A look back at our Constitution: Shyam Benegal’s ‘Samvidhaan’

The Indian Constitution is the largest written constitutional document in the world. It took two and half years to frame it completely. Having born way after Independence,  the Youth of this country can only imagine what could have happened during the meetings of the Constituent Assembly or read in the history books about it.

I was watching the History TV 18 Channel on TV and wondered why couldn’t we in India make some show which enlightens the youth about the rich heritage and struggles for freedom of this nation, which seems to have thrown in the dustbin, as India grows younger.

Then one day while watching the Speech of our PM (then PM designate) Sh. Narendra Modiji on Rajya Sabha TV , I watched the 2nd episode of the mini TV series by Shyam Benegal on India’s Constitution, titled as ‘Samvidhaan’ which is the Hindi translation of the word ‘Constitution’.

The TV series features the series of events which took place during the formulation and enactment of the Constitution of the largest democracy of the world.

The script has been written brilliantly taking care of the use of words by the people in the coveted assembly according to their region of origin.

Shyam Benegal’s experience and artistry is reflected in the way he has chosen and directed actors for their respective roles. You would sometime feel that you were watching a documentary and not a mere enactment. For example, Rajendra Gupta as President Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Dilip Tahlani as Pt. Nehru, Paresh Ganatra as K. T . Shah,Ila Arun as Hansa Mehta, and others look perfect in their respective roles, be it their make up, dialogue delivery or accent.

Cast and crew of Samvidhaan

Swara Bhaskar’s anchoring adds to the attractiveness of this story styled narrative of the making of the constitution of India. The article by article discussion, the politics of the country at that time, the social and communal issues which were raised during the discussion, the separation of Pakistan and Gandhi-Jinnah relations have been portrayed beautifully. Although some might argue about the story line but Benegal and his team has taken care of each and every short story they encapsulated in the series. All the dialogues have been created from recorded facts and speeches and accounts from the biographies of various leaders.

The first show aired on 2nd March 2014, Sunday when the nation was hearing the opening bell of the 2014 general elections and in these extravagant elections this fantastic piece of creation went unnoticed.

President of India felicitated the actors in a ceremony on 20th February which was coincidentally the penultimate day of the 15th Lok Sabha.

The series couldn’t be shot in the Central Hall of Parliament as it would have to be re shaped, so a replica of the Central Hall (as it would have looked in that era) was created in the Film Studio at Mumbai and the series was shot there.

I urge people from all walks of life to watch this TV series at least once and I am sure you would be proud of our Constitution and its rich history.

These episodes are now available on RajyaSabha TV’s YouTube channel.

Here are all the 10 episodes of the series.

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BJP’s MODIfied Obama styled campaign.

BJP's MODIfied Obama styled campaign.

The BJP’s landslide victory in the recent General Elections have been the fruit of the tireless efforts of the party’s PM nominee, Shri Narendra Modi.
But somehow, you can’t overlook the similarities in Obama and Modi’s campaigns.
Obama is a very good orator, highly energetic and accepted by the public as the symbol of ‘change’. Same goes with Narendra Modiji.
Modiji was nominated as party’s PM candidate to suit the style of campaign which originally President Obama had adopted in 2008.
Obama promised change for the American people after USA was struggling with economic crisis. So did NaMo in 2014.
His (Obama) addressed to the people in a very direct manner and so did NaMo.
Namo talks of the pride of the nation and the pride of the Armed forces by targeting Pakistan’s activities on the border. Obama lured the army men by assuring the return of US forces from Iraq and Afghanistan.
After the win, both the leader thanked the public for their support and gave speech on how they are going to ‘revive’ the nation.
Both leaders were proactive on social media, making direct contact to youth and spreading their word through the internet.
There are many more similarities including Obama’s famous slogan ‘Yes We can!’, but the credit goes to NaMo for the aggressive campaigning.

Love thy Neighbour!

I was sitting in despair with no topic to write. The two halves of this knavish mind debating with each other. All thanks to Mr. Zardari and Pakistan media that they gave me a topic to write.

These words ‘Love thy Neighbour’ find the origin in Bible. But its relevance seem to have a positive streak in the 21st century A.D.

Neighbours? or foes? or friends?

Since the partition of land, the relations between the separated siblings have never been such that we can call them ‘friends’. This is, perhaps, why one of our Prime Ministers had to say – “We can choose our friends but not our neighbours”.

The Indo-Pak relations have been quite similar to a sine wave with a variations in  frequency.

A light of peace and friendly gesture by the two countries made the lower border of the  TV screen flash in red with the hit media words “BREAKING NEWS”.

This has now become a regular phenomenon,the concept of breaking news, on each and every channel on Television nowadays.

Well today’s breaking was Sarabjit’s mercy pardon granted by the  Pakistan President(which was later denied). But the Media which is always ahead of time(sometimes ahead in other universe) was saying that Sarabjit will be released soon. Sarabjit was convicted in bomb blast cases in Pakistan and sentenced to death in 1991. He has been awaiting for his death sentence to be converted to a life sentence, for 22 years and will have to wait more.

