Old Hindi songs and the subtle Punjabi touch

Listen to old songs from Indian Hindi movies (now called Bollywood movies), you will notice two things:
1. A lot of songs are written in pure Urdu,
2. There is a clear influence of Punjabi language/wording on a lot of old Hindi (or Urdu) songs.
To understand this influence, you have look at the history of Indian Cinema in early 1900s. Before the Indian Partition in 1947, even though the movie production was concentrated in Bombay, north India was a prime spot for shooting the actual film scenes. Lahore and Delhi were commonly used for urban settings; the Kashmir valley and the Himalayan foothills were the key spots for natural scenery and natural beauty.
The political and religious unrest in Punjab in 1940s played into the Punjabi infusion into Hindi cinema. Many Lahore based actors, directors and singers moved to Bombay to avoid living amongst the riots and the social divisions. The likes of B.R. Chopra, Mohammed Rafi, Sahir Ludhianvi, Verma Malik… were impacted by the Punjab Partition and all of them made their name in Bombay film industry sooner or later. Pran, our favorite ‘Villain of the Millennium’, started in Lahore in Punjabi cinema in 19040, his first film was Yamla Jat. After acting in several movies in Lahore, he moved to Bombay after 1947 partition of India.
In early 1900s, Punjab was one of the most prosperous region of India and Punjabi actors were preferred for the lead/main roles because of their fair complexion and taller/stronger stature. Starting with Prithviraj Kapoor (Kapoor family), Rajesh Khanna, Sunil Dutt, Dharmendra… Punjabi dominance in Bombay film industry was very noticeable and they brought Punjabi culture with them. Even more is true about poets and song writers.
For example, if you listen to ‘Roti Kapda Aurr Makaan’ movie’s songs, there is a clear Punjabi influence. The song ‘Mehangai Maar Gayi’ starts with a mixture Urdu and Punjabi:
‘Usne kahaa tu kaun hain, maine kahaa ulfat teri
usne kahaa takta hai kya, maine kahaa surat teri
usne puchhaa chaahata hai kya, maine kahaa chaahat teri
maine kahaa samjhaa nahi, usne kahaa kismat teri…’ Continue reading “Old Hindi songs and the subtle Punjabi touch”

The Vaisakhi Abroad

April 13 – The Vaisakhi Day! The Baisakhi Day! Call what you like! 🙂
The Vaisakhi is one of the most popular festivals of North India.

For centuries, Vaisakhi has marked the time when farmers get ready to put their sickles to the harvest and celebrate a new year. Those old sickles have been replaced by the modern automated machinery; the farmers have outsourced the labor to the migrant workers but the Vaisakhi festival continued to be celebrated with same vigor, with same fanfare.

The festival bears even greater significance for the Sikhs – the Sikh Religion foundation was laid on this day in 1699.

The Vaisakhi festival is equally popular among the Punjabi communities abroad. Throughout the world wherever Punjabi’s are settled, the festival is a key part of their social and religious customs. Desi communities all over the world have their own ways of honoring this tradition of Vaisakhi Mela. Continue reading “The Vaisakhi Abroad”

“Thank you, Paji!” – Canada to Punjabis

Canada owes its prosperity to Punjabi settlers: Prime Minister Harper

Following the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper took a trip to Punjab and visited Amritsar to pay his obeisance at the Golden Temple – the Sikh holy shrine.

Pointing out the contributions from Punjabi immigrants in Canada, the Prime Minister admitted that his country owes its prosperity to the perseverance and work ethics of more than a million Punjabi.
“1.2 million Punjabis out of which more than eight lakh are from Indian Punjab are settled in Canada and making significant contribution to strengthening the Canadian economy,” Harper said.

Recognizing the Punjabi settlers as partners in the Canadian progress, the Premier said that Punjabis have been contributing to the country’s development through their hard work and grit for more than a century.

The Canadian government is fully committed to preserve and promote the Punjabi culture and the Punjabi language in Canada, he added.

Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary are three main cities of Canada with large population of Indians, majority of them of Punjabi origin. Continue reading ““Thank you, Paji!” – Canada to Punjabis”

California legislature passes the kirpan Bill for Sikhs!

California state legislature passes the ‘Kirpan bill’ to support Sikhs dress code

Most of us -from India or those of Indian origin- need no introduction to ‘kirpan’. It is a small blade that resembles a sword in shape, and is carried in a shoulder strap by many Sikhs. It is one of the Sikh articles of faith, or a religious symbol that Sikhs wear after baptism. Over the years, many Sikhs have been questioned and arrested overseas for carrying a kirpan. The police, for example in USA, can compare the kirpan to carrying a concealed weapon if they don’t know the Sikh tradition.

In an effort to recognize the Sikh dress-code, the Californian state legislature unanimously passed a bill to train law enforcement personnel about Sikhs and the religious significance of ‘kirpans’.

Summary and the excerpts from the bill:

SUMMARY:Requires the Commission on Peace Office Standards and Training (CPOST) to create and make available to all law enforcement agencies a training component on how to recognize and interact with a person carrying a “kirpan”.

Excerpts from the Bill:

“Sikh Americans form a vibrant, peaceful, and law-abiding part of the United States community. California was one of the first places that Sikhs settled in this country over 100 years ago. Today, California is home to a large number of the Nation’s 500,000 Sikhs….” Continue reading “California legislature passes the kirpan Bill for Sikhs!”