kahan ja raha hai ….
It is rare, very rare when a song transcends its cinematic context to become a timeless message, to acquire an autonomous standing of its own. Kahan ja raha hai is one such creation.
On screen, it is directed to one mired deep into dehumanizing yet habituated circumstances, but to face a new world of hope, of redemption. The pull of the life hitherto is too strong though. A plunge into the unknown even if for eventual good, is resented to, is scary. Nutan on-screen looks a physical expression of this killing dilemma – to be or not to be!
Incidentally, the song seems conforming to the Manek’s doctrine titled the surrogacy of transferred emotions. Ashok Babu (Balraj Sahni) lip-syncing a song that gives voice to Gauri’s (Nutan’s) inner struggle. Yet, it seems to be flexing the doctrine as the lip-syncing Ashok too appears in an intuitive empathizing – the surrogate too seems in sufferance!
However, independent of the expressions on-screen, the song apparently responds to, almost universally, the existential predicaments of we humans. It is a call to look within for light, for direction…andhera hai man ka diya tau jala le! And When Rafi says it…his voice impacts through the cloak of temporal, of material, to reach the innermost – he becomes the god’s own voice – seems to be iterating what Jesus said – the kingdom of God is within you – and that you have to look within to realize Him! This song, to my mind, is more than a bhajan as it seeks no succour from an external dispensation but urges one to invoke or kindle the spirit that stands enshrined within!
This Rafi stunner how, however, carries an amazing expression – an aphorism, a truth of life: Nishan manzilon ke hain pairon ke chhaale…the blisters on my treading sole, each a strand of existential sufferance! This is a concept unto itself; seems to be carrying a negative world view – that this life is a relentless journey, a burden eventually, the intra achievements notwithstanding…and this reminds me of that exceptional Rafi bhajan…badi der bhai, badi der bhai, kab loge khabar more ram…. chalate chalte mere pag haare, aayee jeevan ki shaam
…nishan manzilon ke pairon ke chhaale…
My humble tribute to Rafi – the god’s own voice – kahan ja raha hai tu ai jaane waale…
Originally written for Mohd Rafi’s birthday, one day before, on 23 December 2017
Exceptional thinker and writer Vijay Kumar was with The Ministry of Tourism, New Delhi, where he resides. He enjoys his children, dotes on his grandchildren, and loves Hindi film songs with meaningful lyrics