POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Jan 26, 2011 AT 00:00 IST ,  Edited At: Jan 26, 2011 00:00 IST

Pandit Bhimsen Joshi: solo audio

And some sobering words from Ram Guha:

That India, unlike China, has regular elections, and that Indians, unlike the Chinese, can live anywhere they want, are freedoms to cherish and be grateful for. Among other visible (and admirable) strengths of Indian democracy are the independence of institutions such as the Election Commission and the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General, and the sturdily apolitical character of our armed forces. Set against these gains are the corruption and criminality of our political class, the corruption and corrosion of our legal system, and the increasingly self-serving nature of our Press. Rather than brag about how much more democratic we are than China, we should pay attention to how far Indian democracy, c. 2011, falls short of the ideals envisaged and the standards laid out by our own Constitution in 1950.

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FILED IN:  Republic Day
POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Jan 26, 2011 AT 00:00 IST, Edited At: Jan 26, 2011 00:00 IST
POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Jan 26, 2010 AT 02:23 IST ,  Edited At: Jan 26, 2010 04:23 IST


We were brought up to stand up to attention whenever Jana Mana Gana played -- and it even played in newsreels before the movies in cinema halls. While that still manages to give goose flesh every now and then, I have memories of whole groups of school-kids bursting into hysterical giggles of  inexplicable and uncontrollable mirth en masse whenever we reached "ham bulbuleN haiN iskii" while lustily singing Saare Jahaan Se Achhaa (there were also those who strongly resented being called bulbuls). And I am sure I was certainly not the only one who often had to make up verses while singing Vande Mataram. But one of the true patriotic songs to beat all patriotic songs that provided sheer joie de vivre (and in some cases, introduced heathens like yours truly to the pleasures of classical music) was Mile Sur Meraa Tumhaaraa.  A song that, for the generations brought up on  Door -- and Krishi -- Darshan, or at least those growing up in the 1980s, was easily the most joyous, shared national experience -- a true celebratory anthem that did at least as much for national integration as  Manmohan Desai, the Indian cricket team, or all of Films Division documentaries combined together. Like all great music is supposed to, it actually elevated and uplifted the lowliest  of us and made us, or so I would like to believe, better human beings, incapable of any devilry, at least for some time.

The news, therefore, about a new version (a promo is here) somehow brings back memories of what happened to a remaking of Sholay  -- and, of course, as in Ram Gopal Varma kii Aag, ominously, Mr Bachchan is very much there too. Here's to hoping that the new version does not do to the old one what, say, Paul Simon sometimes manages to do to his very own songs. I am filled with dread and am so not looking forward to check out the new version...

Postscript: OK, here it is, just as I feared:

  And part II:

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FILED IN:  Music |Republic Day
POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Jan 26, 2010 AT 02:23 IST, Edited At: Jan 26, 2010 04:23 IST
POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Jan 27, 2009 AT 19:11 IST ,  Edited At: Jan 27, 2009 21:22 IST
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[pedantic, nitpicking mode begins]

The White House blog for Monday, January 26th, 2009 says:

"58 years of Indian democracy

"Today is India Republic Day, the 58th anniversary of India's independence and the adoption of its Constitution.

And we thought there were enough Indian hands at the Whitehouse. And even if we grant the confusion between the Independence and Republic days, how does 26 January 1950 to 26 Janyuary 2009 make it the 58th. anniversary?

 [pedantic, nitpicking mode ends] 

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POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Jan 27, 2009 AT 19:11 IST, Edited At: Jan 27, 2009 21:22 IST
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