Monday, August 6, 2007

Nutshell Identity

I came across this jingle (well...more like a song) recently while watching a television channel. Inspite of being a Marathi, I hardly have an inclination to watch Marathi channels; so the other day, it was almost like a rare rendezvous with a Marathi channel on television.

No sooner did I tune in to that channel, than the 'Title Song' of the channel started. The channel was 'Mee Marathi' and to my knowledge, has recently begun its telecasts. Now it so happened that many of my friends had happened to mention it to me that this jingle (call it whatever you want) was a very popular one. So just out of curiosity I spared the remote control of another channel switch, and decided to have a look at the entire jingle.

Though I don't remember the exact sequence or the flow of the jingle, I remember that after I watched the entire jingle, I quitely smiled. The jingle depicts the glorious history and culture of Maharashtra, no doubt; but at the same time it doesn't depict anything else!! I mean its okay that you start the jingle with Maratha warriors brandishing swords and the Saffron flag, a part of the history every Marathi soul is proud of. Then the jingle continues into the cultural aspects of Maharashtra, the culture which we have proudly inherited. Even that is appreciated. Then the jingle again revolves around the Maratha warriors; occasionally with bursts of a musical slogan: "Mee Marathi"...meaning, "I am a Marathi (son of the Marathi soil)". The slogan has a effect of reiterating the Marathi identity. Another thing that struck me in this jingle is the body language and the bravado depicted. I feels its uncalled for.

For the time being I assume that I am a third person, hardly knowing Maharashtra and Marathi people. I will surely feel that the identity of a typical Maharashtrian revolves around his pride for the Maratha kingdom and the culture. Thats it! What other impression do I get of Maharashtra from this? Sadly, nothing more! Now if you are a Maharashtrian reading this blog, maybe you would get an impression of me being churlish, but please don't forget I am just referring to that jingle only.

Right from my school days, I have been watching these song videos on TV depicting National Unity and Integration. Surely, culture and history have a major role to play, but they are not all encompassing. These videos used to show the progress India has made in multifarious domains; sports, literature, science, medicine, space, academics, theatre, music, etc., and featured eminent personalities in these fields, and as a whole gave a fair view as to what India's identity is to any foreigner. Had it been the dominant parameters of history and culture, those videos would have only featured the historical rulers and kings of India and the rich and varied diverse cultures. Analogous to this national progress, it goes without saying that every region or state also has its own footprint on sands of progress and rediscovered identity. And that very depiction is amiss in the jingle that I have described. Maharashtra has produced such eminent personalities in almost every field that it makes any Marathi beam with pride. People like Dhondo Keshav Karve, Jyotiba Phule, Dr. Jayant Narlikar, V. Shantaram, Lata Mangeshkar, Sachin Tendulkar and numerous others carry on their shoulders the modern identity of Maharashtra.

The bottomline of my displeasure with this jingle is that it depicts a serious miniaturization of the Marathi identity. In todays' time, we have come out of that nutshell and made our mark in almost every field. So does it convey the identity it is meant to convey- "Mee Marathi"?


bhnbr said...

The jingle and the message that it wishes to convey is not for the third person.On its own you cant deny that is does evoke pride about marathi culture in a marathi person. And i would like to believe that it is specifically aimed at a marathi person. because at times ,while adapting and absorbing the diverse culture around you, you do need to have a "booster dose" of your own culture. Otherwise you would become identityless. And eventually your own culture would take a backseat and maybe even ...fade off. The jingle does a good job in this aspect.

Of course its a different matter that tthe channel is using the jingle to attract marathi coommunity towards itself and I would'nt describe that as a proper use of the jingle.. But then again I'm speaking about the jingle only...

mihirtronics said...

Thank you bhnbr for your comment..
It does instill pride and revives the marathi identity, no doubt...
But.... my point of concern is that why should marathi identity be in such a limited form? In today's world, do we still need to identify solely with the age-old identity of the marathi manus?

ankit said...

n they say india is a secular state ... lol .

mihirtronics said...

hey ankit,
There's no point raised regarding secularism here... pls don't mistake it. Secularism is a different issue. I am talking about identity!!