“I want to buy jasmine to decorate Bhim’s turban” - Love, Songs and B.R. Ambedkar
Three songs expressing love for Ambedkar!
By Nandini Sharma, Varsha Ramachandran,
Apr 14, 2021
From before Indian Independence, songs expressing love for Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar and propagating his ideas began to proliferate. Over the decades they have burgeoned into a beautiful, vital body of songs, also called Bhimgeet(Bhim songs) or Bhimvani. They express Ambedkar’s philosophy and give voice to Bahujan self-awareness, assertion and activism with a deeply felt mix of love and politics. Agents of Ishq celebrates #AmbedkarJayanti, with three songs by women singers from Maharashtra and Punjab - accompanied by translations in English and Hindi. Once you enter this treasure trove of music and ideas, you will want to explore so much more - and we’ve given you links to get started on that journey of awareness too!Happy Ambedkar Jayanti!
1. Mazya Bhimaana sonyan bharli oti
Poet: Kavi SarangSinger: Kadubai KharatLanguage: MarathiKadubai Karat started singing Bhimgeet at the age of 8 as part of family tradition. It went on to become her livelihood and her stirring rendition of this particular song, arguably one of the most beautiful and beloved Bhim Geets,recently went viral. Scroll down for Hindi and English translationsHINDIमेरे भीम ने, भीम ने माई सोने-चांदी से गोद ये भर दी |टूटी झोपड़ी के, दरवाज़े भी थे टूटेफटी साड़ी में, बांधी थी सतरा गांठेबेटा बना साहेब और बहू बनी सायबिनशिक्षा ने राह दिखा दी...मेरे भीम ने, भीम ने माई सोने-चांदी से गोद ये भर दी ||१||कैसे बताऊ मैं, करी थी कितनी मेहनतफिर भी हासिल न थी, झूठी रोटी की जन्नतयश का निवाला, दिया भीम नेकटोरी भर के खिला दी, भगा दी बरबादी.मेरे भीम ने, भीम ने माई सोने-चांदी से गोद ये भर दी ||२||मामला सही ही था, घुल मिल के सब होतातब ‘सारंग’ का जरा भी पता नही थापहले ज़माना यूँ था चलताबात नही ये खोटीमेरे भीम ने, भीम ने माई सोने-चांदी से गोद ये भर दी ||३||बगल मे बच्चा, हात में झाडू, माथे पे गोबर की टोकरीकपड़ों में ढंग था न खाने में रंग था, मज़ाक़ बन के रही थीमेरे भीम ने, भीम ने माई सोने-चांदी से गोद ये भर दी ||३||- Translated by भूषण कोरगांवकर ENGLISHO Mother! Bhim, my Bhim, has filled my lap with treasure!A broken door, held my broken home in a tumbledown plotMy sari, tattered, was held together with seventeen knotsBut my son’s now a sahib, sir, my daughter a sahibin, madamA light showed us a path - it was education!It was Bhim, o mother! My Bhim who filled my lap with treasure!How should I tell the story of my endless labours?Ending not even in a discarded roti’s pleasureAnd then Bhim fed me a morsel of fameBowlfuls of possibility, dispelling ruination, now nothing’s the sameIt was Bhim, mother! Bhim, filled my lap with treasure!Life was precarious, just rolling in the dustThis poet’s name unknown in the worldBut it’s no lie when I, Sarang sayMy Bhim showed the way!My Bhim filled my lap with treasuresA child on my hip, a broom in my hand, a basket of dung on my headMy clothes, faded; my hunger, unsated; my life, just a jokeMy Bhim filled my lap with treasures, I awokeBhim, O Mother! My Bhim filled my lap with silver and gold - Translated by Paromita VohraVisit their website to read more about Kadubai Kharat and follow them for stories from a Bahujan context.You can also follow them on You Tube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
2. The Grindmill Songs Project
Singer: Lilabai ShindeOvi: Lilabai ShindeLanguage: MarathiOvi is one of the oldest forms of Marathi songs still performed. A genre that is similar to bhakti geets and bhajans, ovis are sung by women in Maharashtra on the grinding stone. They also contain a substantial repertoire of Bhim Geets.In this ovi performed by Lilabai Shinde of Lawarde village , she praises Ambedkar with affection and love. She calls Ambedkar by many names, Bhim, Bhimbaba, Bhimraya, or Babasaheb, gurubhao - teacher and brother and even indrasabheche raje - king of Indra’s council. She celebrates his liberating influence, by expressing her intention to buy jasmines to decorate Bhim’s turban. These unique and beautiful comparisons of Ambedkar and the desires of ornamenting him like a god, move us. Different from the Bhim Geets which propagate his teachings, these songs express a different love, seeing Babasaheb with affection, sometimes godlike and even as a friend. Read the English translation below.ENGLISHBhim, Bhim, I say, Bhim is my gurubhau [teacher-brother]I pound the rice with a pestle of goldBhim, Bhim, I say, Bhim is like a chunk of sugarI think of him and my teeth are sweetenedBhim, Bhim, I say, Bhim is