that, patriotism is felt in the way we act, no matter on an occasion or in our day-to-day life.

My dissent with Mr. Saquib lies in the sense of appropriateness. I think performing Hindi songs in a concert arranged on the occasion of Pahela Baishakh was inappropriate. Mr. Saquib thinks it was alright. Both of us have made our points clear and I hope the matter ends here.

[ published as a letter in The Daily Star on May 14, 2008. ]

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