Retrograde. Bamboozlement! More Bamboozlement!

Mera Joota hai Japani. In Literature.

Famous Shri 420 song:
Mera Joota hai Japani
Yeh Patloon Inglistani
Sar pe lal topi rusi
Phir bhi dil hai hindustani
A really rough translation:

My shoe is Japanese
This pant, English
Red hat on the head, Russian
And yet my heart is Indian
It is almost a relic from the Nehru-Socialist-Raj Kapoor-Idealist era. Shailendra, the lyricist of the song, had a knack for writing such songs - he also wrote the other (what I like to believe to be a) Nehruvian song - Jeena isi ka naam hai from the film Anari) 

Here's are two instances in which the song made its way to literature from this part of the world.

'O, my shoes are Japanese,
These trousers English, if you please.
On my head, red Russian hat;
my heart's Indian for all that.'

sings Gibreel Farishta while plunging down to earth in Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses.

Next one comes from I. Allan Sealy's The Trotter-Nama. At the end of a Hindu-Muslim riots some boys sing the song:

My shoes they are Japani
These pants are Englishtani
My red hat is Russi
But my heart is Hindustani


1 comment:

  1. Check:
    'How Raj Kapoor Saved My Life' by Allan Sealy (Twelve Contempory Short Stories. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1991)


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