The famous ghazal “चाँदी जैसा रंग है तेरा सोने जैसे बाल..” was written & sung long back, 1988 to be precise. Back then, the liberal principles were in their formative years, yet to even begin their journey of evolution and it is not fair to expect anyone, in those times, to have done a fair and rational review of this composition. As usual, the burden of carrying the can of liberty in this yet uncivilized world falls on us, the few enlightened souls, and we must bear this weight with equanimity.
So here is the review of this composition, stanza by stanza.
चाँदी जैसा रंग है तेरा सोने जैसे बाल, एक तूही धनवान है गोरी बाकी सब कंगाल. (With a skin that is fair, hairs that shine, you are the only bountiful one, rest are the paupers.)
Ah! Horrible but expected! The natives, not yet liberated by the progressive languages like English, still have a fetish for white skin and the author strengthens it, discriminating on the basis of color of skin and shimmering hair, reinforcing these racist tendencies. He is saying that those having these two traits are better people. Probably, it may also be construed as a pathetic attempt to re-emphasize Aryans supremacy over the Dravidians. One must feel pity for these people.
जिस रस्ते से तू गुज़रे वो फूलों से भर जाये, तेरे पैर की कोमल आहट सोते भाग जगाये, जो पत्थर छू ले गोरी तू वो हीरा बन जाये (The path you walk becomes a flower bed, your arrival wakes up destiny, stone turns diamond by your touch.)
Aargh! A botanical impossibility but projected as onset of Achchhe Din, reinforced by unrealized promises. Spicing it up with superstition and then garnishing it with propagation of age old personality cult. This innocuous stanza launches umpteen atrocities on the sensibilities of liberalism and rationalism.
Is the resemblance with current scene of huge expectations built on specific personality, coincidental? Or it was conspired to be so?
तू जिसको मिल जाए वो, हो जाये मालामाल, एक तूही धनवान है गोरी, बाकी सब कंगाल. (One who possesses you is the wealthiest one, because you are the only bountiful one, rest are the paupers.)
Ha! The misogynist character of the composer raises its ugly head again. The women are considered property; movable, gift-able assets that can be given by one man to another, making the latter richer.
And the patronizing tone deployed to describe the riches the women possesses. Does it not point to the perpetual intent to dispossess women of what should rightfully be hers?
जो बे–रंग हो उस पर क्या क्या रंग जमाते लोग,तू नादान ना जाने कैसे रूप चुराते लोग, नज़रें भर भर देखें तुझको आते जाते लोग (The pure are always the target of muck, you don’t know what people steal when they ogle at you.)
Ah! The generalization of innocent man on the street having bad eyes for the lady in question almost sounds like the conspiracy theories that float around on social media. Remember the perpetual fear that the whole world, all opposition parties, Indian media, foreign media, NGOs and sometimes even the nature conspiring against some. Most bigots have this tendency to view the world with their tinted vision and to project rest of the world as enemy.
Let’s be charitable and ignore it. Bad habit but charity has to begin somewhere.
छैल छबीली रानी थोडा घूँघट और निकाल, एक तूही धनवान है गोरी बाकी सब कंगाल (O, smug princess, use a bigger veil because you are the only bountiful one, rest are the paupers.)
Eureka! Here it is. The patriarchal, khap-ist traits finally emerge thru the melodious, musical facade built by the author. He wants women to stay behind the veil as they have done for millennium while he continues suppressing them, subjugating them, keeping them confined to the real and virtual walls of the cave, home and hearth.
MCPs would always be MCPs.
धनक घटा कलियाँ और तारे सब हैं तेरा रूप, गजलें हों या गीत हों मेरे सब में तेरा रूप, यूँही चमकती रहे हमेशा तेरे हुस्न की धूंप (Rains, flowers & stars, all are your manifestations, your beauty resonates thru ghazals and songs, may your radiating beauty remain till eternity.)
And the shallow praise, false promises of the moon and the stars, the deniable hint of eternal radiating beauty are the usual weapons deployed by males. No exception here.
तुझे नज़र ना लगे किसी की, जिये हज़ारों साल, एक तूही धनवान है गोरी बाकी सब कंगाल (May no evil cast its eye on you for thousand years because you are the only bountiful one, rest are the paupers.
And the superstitious, evil eye makes a comeback once again!
The composition stays silent on misogynist, chauvinist, oppressor male who would like nothing better to keep women trapped in the vortex of superstition, insurmountable barriers of veil, dread of the molesters on the street, enamored with the facetious physical attributes like skin color, waiting for that promised moon and stars while he enjoys the fruits of the world.
The composition would have been banned, the composer jailed, had there been progressive laws and liberals to pursue them, back then.
PS: The translation was done by an Indian author, who is a fresh recruit to the liberal club, who, despite being a male is not sexually frustrated. Any errors are attributable to him.