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Des mera rangrez

January 30, 2012

Meaning and Context:

I recently heard this song and thought it would be quite apt for the blog. Composed by the band Indian Ocean originally for their album Jhini, the song was recently used in Shyam Benegal’s Peepli Live. The lyrics were slightly reworked keeping in mind the theme of the movie, but the overall sound and feel of the song remains the same.

The song satirizes the public system of India. The opening lines are traditional- des mera rangrez ye babu, ghaat ghaat yahaan ghatta jaadu. India is the land of colours. Come here and it shall colour your soul too. The song goes on to remark how petty issues become big in India, how seemingly insignificant matters are politicized by the rang rangeela parja tantar– the multi-party democratic system, where each political party flies a different coloured flag, talks about their own agendas, ignoring real issues of national importance.

How the common man feels between all this chaos? Like gira gagan se khajoor mein dhela– fell from the sky, stuck on a date palm, dangling somewhere in between, praying for dear life. Helpless, he gives up on his dreams. He may even have to struggle very hard to sustain life. Even salt- a basic necessity of life- might become out of reach. Now he must not even let his tears go waste, for even tears have salt… Aansu bhi namkeen hai pyaare, jo tapke so chakhna

The song paints a very dark picture, but it is also the real picture. The parity between the high earners and low earners is outrageously wide, which leaves the lower segments of economy outside the circle of development. The fruits of progress never reach the last rung of people. They are the ones who remain indebted their entire life, they remain under nourished and uneducated, and they are the ones who eventually commit suicide.

The song is a call to bring focus back to real issues. Lets not blindly ignore what doesn’t effect us. If we are to progress as a nation, we must do so together. We cannot forget the ones who are below us, who need our hand to rise. If we are to become a truly great nation, we must start opening our eyes to these real issues.

Link to the song:

Lyrics to the song:

Des mera rangrez ye baabu
Ghaat ghaat yahan ghatta jaadu

Raai Pahad hai kankar shankar
Baat hai chhoti bada batangad
Arre India sir yeh cheez durandar
Rang rangeela parja tantar

Saat rang satranga mela
Bas ranga sa bada jhamela
Gira gagan se khajoor mein dhela
Sukh dukh pakdam pakdi khela

Haye ek rang duniyo ka niraala
Ek rang agyaani
Rang rang mein hod lagi hai
Rang rangi manmaani

Sookhe naina rookhi akhiyan
Dhundla dhundla sapna
Aansu bhi namkeen hai pyaare
Jo tapke so chakhna

Line by line translation:

My land is like a riot of colours, good sir
With magic happening at every river bank

Every molehill a mountain, every rock Lord Shankar
And every small issue is a big contention
India is the greatest, sir
Colourful is its democracy

It is a seven coloured fair
A big colourful chaos
Fall from the sky, stuck on a date palm
Joy and sorrow a game of catch and win

One colour like no other in the world
One foolish colour
A contest of colours
Colourful willfulness

Dry eyes, rough eyes
The dream is fading
Even the tears are sour
Taste them as they fall


From → Lok Geet

One Comment
  1. Ayana Chatterjee permalink

    Very nicely explained.

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