like a packet of sugarBy taking Bhim’s name my body is purifiedThe Buddha’s temple has a gold doorMy son is very devoted to the BuddhaShe wears the white saree hurriedly –My mother takes diksha from BabasahebWho says to our people 'Outsiders! Outsiders!'My Bhim has made all Brahmins his brothers-in-lawO gardener woman, what [flowers] do you have in your basket?I want to buy jasmines to decorate Bhim’s turbanHere comes the train, which has stalks of turIn my Bhim’s kingdom, the Marathi people dispose the carcassesBhimbaba died – but who says he is dead?He has gone to heaven and become the king of Lord Indra’s councilGod of heaven, an offering of rice to youBhimbaba is dead, our gold is in the heavenBhimbaba is dead, his body is in the carThe car goes ahead, people follow behindThanks to PARI for giving the permission to carry their translation text and video.To read more about Lilabai, click here. These songs have been recorded by The Grindmill Songs Project, which has a storehouse of over 100,000 ovi sung by women in rural Maharashtra. You can check the entire Grindmill song collection here .Follow PARI on Instagramand Twitter
3. Fan Baba Sahib di
Singer: Ginni MahiLyricist: Pamma BakhlapuriyaLanguage: PunjabiGinni Mahi’s soaring voice and energetic style make this song where she calls herself a “fan” of Babasaheb, irresistibly rousing. Her songs mix Punjabi folk and pop, and are rooted in the teachings of Dalit icons, Ambedkar and Ravidas. Hailing from Jalandhar, Punjab, she started her music career at the age of 12 and shot to fame with songs like Danger chamar and Fan babasaheb di. In this song, devotee, follower, student and fan become joined to mix the political, spiritual, cultural and intellectual impact of ideas and meanings of social change.Read the Hindi and English translations belowHINDIलोग फेंके पत्थर बेर पेचूँकि उसके फल हैं मीठेमुश्किलें भी ऐसी कौम ढूंढेंजिसके लोग होते हैं शेर दिलहमारे कौम के मसीहा, बड़े दर्द सहने वालेबाबा साहेब की बताएं तोपम्मा बखलौरिया की कलम यूं बताती हैतो सुन लो !मैं उस बाबा साहेब की बेटी हूँजिन्होंने लिखा है संविधानउनका लिखा हमारी रोटी की नींव हैतभी दुनिया में उनकी तारीफ़ हैमैं ऐसी सोच की फैन हूँऐसे सोचने वाले की फैनजिन्होंने हमारे लिए दीं बड़ी कुर्बानियांगिन्नी माहि की सुनो, वो तुमको बाबा साहेब की सुनाती हैदुनिया जो बोली, छोड़ केदुनिया भर में यश पायामैं उस ऊंची सोच की बेटी हूँ , जिसेहर कोई सुन सुन के, सलाम करेउनके जैसा कोई भी है नहींउनके जैसे कोई होगा नहींन उनके जैसाकोई विद्वानऐसे बब्बर शेर थे वो�पनी कलम बनाई तीरहक़ की सच्चाई की लड़ी लड़ाईबदली हमारी तकदीरहमारे लोगों का मसीहा बने वोहमारे लोगों का मसीहा बनेये सारी दुनिया जाने हैऔरतों को इज़्ज़त न मिल रही थीउन्होंने उनको बताया ताजदिखाए समाज के दोष, �पनेलोगों के लिए उठायी आवाज़बड़ी ख़ास माँ ही जन सकती हैऐसा बेटा महानहमारे रास्तों के नूर, उन्होंनेफिर रचा नया जहांरास्ते में आये तूफ़ानन की उनकी परवाहपम्मा बखलौरिया ने ये सच लिखाये सच लिखा है पम्मा बखलौरिया नेसच, लिखे राजू बखलौरियाजिन्नी माही उसे गा देती है-Translated by Hansa Thapliyal EnglishPeople like to throw stones at the ber treeWhose fruits are the sweetestSo it is that troubles are rained on the communityWhose people are the bravestOur community’s messiah, who endured much painAbout Baba sahib Pamma Bakhlapuriya’s penHas this to say!Listen up!I’m a daughter of Baba SahibWho wrote the ConstitutionThe words of his pen are the reason, nourished and fed usThat is why the world praises himI’m a fan of such thinking,Yes, a fan of such a thinkerWho sacrificed so much for usListen to Ginni Mahi as she tells you about Baba Saheb!Forsaking the unjust worldHe earned fame across the worldI’m a daughter of that noble thinkingTo which everyone bows in saluteThere is no one like himThere won’t be anyone like himNone so wise or knowledgable as himHe was such a lion heartWho made of his pen, an arrowTo fight for the truth of rightsAnd rewrite our destinyHe became a messiah for our communityHe became a messiah for our communityThe whole world knows thisWomen treated without dignityHe spoke of as a crowning gloryRevealing society's evilsHe raised his voice for his peopleOnly a special mother can birthA son as great as heOur guiding lightHe gave birth to a new worldCaring nothing for the stormsHe met along the wayPamma Bakhlapuriya has written this truthThe truth has been written by Pamma BakhlapuriyaThe truth, writes also Raju BakhlapuriyaGinni Mahi has sung it! - Translated by Dilgrace Kaur, Inderjeet Kaur and Paromita VohraListen to Ginni Mahi’s songs here. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. You can also read an interview with Ginni Mahi on The Ladies Finger.