One song, four stories. Thats Rabbi Shergill's new song "Jinhe Naaz hai" for you. Saw this song in TV last week and I was immediately hooked. Yesterday, got a forward containing the song along with the lyrics. It tells the stories of four Indians who were subject to gross injustice. These were four cases which created a lot of controversies during the time they came out.
The song starts with story of Bilqis Yakoob Rasool. During the Gujarat riots, this 19 year old girl's family of 14 was murdered, which included her little daughter also. If this wasn't enough she was gangraped. After such a gruesome torture, she didn't just resign to her fate and suicide. She decided to fight them in court and that paid off recently when some of the culprits including a policeman were convicted and given a double life sentence. Still, it won't be consolation enough for the trauma she underwent.
Next is the story of Satyendra Dubey who was project director of the National Highway Authority of India. His death at the hands of the corruption kings in Bihar shows the ugly side of Indian beaurocracy. This IIT Kanpur product was the first man from his village to study at an IIT. From the start of his career itself, he was known to fight corruption. He was appointed as the assistant project manager for a part of the Golden quadrilateral project. He fired corrupt engineers and once even ordered to rebuild a part of under-quality road. This incident alone shows how commited he was to the development of the country. Seeing the widespread corruption in the upper echelons of the organization, he shot a letter directly to the PM of India. The only thing that happened as a result of this was that he was transferred to Gaya in Bihar, where he was eventually shot dead. The murder was made to look as an attempted robbery in court. The devious minds that worked behind this crime are still sitting comfortably in their couch.
The story of Shanmughan Manjunath, which comes next in the song is similar to this. He was an IIM Lucknow graduate. The marketing manager for IOC lost his life to the fight against selling of adulterated fuel in petrol pumps. He ordered two petrol pumps in Lakhimpur Kheri, Lucknow to close down for selling adulterated fuel. When, after a brief period, the pumps started to run again, he conducted raids to these places. And on one such raid, he was shot dead by the petrol pump owner and his accomplices. Contrary to usual practice, this case saw swift action as all the accused were sentenced within 16 months of the crime. Instances like this are which keeps the little that we have in the justice system of this country, alive.
The last story which the song tells is that Of Ms.Navleen Kumar. This social activist worked for the land rights of tribals in Nallasopara, near Mumbai. The builders and land mafia of that area had amassed all the land from the tribals and been doing construction activities. Navleen fought against this and pursued cases against the local mafia. She came into social activism after she her husband was murdered by the land mafia. She was threatened with dire consequences if she continued her fight, once even at gunpoint. Still, she never bowed her head to them. But, One fine morning, on June 19 2002, she was stabbed to death on the terrace of her house. I don't know anything about the progress of this case. Hope it was not swept under the carpet like her husband's.
So, that is Rabbi's song 'Jinhe Naaz Hai' for you. The song is not about the lyrics alone. The strains of 'Jana Gana Mana' played on guitar that comes in between the song is sure to give you goosebumps. From 'Bulla ki Jaana' to this song, Rabbi has grown from a normal musician to the level of a musical activist. The two lines that repeat after every story - "Jinhe naaz hai hind par vo kahan theJinhe naaz hai vo kahan hain"[Where were those who are proud of IndiaWhere are those who are proud]-is a call to each one of us. Its not often that you get to see such lyrics in Indian music. Each of the four individuals mentioned in this song tried to make a difference to the soceity. And they laid down their life for a cause. Its good that we are remembering them atleast through this song. Thanks to Rabbi.
PS-Going home today. So advanced Independence day wishes to all.