Friday, April 11, 2014

Bengali - Sweetest of the sweet language

Those who have stayed in Bengal, AND, also learnt Bengali in its pure form, would completely agree with me when I say that Bengali is the sweetest language. It is not a disrespect to other languages. All languages have their own charm - else how would have we relished the writings of Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Mirza Ghalib, Munshi Premchand, William Sakespeare and so many others who have created magic with their own languages. But read Rabindranath Tagore, listen to Hemant Kumar or Manna Dey, watch Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen, and you would know why I consider Bengali as the sweetest language. I am lucky, that despite belonging to a hard-core North Indian family, I grew up in a small town in Bengal, where I had the priviledge to witness Bengal and Bengali in their unadulterated form. I used to hang around with Bengali friends, enjoy watching Bengali movies, relish the writing of Tagore, Nazrul Islam, Michael Madhusudan, and above all, loved talking in Bengali. I was as Bengali at heart as the Benaglis. What distinguishes Bengali from other languages, is that it contains the grace and poetic effulgence of Urdu, yet it also has the earthiness of classical Hindi. It is flowery, but one can still connect to it as his own.

There is a beautiful bhajan in Bengali which I was looking for a long time. Luckily, found it today. The lyrics are very simple,  but written with a  graceful rustic flavour (which is famous as Baul sangeet). The song encapsulates how Lord Krishna was called by different names by different devotees - Balaram called him Krishna, the cow-herds called him Rakhal, Yashoda maa called him Yadulal, Vashista called him Manohar and so on. This way, the Lord, who is One for all, got 108 different names, depending on how the devotee treated Him - a friend, a son, a Beloved, or a Guru. The mellifluous voice in this bhajan is of Sandhya Mukhhopadhaya, and the combination of the words and the singer weaves magic. I had tears in my eyes when I heard it.I am sure you would love it too. I am also posting the lyrics for you to read and understand better.

Hare krishna naam dilo priyo bolaram
Rakhal raja naam rakhe bhokto Shri dhaam,
Joshoda jononi bole jadu bacha dhor..
Aosto taro shotto naam pelo narayon..||

Deb jadugor naame dake Judhistir
Dorpohari naam rakhe Arjun shubir
Brojo banshi bole tume brojer jibon
Aosto taro shotto naam pelo narayon..||

Nonder nondololon raakhilo shri Nondo
Brinda duti Dilo naam Brinda bono Chondro
Doyanidhi naam raakhe Aotur shujoon
Aosto taro shotto naam pelo narayon..||

Moni monohor naame Boshishto je daake
Shongshaarero Shaar naam Bishamitro raakhe
Nonichora naam rakhe Gopobalagar
Aosto taro shotto naam pelo narayon...||