Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Critically devotional

The correct reply to “Do you believe in God?” has to be “I believe in stories with nice endings.” On a personal front, i believe in songs where God is addressed directly. No priest, thank you. The words expressed are quite bold. Furthermore, they sound like a chat you weren’t supposed to eavesdrop on. 
  • Like Tina Sani’s Mori Araj Suno where she threatens God with dire consequences if he doesn’t heed her request: she’ll go and find another God to worship! You don’t take threats in Punjabi lightly. 
  • The passion is similar but the tone is mellowed down when MS Subbulaxmi sings Kurai Ondrum Illai with sentiments that border on defeatism as well as gratitude. She appears to be informing her Creator that she has no more grief and she’s finally in a place where she isn’t afraid of dealing with sorrow. Simply put, she doesn’t care anymore. Of course, this is one interpretation as there can be hundreds to poetry. 
  • There’s a Marathi song where Ganaraya (Lord Ganesha) is pleasantly chided for his shyness. It’s almost like the devotee is making fun of his God for being too coy to appear in front of him. Sarcasm at its divine best! 
  • A Kannada song, Sada Enna Hrudayadalli, pleads to God to make the singer’s heart his permanent abode. This song is my ma’s favourite and the innocence in its lyrics makes you want to accept the sweet marriage between religion and drama. 
  • When Lata Mangeshkar croons Ae Maalik Tere Bande Hum, she is basically building a case against God for his apparent injustice. Similarly, Itni Shakti Humein Dena Daata appeals to human strength of character which for some reason depends on God’s belief in us. 
  • There are very few singers around with a hotline to God the way Abida Parveen does. And her criticism of God in “Tune kya kya na banaya, koi kya kya na bana... ab mujhe hosh ki duniya mein tamasha na bana” is as subtle as it can musically get. 

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