July 03, 2020
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Afraid Of The Truth?

Our resident pop-psychologist annotates the latest poetic offering from the prime minister and offers some advice on a song he could sing -- a dirge for Gujarat.

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Afraid Of The Truth?

Pop-psychologists are really having a ball, reading meanings into the prime minister's latest poetic offering to media-persons at Nainital on Saturday. After his talked about poems, haar nahiiN manuuNgaa (I shan't accept defeat) and giit nayaa gaataa huuN (I sing a new song), it is now giit nahiiN gaataa huuN, so I thought why don't I have a go at it, too. And even to a faux Bong like me, the Hindi was pretty easy to understand. Even more easier was to, like, really "get" what the prime minister was trying to say. My heart bleeds for him.

Here it is, then, the original Hindi of the Prime Minister, a rough, working-translation and then some interpretive notes.

giit nahi gaataa hoon

giit nahiiN gaataa huuN,
benaqaab chehre haiN,
daag baRe gahre haiN,
TuuTataa tilism aaj,
sach se bhaya khaata huun,
giit nahii gataa huuN,

lagii kuchh aisii nazar,
bikhraa shishe kaa shahar,
apno ke mele maiN,
miit nahii paataa huun,

piith maiN chhurii saa chaaNd,
raahu gayaa rekhaa phaNd,
muktii ke shanoN maiN,
bandh jaataa huun,
giit nahiiN gaataa huun

Rough translation: (Please feel free to point out glaring errors etc., but then perhaps I need not point that out)

I do not sing songs

I do not sing songs
The faces are unmasked
The marks are very deep
The spell is getting over
I am afraid of the truth

I do not sing songs

Such an evil eye was cast
the glass house was shattered
in the crowd of my own
I do not find a friend

Back-stabbed by a knife-like moon
Raahu* has crossed all limits
In the moments of deliverance (release?)
I get tied up

* (raahu is a planet with evil influence in Hindu astrology)

On being asked about any new composition in Nainital, he said, "aakaash meiN baadal ghumaR rahe haiN, shaayad barsaat ho jaaye" (the clouds have covered the skies, maybe it would rain").


benaqaab chehre haiN,
Now this is obvious. "benaqaab" of course is another way of saying "mukhoTaa utar gayaa" (remember Govindacharya's characterisation of Vajpayee as a "mukhoTaa" or "mask" for BJP?) So the PM is saying: the mask is now off.

"daag baRe gahreN haiN"
Basically, the pock-marked ugly face of BJP is now unmasked. [needless to say, the reference is to complicity in Gujarat].

TuuTataa tilism aaj
the spell [of RSS ideology?] is today broken.

sach se bhaya khaata huun
Literally, "I am afraid of the truth" [that this ugly face of BJP reveals?]

lagii kuchh aisii nazar
h, this really shows the true character of the prime-minister. It seems he would rather be deluded, as he blames this unmasking and shattering of the glass-house to an "evil-eye".

bikhraa shishe kaa shahar
The glass house is shattered (strange he should say, 'bikhraa' as that shows scattered, dissembled. Perhaps he is talking of BJP (or Ahmedabad?)

apno ke mele maiN, miit nahii paataa huun
Hmmm, yeah, which of the other BJP/RSS types would even want to admit that something amiss has happened in Gujarat? Maybe we can suggest Tom Petty's "hard to find a friend"?

piith maiN chhurii saa chaand
Here as the poet explained himself, he was taking poetic liberties. "I am imagining the moon to be shaped like a knife." See, he's suggesting that he's been stabbed in the dark, the poor well meaning sod.

raahu gayaa rekhaa phaNd
Ah, the Murli Manohar influence is discernible in this, isn't it? More astrological superstition that one would expect from a medieval mindset.

muktii ke shanoN main, bandh jaata huun
Ah, the old age, time for retirement perhaps, but the party commitments tie him down from making a clean breast of it all...(and isn't the meter, like, a little off? Shouldn't it be "bandh ke rah jaataa huun"?) Pooh-lamb-caught-in-the-snares-of-misguided-ideology

giit nahii gaataa huuN
dear Prime Minister, please do, please do sing some songs. May one, with due respect, suggest a marsiya on marhuum-e-Gujarat, an elegy for the dead Gujarat? A shok-geet? A pradhan mantri kaa pashchaataap?

Please for Ram's sake, visit the forsaken place. It's been more than a month now.

Couldn't you have taken your Holi holiday after visiting the blood-soaked state? Suffering is good for the soul and poetry, they say, and perhaps if you witnessed some of that first-hand, your poems might improve too.

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