Monday, June 20, 2011

Bhaag DK Bose, and Grow Up On the Way

First of all, Delhi Belly spokespersons who are going around saying that DK Bose is 'just another name;, lose the charade, please. Do not insult our intelligence by pleading innocence. At least have the courage to accept that you did it on purpose. If it was just another name, why not you choose Ananthanarayan Ramaswamy or Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas? That would have been more fun now, wouldn't it?

There's been a whole lot of hullabaloo over the raunchy, in-your-face lyrics in the above mentioned song (and some others, particularly the one where the beautiful Deepika manages to look like a character from Evil Dead). Frankly, if you don't like the lyrics, just don't listen to it. Lots of people are bothered by the fact that there will be 6-year-old kids who will go around singing this song (I'll be a treat to watch the expression of horror on the parents' faces though). Then again, kids see a lot of material on television which, when we were kids, was considered taboo. And if the kids want to sing it, let them. It's not like they know the intended meaning is it? Anyway, kids have been singing songs that are much more offensive than just an expletive. Don't believe me? 

We all fall down. And never get up.
Go back to your innocent childhood and try to remember some of the nursery rhymes you were taught. Ring a ring o'roses? Brings a smile on your face? Can you see your little self whooping with joy, holding someone's hand (possibly a girl, let's make it even better) while going around in circles? You've been singing about the Great Plague. The Great Plague in 1665 threatened to wipe out half of Europe (the next one was called Hitler) and this song is a reference to the plague and its symptoms. You know what the 'ring of ros(i)es' are? They are the red rashes that used to appear on the body of the victims. Posies were herbs used to ward off the smell of the disease (they didn't have super qualified doctors or Munnabhai in those days). Nor was there Ashok Kumar. The husha husha (or whatever sound effects that our teachers taught us) are sounds of the final coughing and sneezing. You can guess what the 'all fall down' means.

Aww, how cute. Now burn!

Wait, there's more. Remember Three Blind Mice? That's a poem about the killing of three Protestant bishops by Queen Mary I of England (whose hobby was torturing and murdering people). She also burnt 300 other people because they didn't conform to her religious beliefs. Three of them ended up in a children's poem. She is also referred to in Mary, Mary Quite Contrary. Do read up on her. She seems to be quite a character. 

Jack and Jill Went Up the Hill is another one. That's a song about the execution of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette - the fools who ruled France in the 18th century, and were completely oblivious to the poverty around them. "Jack fell down and broke his crown" refers to the um, losing of the head and Jill, well, came next. 

(Side note: After people were beheaded, the head was held up in front of its former body, apart from showing it to the crowd. The head apparently has consciousness for 7 seconds and then dies. Imagine seeing your own body wriggling in front of you. That is perhaps the cruelest thing I have ever heard or read in my life.)

Baa baa black sheep needn't even be analysed. The lyrics have Gunda-like subtle references to slavery (Baa baa 'black' sheep, one for my master is a dead give away). Maybe I sound like a conspiracy theorist but you have to put into consideration, the time during which these rhymes came around. Writing always reflects the time it is written in, so it isn't really that hard to put into perspective. Also conspiracy theories make the mundane more interesting. 

Have I ruined most of your childhood for you? Wait for more. London bridge is falling down is perhaps one of the sweetest tunes that my muddled memory can recall. History suggests that it's about the burning bridge of London after the Vikings set fire to it. There is also another, more morbid angle. Apparently there was a superstition that a structure wouldn't last until a human sacrifice was made and used in the construction material. London Bridge seems to have children underneath it, but there is no evidence as such. Humpty Dumpty is supposed to be a cannon that was used to destroy castles. But it somehow collapsed from its support and was too heavy to be lifted by 'all the king's men'. What the horses were doing there, I have no idea.

So we have been happily singing and dancing away to murder, pillage, burning and we're worried about a song? If you're thinking, "Hey, I didn't even know this, so it doesn't count", think again. Remember 'Aand paand teri maa ki ****d? Remember what came after? Ram doot, teri MKC? We were committing religious blasphemy at the age of 11. And we happily laughed at it. Hell, it can still coax out a little laughter. What about Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai? Had it been released today, I'm sure some sangh or dal would have filed a PIL barring the film's release since it hurt someone's sensibilities. And I'm not only talking about a song. I'm talking about general loss of our sense of humour.

Who is anyone to decide whose sensibilities anything hurts? And if it offends you, don't watch it. Don't listen to it, ignore it. So what's with all this outrage suddenly? Why is it that when we grow up, we lose all our sense of humour? Isn't growing up supposed to mean that you become more mature? Ironic isn't it, that we cussed religion and tossed it around like a football when we were children (and supposedly immature). Now that we're all 'big' in every sense of the word, we blow our top every time someone makes fun of us, or doesn't conform to what we think is right. So grow up.

If I'm getting a bit too preachy, sorry. There have been far too many cases of people losing their temper over the silliest of things, and it just plain irritates me. It hurts my sensibilities if you will! This outrage has to be relevant. I don't want it to stop, because that's your right (and it also provides entertainment). So good people, take up cudgels, not against the lyrics of this song, but against the mind-numbing repetitiveness with which it's being played across the country - like a woodpecker's rap on the brain, chipping away a small piece every time it hits. 

Image courtesy: www.nursery-rhymes.info and Wikipedia.

13 comments:

Nikita Banerjee said...

Interesting post! :P

Agent Orange said...

I can't decide what adjectives to use to describe the research.

Well done Paps.

Scribby said...

hmm fodder for thought !

nik said...

What you said about the hypocrisy and intolerance, i fully agree with you..

but as far as the rhymes are concerned, the main reason to include the falls and tumbles and the sorts in nursery rhymes was not to take focus towards prevalent social issues. these gestures are the only things that toddlers can relate to easily..

these toddlers have only recently learnt to speak articulately, and in their worlds, objects rising and falling or bumping into each other; or something hot or cold, and maybe fire and water are as exciting as things can possibly get for them..

when you say that humpty-dumpty had a fall, or we all fall in ring a ring o' roses, its not about the incidents but about the gestures of falling, or touching hot objects(london bridge, hot cross buns anyone?). the kids this age have only recently started running around, can touch objects hot and cold, will fall around often, and hence can relate to these things thus finding it interesing.

sorry if i have veered off your main issue here, but what i would like to say is that the rhymes were intended to merely relate with the simple actions that stimulated their predominant sensory receptions at that age..

atleast, thats the way i look at it..

Purnima said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Purnima said...

Nice post!

I somewhat disagree with Nik's comment here. I think they are very harsh way of telling the kids what to do and what not. But the subtlety comes in the rhymes because no one explains the actual meaning to the kids. So I dont know how the learning happens.. The same goies for the DK Bose song.. .

Few months back, when we were listening to my nephew's nursery rhyme cd, we were discussing about the same thing mentioned in this blogpost...

And this particular nursery rhyme grabbed our attention: http://onyourmarks.free.fr/tenlittleniggers.html

This rhyme doesn't merely relate to simple actions :)

nikhil said...

good one.. extensive research i must say..

Red Handed said...

Captivating!!
Very unique topic!

SSN said...

Good research. Interesting post! Keep writing...

srini said...

that's quite some revelation man... Will give a "A" Certificate to the post (and the poems if they ask me to) !!!

Grace Personified said...

Had been meaning to read this post for so long! Finally.This was also talked about at the mini K wing meet here, rather praised is the word I should be using :)

sucheta said...

Nice post..

Neeraj said...

'Aand paand teri maa ki ****d? Remember what came after? Ram doot, teri MKC' What the hell?