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Atul’s Song A Day- A choice collection of Hindi Film & Non-Film Songs

Watan ki aabroo khatre mein hai

Posted on: August 15, 2018


This article is written by Raja, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a contributor to this blog.This article is meant to be posted in atulsongaday.me. If this article appears in sites like lyricstrans.com and ibollywoodsongs.com etc then it is piracy of the copyright content of atulsongaday.me and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

Blog Day : 3680 Post No. : 14574

The 15th of August, is a special date in the calendar for India.

Every year, there are events across the country celebrating the day. There is flag-hoisting in schools, offices and public places. There are patriotic songs played on radio. There’s a lot more to mark the date and occasion.

All of this is understandable. After all, it was on the 15th of August that many years ago, India became an independent nation, free from British rule.

Today is the 72nd Independence Day for India. I still remember the Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1972 – I was part of my school March Past event. How time flies!

But there is more to this date than just celebration. It is an occasion that at least some of us use to reflect. On India’s journey as an independent nation so far. We take stock of where we are, and where we’d like to see us go from here.

I am sure there must be many articles written on this subject in various media publications this week. On our part, our Avinashji has sent me the lyrics for today’s song and requested me to share my thoughts on this occasion. I am therefore taking the liberty of doing so.

Whenever I think of 15th August, the first thing that comes to my mind is our Freedom Struggle and our Founding Fathers. Today we take our freedom for granted – it is hard to even imagine that we were once a colony of the British Empire.

But if it were not for the struggles and sacrifices of millions of Indians, from every corner of the country, would we have got independence when we did? We are familiar with some of the more prominent names who were part of this struggle. But there were so many more who made sacrifices, who gave up their lives for the cause – and died unsung.

I always think of them on 15th August.

Then the Founding Fathers themselves. Once India became an independent country, Britain left it to fend for itself. Can you imagine the challenges a new-born India would have faced at that time?

India was then a country reeling from the horrors of partition. Although there had been talk of partition for a while, the actual execution of the whole process was done very hastily, without enough attention to detail. Political lines were drawn to create India and Pakistan, but these were still being “negotiated”. Even on independence, many villages did not even know whether they belonged to India or Pakistan. And there were the tricky issues of princely states like Junagadh and Hyderabad. And there was Kashmir.

So things were very fluid on 15th August 1947, though technically India and Pakistan had both become independent nations.
The mass migration of millions across borders, with all the violence and pain that ensued – how can one ever forget that! People lost everything, their families, their possessions. Their entire life got uprooted as they became refugees in their new world.

Then, post independence, the massive task of bringing more than 565 princely states into the fold of one nation. How challenging was that! Some agreed to be part of India. Different tactics were needed to bring the others into the fold.

All this while communal harmony, already severely tested in the tense times leading upto the partition, was just about hanging by a thread. The partition exposed fault lines much more nakedly – there was resentment amongst Hindus in India for Muslims who had not migrated. And the other way round in Pakistan.

As we know, many Muslim artistes in the Hindi film industry even changed their names to Hindu-sounding names to avoid becoming targets of hatred, and to appeal to the largely Hindu audiences.

Such was the fragility of Indian communal harmony in the immediate aftermath of independence.

Talking of fragility, it was not only communal harmony that was fragile. Independent India had inherited unprecedented levels of poverty, exacerbated by partition woes. Its economy was in very bad shape. Poor living conditions meant disease was not uncommon. Added to this was a very high level of illiteracy and social backwardness in general.

Kashmir was still a burning issue, Gandhiji got assassinated.

The overall situation looked so bleak at one time that Life Magazine, in the late 1940s, even ran a story along the lines of “Will India survive?” Clearly the world was skeptical.

Thankfully, our Founding Fathers were not.

Even in the midst of all these seemingly insurmountable challenges, they stayed steadfast on course, buoyed by the exuberance of having a new baby to nurture and nourish. Yes, there were challenges – but, to them, these were teething troubles.

Despite differences amongst themselves (yes, they did have differences!), they were united on one thing – all of them had a dream of a strong, resilient, and free India. Their views on how to get there might have been different – Nehru might have had a socialist mindset, Rajaji a more capitalist mindset – but they shared this common dream.