Sarabjit Singh

Dr. Khaleel Chisti had been released from Ajmer in the light of Human Rights. The Pakistani counterparts gave a light of hope for Sarabjit’s family who have been struggling for freedom of Sarabjit. Pakistan Human Rights Activist Ansar barni, Sarabjit’s Lawyer, Foreign Minister S.M.Krishna, Media(of both nations) had welcomed the release of Sarabjit. But as is the case with Pakistan’s behaviour, you can not believe on anything what is a mere speculation or expectations, you have to see if that thing actually happens!

As I had started writing this post in the night, there was another Breaking News! Pakistan denied on the fact that Sarabjit’s Mercy petitionwas signed by the President. Instead, it was a person called Surjeet Singh who has been in Pakistan’s Kotlakhpat Jail for 30 years. The hyped Pakistan Media had been spreading only rumours, or in case was it to overshadow the news that the control room of 26/11 attack was located in Karachi as told by the latest conviction in the case, Abu Jindal aka Abu Hamza.

This is the responsibility of the media to inform the people, who are watching or reading them, the correct piece of news.  Unfortunately Media is heading towards rumours and speculate them to create News out of it, which confuses the people.

India and Pakistan share a long border which is threatened constantly by trespassers and terrorist groups. Being neighbours our diplomats have to figure out a way to keep peace between the two hostile nations. The release of Dr. Chisti was a humanitarian gesture, expecting a similar thing from Pakistan. Pakistan did something similar but the Media who wanted to suppress the news which confirmed the use of the Pakistan’s Land for cross border terrorism in India made it a totally different stories by highlighting the sentiments of the common people who wants to think beyond borders.

This is a hidden sabotage between the two nations forcing each other to take decisions which would create hopes in the people and then get them thrashed !

However, it is a good thing that Surjeet singh is going to be released soon and a positive thing from Pakistan’s side. Hopeful that Sarabjit and other innocent people who have been forced to live in jail will be freed soon. Ultimately neither India or Pakistan would win but it will be humanity which is triumphant.

P.S. This is a sensitive issue. Readers are advised to act sensibly and not create controversy out of it.

Shayari, Siyasat aur Munawwar Rana (Poetry, Politics and Munawwar Rana)

Sorry got a bit late in writing this post.

It’s never too late though. I was fortunate to see today’s Episode of Hum Log on NDTV India, hosted by Shri Ravish Kumar.

Since Ravish Kumar has started hosting the show ,it has seen a paradigm shift. Though the motive of the show remains intact. To create awareness among people.

Today’s show saw one of the greatest contemporary Urdu poets the country (or rather the world) has ever seen. i didn’t know a word abut this great Shayar before I read Ravishji’s tweet on the show. Searched the Internet and found out something about Munawwar Rana.

Shayar Munawwar Rana

Rana is credited with writing Ghazals on Mother. Ghazals are often written for lover (“Mehboob” in Urdu) but according to Mr. Rana and I quote “Agar Tulsi ke mehboob Ram ho sakte hain, to meri Maa meri Mehboob kyu nahi  ho sakti” . he expresses his feelings and love for Mother. In fact, most of the shayaris we read on Facebook or in SMS on Maa are the creations of Munawwar Rana.

Another great line he said was” We people in India worship cow as our mother, but its unfortunate that the level of the society is so degraded that now we treat our mother as a cow.”

Apart from his poetries on mother, he is also known for writing Ghazals on the politics and on the country.

On the show he recalled an incident on his tour to Pakistan. He told the audience about how Pakistani Muslim think of communalism in India ans he told them ” Hum 75 crore Hinduon ki Nigrani mein rehte hai bhala hame kya ho sakta hai”. This statement was a heart touching one and I could not stop clapping, no wonders my Mother thought I had gone mad.

On the show he also propagated the thought that Ghazal/Sher is not bound to language, community or country. ghazals are written in pure Hindi language also but are called as Urdu Ghazals. I cannot recall the words but it had no Urdu word in it, it was Hindi.

His implication of Ghazals is far ahead of communalism. He read a poetry by a Shayara(fem. of Shayar) who uses the word ‘Ghanshyam'(Another name of Lord Krishna) in her shayari.

There were many things on the show which unfortunately I missed (Taarak Mehta‘s Special Episode was on air at the same time), but it was a learning experience.

Thanks to Ravishji and NDTV for getting in some great ‘Unsung heroes’ and pioneers of Art on the show.

Famous TV anchor and reporter Ravish Kumar.

Some intimidating lines by Munawwar Rana on the show:

1 . meri khwaahish hai ki main phir se farishta ho jaun

maaN se is tarah liptun ki bachcha ho jaun

2.Is tarah mere gunaahon ko wo dho deti hai,

maa bahut gusse mein hoti hai to ro deti hai

3.aye andhere dekh le munh tera kaala ho gaya,

maa ne aankhein khol di ghar mein ujaala ho gaya.

4.Maine bulandiyon ke har nishaan ko chuaa…

Jab maa ne god mein uthaya to aasman ko chuaa!(Pesh-e- Nazar Ravishji)

5.kisii ko ghar milaa hisse meN yaa koii dukaaN aaii

maiN ghar meN sabse chhoTaa thaa mere hisse meN maa’n aaii

These are few drops from the ocean. Just the tip of the iceberg. The audience in show consisted of youth in majority and the kind of response to Mr.Rana shows that the existence of Shayari and Ghazal is not endangered.

The link to the video uploaded on youtube is here.