Triple Celebration – 14 November 2020

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Diwali the Festival of Light, Jawaharlal Nehru’s 131st Birthday and 59 Years of ‘Musical Heaven’ by our ‘Ganagandharvan’, Yesudas!

By Dr Elizabeth Menon

On this 14 November 2020, we celebrate the 131st birthday of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister’, whom we affectionately call ‘Chaacha Nehru’. It is celebrated as ‘Children’s Day’ all over India when we celebrate our children! It makes it brighter this year with Diwali, the Festival of light falling on the same day, which drives away the darkness in our hearts and around us, every which way! We have to make a conscious effort to make this day brighter, in spite of the suffering and lockdown due to the Covid pandemic!

As we celebrate the ‘Children’s Day’, let’s not forget that we have to make a conscious effort to look after our children, which includes being on the look out for the safety of all children, and one should remember that they are children till they reach 18 years of age! Let us take a pledge today, to take care of all our children, young and old, till they are 18 years and beyond, in our homes and on the street!

And there’s another reason for Malayaalees to celebrate this day – Yesudas started his odyssey on this day in 1961, 59 years ago, with ‘Jaathi Bhedam Mathadwesham Ethumillathe Sarvvarum Sodarthwena Vaazhunna Maathrrukaa Sthaanamaanithu …’ and he is still creating magical haven for us with his celestial voice! It’s sheer bliss every time one listens to his songs, and his voice is like the wine that gets more beautiful, stronger and divine as it gets older — but, one is at a loss to decide which is better, the old songs or the new ones, because his new songs may appear better than the old and at the same time, the old ones appearing superior — all because he still hasn’t lost the magic of creating celestial music, powerful enough to captivate the listeners of all ages!

Celebration comes easy to us, but the reason for that celebration and what that implies also should be paramount in our thoughts! Women and children are attacked, molested and raped in our trains, streets and even in our homes and it is about time we do something about it. It is not enough to be aware of it, but definite ways of dealing with it have to be put in place, preventing it and making sure that the existing laws are enforced! Educating the public and ensuring that the children are taught the right values at home and in schools, so that when they are out in the world as adults, they learn to respect women and children. They should realise that these very women and children they look on as sex objects are somebody’s daughters, sons, sisters, mothers or even grand mothers!

We have laws in our country for the prevention of trafficking, sex offence, domestic violence, etc, but enforcing these laws are marred by corruption, complacency and inefficiency! Media also has a moral responsibility in making sure that justice is done. It’s not enough just reporting the event, but they should delve into what was done by the authorities and what can be done to prevent similar occurrences in the future, and the role the public can play! And the punishment must fit the crime without being influenced by power, money or who the culprit is! Let us dwell on all these grim happenings in our society on this great day!

As we celebrate the life of our ‘Chaacha Nehru’, and Diwali the festival of lights, though shadowed by the Covid-19, it is triple celebration for us by honouring the Celestial Voice of our ‘Ganagandharvan’, the one who sings in ‘God’s Own Voice’, blessing the waking hours of us mortals!

‘Kshira saagaraa Shayanaa …’ is an all time Jewel, just one among many of his celestial songs! A ‘Song’ that will take you to celestial bliss every time! I feel blessed to have been in his presence when he created heaven on stage and it was spellbinding to witness the audience transfixed to their seats, breathless — it was sheer heaven, more for me because he chose my song from all the requests he received that evening — I had requested for ‘Kaliveedurangiyallo ..’ too, but there wasn’t time for that sadly — one shouldn’t be that greedy, I guess! I thank him for making our days blissful with his songs, to suit any of our moods, sorrow, happiness, celebrations and any moments that we wish to dream! Happy ‘Children’s Day’ and a ‘Colourful Diwali’, with lots of sparklers and sweets just for today! ( Thagaraja krithi, music by SP Venkatesh, from Jayaraj’s ‘Sopanam-1993)

©️E MenonNov2020