This dream involved providing, for every Indian, a fair opportunity at life. A life of dignity. India would be a country where justice would be available to one and all. A country which had hitherto been suppressed, but whose peoples would now be able to breathe freely, not be enslaved to any thought. They would be free to pursue a religion of their choice. India would be a country whose people would feel a sense of fraternity towards each other, not be divided by regionalism, casteism, religion and other such divisive elements.

This dream got enshrined in the form of a Constitution for India. When India became a Republic on 26th January 1950, it further underlined the vision of the Founding Fathers – that there would be no monarchy in India, that there would be elected representatives, elected by the people. There’s a lot more in the Constitution – it lays down the terms of reference between organs of the State, separation of powers between the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, it talks about fundamental rights and duties of citizens.

While there is always scope for improvement, and any document should be a living document kept in tune with the times, the Constitution of India does provide a great framework for the country. Without it, there would be utter chaos.

And for this Constitution too, we need to thank our Founding Fathers and their vision.

I know none of this is new to anyone – and I am rambling – but I do think that at least on Independence Day (if not on other days) we need to remind ourselves of how much struggle, sacrifice and effort went into first making India an independent nation, and then ensuring it survived against the greatest of odds.

Unless and until we appreciate the magnitude of the challenges that were faced and overcome at that time, we will not be able to value the freedom we have today.

So I hope you will excuse my rather long history lesson. 🙂 If there are any inaccuracies here, please do let me know. I’m happy to be corrected.

The song “hum laaye hain toofaan se kashti nikaal ke” comes to mind in this regard.

Now to today’s India. Let’s take stock of where we are.

We’ve come a long way from those early fragile years. Sure, we’re still not where we’d like to be, but we’re definitely not looking at an existential crisis.

Economically too we are far better off today. Although we still have millions below the poverty line, and many above it still struggling to make both ends meet, we are better off than the “independence” generation. Many of us will admit that our own fathers and forefathers had a much tougher life than we are having now.

Education levels have also significantly improved. I have doubts about the quality of education as I see many “highly-qualified” Indians unable to comprehend basics, completely lacking in logical or analytical thinking, lacking in life-skills, but that’s for another debate. Let’s just say, we have many millions more “educated” Indians today.

In many other areas, like tackling disease, or improving sanitation or road infrastructure, India is progressing. It’s a 71-year young nation now, one would expect nothing less.

So on the material front, I think India is on the right track. Still a long way to go, still a lot of poverty to eradicate, but I have hope.

My bigger concern is to do with freedom and independence. Not of India, but of Indians.

I happen to think India became free and independent on 15th August 1947 – but only in a political sense.

Indians are FAR from being free or independent, even today, 71 years later.

When Indians attained freedom from colonial rule, they expected to be able to lead their lives as free citizens. No more being slaves to anyone, no more being treated like third-class citizens.

The reality though is that we are still slaves. Not to British masters anymore, but to Indian ones.

The difference is, we didn’t elect those British masters, we now elect our Indian masters. The specific individuals change, but the underlying master-slave relationship doesn’t.

In theory, in a democracy, we, the people, have power. We elect representatives on our behalf to run the affairs of the country. These representatives are therefore “public servants”, supposed to serve the interests of the people. They are supposed to be accountable to the people for the tasks assigned to them. They are also accountable to the people for funds utilized by them because these funds are collected from, and on behalf of, the people. They are supposed to be transparent about their work, so that the public can evaluate progress (or lack of it).

This is the theory.

We all know how things work in practice.

But why don’t they work?

Simply because there is a huge power imbalance between the people and their representatives. These representatives, so-called “public servants”, have steadily increased their power quotient at the cost of the people they are supposed to serve. As it is, they have the power to make laws – so they make or modify laws to strengthen their power position, to legitimize their power grab, thus further skewing the imbalance in their favour. Sel-aggrandizement is the mantra.

This isn’t just the story of one political party – this is with practically every political party.

Which is why the solution isn’t to just replace one party with another.

The solution is to structurally redress this power imbalance.

Make the public more powerful.

How?

There is very little power in the hands of one individual. I can scream from my rooftop but my single voice means nothing.

But there is a lot of power in a large group. The larger, the better.

When a large group chooses to raise its voice, these representatives have no choice but to listen. Otherwise they know they will be on the wrong side of the numbers game.

And in a democracy, it is all about a numbers game.

But for a large group to raise its voice against the powers-that-be, it has to, first of all, be free. It must NOT have a slave mentality.

