By Himanshu Upadhyaya
In these days, when the devices that we carry with ourselves keep flooding our lives with unsolicited content, What’s App fwds, hate filled messages targeting even the father of our nation, your depressed spirits lifts up when a friend sends a music video that brings back the fragrance of moist earth. I am talking about a couple, who went to the most coveted management institute in Ahmedabad and has continued to redefine activist music in Gujarati, Hindi and Punjabi.
In their new song, Vinay and Charul are seen performing live, with the very basic Dafli and Ghunghru a song in Gujarati that celebrates what the proponent of Organic Farming – Sir Albert Howard – had referred as humus content. Painting a moving word picture of farmland, they sing in a very persuasive tone a refrain: Maare Zer Nathi Aapvu (I refuse to poision my farm).
Here is the video: https://www.facebook.com/nitinpbhatt/videos/1861679363853388/
Here are the words of this Gujarati song, with my ‘not even half as good as original’ translation in English:
Maara Vaarsaa ma Aavi ti Lili VaaDi (Oh it’s a lush green farm that I inherited) Maare Vaarsaa ma Devi re Lili VaaDi (and, so shall I bequeath to my children a lush green farm) Maari VaaDi ne Maare Zer Kem Aapvu (Oh, how can I poison my farm with my hands?) Maara Khetar ni Khushbu to Dur Dur Jaay (Behold the every expanding fragrance of my farm) Emma KeTalaaye nana nana Jivo Rachay (Thousands of organisms grow within it) Aava Jivo ne Maare Zer Nathi Aapvu(Oh, how can I poison such tiny living beings?) Maari AAngaLi thi Ruze evu Khetar KheDaay (Oh, the soil of my farm is tender, my fingers can plough) Ene Ek DaaNo Aapu to So DaaNaa Thaay (Oh for each seed that I sow, it returns me a hundred) Aava Khetar ne Maare Zer Nathi Aapvu (Oh, here and now I resolve not to poison such a lush green farm) Maaru Khetar to Char Tipaa Bhej thi Dharaay(Oh, its soil gets saturated with four moisty drops) Eni ThanDi ThanDi MaaTi maa Jhakal Samaay (Behold, it absorbs the morning dew in its cool soil) Aavi MaaTi ne Maare Zer Nathi Aapvu (Oh, sister how can I poison such a soil?) Maara Khetar maa DhaLiyaa, Alasiya Dekhaay (Behold, these tiny earth worms in its soil) Ema Pankhio, Patangiyaa ne Jhaadvaao Gaay (Gaze at those chirping birds, butterflies and trees) Aavi Kudarat ne Maare Zer Nathi Aapvu (Oh, sister how can I poison such a nature) Maaraa Khetar na DaaNaa to Ther Ther Jaay (The grains grown in it, travels thousand miles) Emaa KoN JaaNe Ketlaaye Maanavi Dharaay (How do I guess, how many people get nourished) Aava Maanav ne Maare Zer Nathi Aapvu(Oh, how can I poison those many men and women) Aava Zero thi MaaTi, PaaNi, KheDu e Jaay(Oh those pesticides kill the soil, water and farmer) Have Kariye Sajeev Kheti, Evu Smajaay(Now, I have resolved to go to Organic Farming) Maari Kheti ne Maare Zer Nathi Aapvu(Oh, sister how can I poison my farming) Aava Jivo ne Maare Zer Nathi Aapvu(Oh, sister how can I poison such tiny living beings) Aavi Kudarat ne Maare Zer Nathi Aapvu (Oh, sister how can I poison abundance giving Nature) Aava Maanav ne Maare Zer Nathi AApvu(Oh, sister how can I poison my brothers and sisters)
When you get to listen to deeply persuasive singing by Charul and Vinay, on a rainy day beneath an every cloudy sky that brings the sound of the wind, it brings up nostalgia with the words of another such poem that you studied in your primary school – Bhini MaaTi ni Gandhi Aave Yaad re, Haalo Bheru GaamDe (Oh, the fragrance of the most soil stirs up my memories, O my friend, take me back to my village – ringing in your ears.
You feel like listening to the sound of the wind giving some strange percussion along with the singing of Charul and Vinay taking you back to your native land in Gujarat and keep feeling grateful to the poet who penned this song that celebrates the defense of humus content of soil by Sir Albert Howard. The song takes you to entire generation of Romantics, just five days after the violence of boring speeches that we all were subjected to on June 5th, the World Environment Day. You look outside the window from your sixth floor office in an eleven floors building, click a photograph of those few trees amidst apartments and share it in a Whats App group of your old classmates from Gujarat.
Charul and Vinay also reminds you of those many down to earth people who inhabited the world of ideals in Swami Anand’s book, Dharati nu LuN (Salt of the Earth). Their singing comes across to us as a close family member whispering the wisdom in your ear. They have been redefining the activist music with their earthy simplicity, Vinay holding a DafLi and Charul holding a Ghunghroo have kept singing for peace and communcal harmony, for the struggle to gain people’s right to information, for the struggle to gain right to employment and simply remind us to remind ourselves every morning that some misguided slogans just needs to be responded with love and telling ourselves and our kids, “Pyaar se Etbaar se, Aaj se Kahe Insaan hei Ham).