Retrograde. Bamboozlement! More Bamboozlement!

Santana,Hindu God!

Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket."
-George Orwell

 It is the History Channel Ad campaign for its "Gods of Music" Series. The Ad has wonderful visuals. I saw two of the Ads of History Channel. One had John Lennon dressed as The Buddha. But, I think it’s this  one that takes the cake, we see Carlos Santana as a Hindu god. The hue Santana’s face is blue and in his neck, we find the garland usually seen around Lord Rama’s poster, we can also see peacock feathers that would mean Lord Krishna. The idea for the image may have come from the cover of Santana’s Shaman Album. But, this time they have really made him into a true Hindu god. The History Channel Site for India has a little flash clip based on the Series.

Origin of the song 'Allah Megh de pani de'

The land is parched. Dry wind blows.Their throat as dry as the village well, they look to the cloudless sky and sing.

“Allah Megh de pani de …”
          O God Give us cloud Give us water

The sequence is from 1970s Hindi movie, Palkon Ki Chaon Mein. The song by Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle is a classic.

When i was a kid, i could not tell whether that song was a sad or a happy song. It’s meant to be sad but it almost sounds like magical chanting, almost hypnotic begging for rain through prayer.
Various movies had the same lines as the song - “Allah Megh de..”. Dev Anand’s Guide had those lines, even Bappi Lahari used it for the film Amaanat (1994), a forgettable movie from 1990s with forgetful songs.

So What’s the origin of this wonderful song?

All these songs are the illegitimate children of a Bengali folk song. The song attributed to Bangladeshi vocalist Abbas Uddin Ahmed, is rooted in traditions of  Muslim peasantry of Bengal.

Allah megh de pani de chhaya de re tui
Allah megh de
          O God Give us cloud over our head.
          Give us water, bestow shade.

Gramophone Company of India first recorded the song in Calcutta in the 1940s and it was a big hit. Its popularity must not have diminished over the years due to India’s and sub-continents continued dependence on rains. Life must have revolved around rains. It was powerful enough to have survived until the 60s. Then came the film song from 1965s Guide and later the more haunting  song from Palkon Ki Chaon Mein. Folk went pop and seeped into the mainstream. Blasted from the radio and played on the tube, frightening young children and telling them tales of time gone by. Time when you had to pray for shower and not just turn the knob of the shower. The way things are going we would be praying all over again.
Allah megh de...

Acknowledgment : Found information about the folk song at arenaonline
Image: Check this post

What the Thunder Said by T.S Eliot


AFTER the torchlight red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence in the gardens
After the agony in stony places
The shouting and the crying
Prison and place and reverberation
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience

Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road
The road winding above among the mountains
Which are mountains of rock without water
If there were water we should stop and drink
Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand
If there were only water amongst the rock
Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit
Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit
There is not even silence in the mountains
But dry sterile thunder without rain
There is not even solitude in the mountains
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
From doors of mudcracked houses
If there were water
And no rock
If there were rock
And also water
And water
A spring
A pool among the rock
If there were the sound of water only
Not the cicada
And dry grass singing
But sound of water over a rock
Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
But there is no water

Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
I do not know whether a man or a woman
—But who is that on the other side of you?

What is that sound high in the air
Murmur of maternal lamentation
Who are those hooded hordes swarming
Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth
Ringed by the flat horizon only
What is the city over the mountains
Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air
Falling towers
Jerusalem Athens Alexandria
Vienna London

A woman drew her long black hair out tight
And fiddled whisper music on those strings
And bats with baby faces in the violet light
Whistled, and beat their wings
And crawled head downward down a blackened wall
And upside down in air were towers
Tolling reminiscent bells, that kept the hours
And voices singing out of empty cisterns and exhausted wells.

In this decayed hole among the mountains
In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing
Over the tumbled graves, about the chapel
There is the empty chapel, only the wind's home.
It has no windows, and the door swings,
Dry bones can harm no one.
Only a cock stood on the rooftree
Co co rico co co rico
In a flash of lightning. Then a damp gust
Bringing rain

Ganga was sunken, and the limp leaves
Waited for rain, while the black clouds
Gathered far distant, over Himavant.
The jungle crouched, humped in silence.
Then spoke the thunder
Datta: what have we given?
My friend, blood shaking my heart
The awful daring of a moment's surrender
Which an age of prudence can never retract
By this, and this only, we have existed
Which is not to be found in our obituaries
Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider
Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor
In our empty rooms
Dayadhvam: I have heard the key
Turn in the door once and turn once only
We think of the key, each in his prison
Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison
Only at nightfall, aetherial rumours
Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus
Damyata: The boat responded
Gaily, to the hand expert with sail and oar
The sea was calm, your heart would have responded
Gaily, when invited, beating obedient
To controlling hands

I sat upon the shore
Fishing, with the arid plain behind me
Shall I at least set my lands in order?

London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down

Poi s'ascose nel foco che gli affina 427
Quando fiam ceu chelidon—O swallow swallow
Le Prince d'Aquitaine à la tour abolie
These fragments I have shored against my ruins
Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo's mad againe.
Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.

Shantih shantih shantih


Fifth and final section of the poem The Waste Land by T.S Eliot

Poi s'ascose...gli affina
427: Eliot's note: V. [for "Vide"] Dante's Purgatorio XXVI, 148.
'Ara vos prec per aquella valor
'que vos guida al som de l'escalina,
'sovegna vos a temps de ma dolor.'
Poi s'ascose nel foco che gli affina.

In the note, he quotes four lines that translate: "Now I pray youby that virtue / that guides you to th etop of the stair / be mindful in time of my suffering / Then he hid himself in the fire that refines them." In the poem, Eliot quotes only the last line of the four. The lines are spoken by the Provençal poet Arnaut Daniel, who was an important influence on Dante.

Le Prince d'Aquitaine à la tour abolie 429: Eliot's note: V. Gerard de Nerval, sonnet El Desdichado. The title means "The Disinherited"; the line, "The Prince of Aquitaine at the ruined tower."

Acknowledgement: For complete version of the poem check out
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