And that’s a big problem in India.

Maybe due to historical baggage of being ruled by maharajas, many Indians are still subservient to authority. They are still happy to be “ruled”. Feudalism, although less today, still plays its role in perpetuating this master-slave relationship.

This is also why SO many Indians still have this “mai-baap” attitude towards government and other powers-that-be. They fall at the feet of politicians, seeking favours, sometimes even begging for something that is their right, but has been denied to them.

And of course, the politicians then act high-and-mighty, dishing out largesse as if they are royalty. They act generous – it’s easy to be generous with other people’s money. A sizeable share of the public’s hard-earned money is distributed as an act of generosity by the politicians. And they get praise for this. Not to mention votes.

It is THIS mentality that is my biggest issue with Indians. This slave mentality.

Which is why I say India became a free country on 15th August 1947 – but Indians are still slaves.

Just to clarify, I wouldn’t blame the poor or destitute for this. They are barely struggling to survive on a daily basis – they hardly have any choice or agency. But those who DO have a choice, who don’t HAVE to grovel before the powers-that-be but still do so, they are the ones who are undermining the effort to redress the power imbalance. They are often the ones to first stand up in defence for the powers-that-be, against their own fellow citizens.

So on this Independence Day, my request to all Indians is to abolish this slave mindset – and be free. If you don’t want to be treated like a third-class citizen, you first need to stop behaving like one.

Freedom is too precious to let it be taken away from you by anyone. Like Sahir said “zindagi bheekh mein nahin milti, zindagi badh ke chheeni jaati hai…apna haq sangdil zamaane se, chheen pao, to koi baat baney”.

And please stand up for those who try to break these chains of slavery. As I said earlier, this battle cannot be fought by one individual. So when someone is trying to fight against oppression, against slavery, please support his or her effort, instead of undermining it by being loyal to the master.

Even during our Freedom Struggle, there were Indians who undermined the effort of fellow Indians by taking the side of the British. This only made the freedom struggle harder.

I hope we have learnt from that lesson.

There are a lot more thoughts in my head on this Independence Day – there are a lot more improvements I’d like to see in India. Especially with regard to society.

The thing is, if we harbour aspirations to be a truly developed nation, we need to also have progressive thought in society. Mere material progress isn’t enough.

It saddens me to see that even in 2018, some of our thinking is regressive.

Patriarchy is still rampant in Indian society – with all its negative consequences for women, and even men. It is one of the biggest reasons for rapes and other forms of violence against women.

Then, our casteism. Even today, Dalits are discriminated against – let’s not pretend they aren’t.

Indian society is full of prejudices – just look at matrimonial columns to get an idea.

There’s a lot more that bothers me – I could go on and on.

But this post has already become too long – and each of these topics deserves proper discussion and treatment of its own.

So I will stop here on these topics.

Just to clarify, I’m not saying we haven’t come a long way. We have. But we still have a very long way to go – in terms of poverty alleviation/elimination and society upgradation.

The responsibility lies largely with those of us who are relatively privileged and educated. Even the Freedom Struggle counted amongst its leaders many well-educated Indians, of whom many had had the opportunity to study or live abroad and get a different perspective on life and their country.

So those of us who are in a position to make a difference need to do so. But for that, we first need to CARE for our less-privileged fellow citizens. Instead of looking down on them, we need to think of how we can make their lives better. We need to help make them free and independent citizens. Remember, WE are the fortunate ones, to even be able to read this online. I don’t mean this in the slightest patronizing sense – the fact is that we are all privileged. Millions are not.

Also remember, those well-off Indians from the Freedom Struggle could very easily have just enjoyed their privilege instead of throwing themselves into the Struggle. They chose to make sacrifices because the cause they were fighting for, was bigger than their individual selves.

We need a similar cause that we can all rally around today. If that is the prosperity of India, it must mean the prosperity of all Indians, not just a select few. But prosperity, without peace and harmony, is useless. So the cause must encompass all these components.

India is nothing without Indians. It would be just a piece of land. So talking about “making INDIA a great nation” is all just empty rhetoric if we are not working towards making the future of INDIANS great. And again here I mean ALL Indians, not a select few.

For me it is all about the individual first. She or he is the unit-level of existence. If the individual isn’t empowered, if she or he isn’t free, what’s to celebrate about the nation being free? The nation is just a bunch of individuals, right?

You might not agree with my thoughts (and that’s perfectly fine!) – I’m just sharing them here on request of Avinashji. 

A lot more running in my head too – but this post has already become way too long now, so let me get to the song for the occasion.

It is a non-film song. A patriotic song composed by Khayyam, sung by Rafisaab, to Sahir’s lyrics.

I heard this song for the first time only a few days ago – I quite liked it. I hope you like it too.

Happy Independence Day. And thanks for your patience in tolerating this long post. 🙂


Song-Watan ki aabroo khatre mein hai (Rafi NFS)(1962) Singer-Rafi, Lyrics-Sahir Ludhianvi, MD-Khayyam
chorus
Rafi+Chorus

Lyrics

Watan ki aabroo khatre mein hai
Aa aa aa aa aa
Watan ki aabroo khatre mein hai
Hoshiyaar ho jaao
Hoshiyaar ho jaao
Hoshiyaar ho jaao o

Hamaare imtihaan ka waqt hai
Taiyyaar ho jaao
Taiyyaar ho jaao
Taiyyaar ho jaao o

Hamaari sarhadon par khoon behta hai
Jawaanon ka
Aa aa
Huaa jaata hai dil chhalni
Himaalaa ki chattaanon ka
Aa aa
Uthho rukh pher do dushman ki
Topon ke dahaanon ka aa
Aa aa
Watan ki sarhadon par aahni
Deewaar ho jaao
Hoshiyaar ho jaao
Watan ki aabroo khatre mein hai

Wo jinko saadgi mein hamne
Aankhon par bithhaaya thha
Aa aa
Wo jinko bhai kehkar
Hamne seene se lagaaya thha
Aa aa
Wo jinki gardanon mein haar
Baahon ka pehnaaya thha
Aa aa aa
Ab unki gardanon ke waaste
Talwaar ho jaao o
Aa aa aa
Ab unki gardanon ke waaste
Talwaar ho jaao o
Hoshiyaar ho jaao
Watan ki aabroo khatre mein hai

Na ham is waqt Hindu hain
Na Muslim hain
Na Isaayi
Hmm hmm hmm
Agar kuchh hain to hain
Is desh is dharti ke shaidaai
Hmm hmm hmm
Isi ko zindagi denge
Ae ae ae
Isi ko zindagi denge
Isi se zindagi paayi
Lahu ke rang se likhaa huaa
Ikraar ho jaao
Watan ki aabroo khatre mein hai
Hoshiyaar ho jaao
Hoshiyaar ho jaao
Hoshiyaar ho jaao o

Watan ki aabroo khatre mein hai

Khabar rakhna koi gaddaar
Saazish kar nahin paaye ae
Aa aa
Nazar rakhna koi zaalim
Tijori bhar nahin paaye ae
Aa aa
Hamaari kaum par ar ar ar
Hamaari kaum par
Taareekh tohmat dhar nahin paaye ae
Aa aa aa
Kafan dushman
Darindon ke liye
Lalkaar ho jaao
Lalkaar ho jaao
Lalkaar ho jaao o
Lalkaar ho jaao o
Lalkaar ho jaao o o

————————————
Devnagri Script lyrics (Provided by Avinash Scrapwala)
—————————–
वतन की आबरू खतरे में है
आ आ आ आ आ
वतन की आबरू खतरे में है
होशियार हो जाओ
होशियार हो जाओ
होशियार हो जाओ ओ

हमारे इम्तिहान का वक़्त है
तैयार हो जाओ
तैयार हो जाओ
तैयार हो जाओ ओ

हमारी सरहदों पर खून बहता है
जवानों का
आ आ
हुआ जाता है दिल छलनी
हिमाला की चट्टानों का
आ आ
उठो रुख फेर दो दुश्मन कि
तोपों के दहानों का आ
आ आ
वतन की सरहदों पर आहनी
दीवार हो जाओ
होशियार हो जाओ
वतन की आबरू खतरे में है

वो जिनको सादगी में हमने
आँखों पर बिठाया था
आ आ
वो जिनको भाई कहकर
हमने सीने से लगाया था
आ आ
वो जिनकी गर्दनों में हार
बाहों का पहनाया था
आ आ आ
अब उनकी गर्दनों के वास्ते
तलवार हो जाओ ओ
आ आ आ
अब उनकी गर्दनों के वास्ते
तलवार हो जाओ ओ
होशियार हो जाओ
वतन की आबरू खतरे में है

ना हम इस वक़्त हिन्दू है
ना मुस्लिम है
न इसाई
हम्म हम्म हम्म
अगर कुछ हैं तो है
इस देश इस धरती के शैदाई
हम्म हम्म हम्म
इसी को ज़िन्दगी देंगे
ए ए ए
इसी को ज़िन्दगी देंगे
इसी से ज़िन्दगी पायी
लहू के रंग से लिखा हुआ
इकरार हो जाओ
वतन की आबरू खतरे में है
होशियार हो जाओ
होशियार हो जाओ
होशियार हो जाओ ओ

वतन की आबरू खतरे में है

खबर रखना कोई गद्दार
साज़िश कर नहीं पाए ए
आ आ
नज़र रखना कोई ज़ालिम
तिजोरी भर नहीं पाए ए
आ आ
हमारी कौम पर र र र
हमारी कौम पर
तारीख तोहमत धर नहीं पाए ए
आ आ आ
कफ़न दुश्मन
दरिंदों के लिए
ललकार हो जाओ
ललकार हो जाओ
ललकार हो जाओ ओ
ललकार हो जाओ ओ
ललकार हो जाओ ओ ओ

Dahaan – दहान -دہان
mouth; orifice

Shaidaa. ii – शैदाई – شیدائی
lover, enamored

Tohmat – तोहमत – تہمت
Allegation, Accuse
false accusation, suspicion of guilt

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4 Responses to "Watan ki aabroo khatre mein hai"

Raja ji,

Thanks for a very thought provoking article straight from the heart.

In my private discussion, I always point out that nothing much has changed in system of governance after the independence. Instead of princely states, we have now ‘serfdom’ of some of the elected representatives who have as much power to rule authoritatively as their counterparts in the princely states. Obviously, the mind set of slavery is still prevalent in such ‘serfdom’.

I do not wish to sound negative, but one has to be realistic as well. The mind set of slavery has direct co-relation with the level of poverty. So long as the elected representatives, irrespective of their political affiliations as well as their band of followers have political and financial muscles, it would be a herculean task even for educated a groups of people to lead a campaign in this direction

The song was written following the Chinese aggression in 1962. I had heard this song during my school days. Unfortunately, this song did not attain the same popularity as ‘Aawaaz do hum ek hain’ written by Jan Nisar Akhtar. In fact, we used to sing in chorus more of the latter song in our school during the celebrations of Independent Day.

Thanks, Sadanandji.
And thanks for the patience to read this post.
It became longer than I’d expected because, as usual, I just kept going. Towards the end, it became somewhat abrupt.

I agree with you that one needs to be optimistic, but realistic too. Dismantling a power structure is easier said than done – those in power will do all in their capacity to preserve (and enhance) it. Poverty makes people even more dependent on them. The irony is that even the rich and privileged fall at the feet of politicians because they need favours. Or, ensure they are in their good books cos they don’t want to be harassed.

As long as we have this power imbalance, this behaviour will not change. We need more people to challenge this, instead of accepting it – or worse, defending it.

Thank you Raja Saab, and many thanks for doing this write up and your thoughts- which I can say are our thoughts also (at least me) …!!!

many thoughts come to mind and yes we are optimistic too, but as we had discussed earlier too, we cannot improve unless we agree on our shortcomings and weaknesses, instead of fooling ourselves with ‘unrealistic dreams’ and ‘mind’ – ‘blowing’ statistics.
We still have many many miles to go …

Thanks again ,

Thanks, Avinashji.
Sorry I didn’t discuss much about the song itself – it had become a very long post by the time I came to that part – I ended the post a bit abruptly.

Yes, we discussed this earlier – for example, what does “progress of a society” really mean. When do you call a society progressive, when regressive, and so on.

And yes, we have many miles to go. I am cautiously optimistic. Optimistic, cos that is usually the natural course of things.

But very cautiously so, cos it’s very easy to get carried away by propaganda and lulled into believing something you badly want to believe. That’s where a reality check comes in – always good to have a good dose of this. 🙂

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This blog discusses Bollywood songs of yesteryears. Every song has a brief description, followed by a video link, and complete lyrics of the song.

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