A song that ties more than 30 million people together
This article has nothing to do with the ongoing protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 that has recently sparked several protests all across Assam. I have written other posts about the pain and I will continue to write till our voices are heard.
This article, though, is about love.
What is it about a national anthem that makes our eyes water with emotion and our chests swell with pride?
When we grow up with a song, it becomes imprinted in our hearts, making for itself an indelible place in our consciousness. It isn’t surprising that we feel an instant kinship with people singing it, more so if our homeland is under attack from a third party, or when we are in a distant place away from all that we hold dear.
With the non-violent protests flaring up all across Assam, I saw a post by Prag News that showed thousands of Assamese people spontaneously breaking into O Mur Apunar Dekh. If you weren’t aware, this is the state song of Assam, penned by Lakshminath Bezbaroa in 1909 and attuned by Kamala Prasad Agarwala.
At a time when the rest of the country has been ignoring the plight of the Assamese, seeing such a sight where so many of my brothers and sisters broke into the song made me well up with emotion. Isn’t something as simple as a song powerful enough to tie together thousands of beating hearts as one?The post on Instagram that showed thousands of people singing the state anthem as one.
This also reminded me of an incident in 2015 when I had stayed in Delhi for some time to prepare for my exams. During my year-long stint in the nation’s capital, I suffered from a bout of jaundice that made it difficult for me to keep studying. On my parents’ insistence, I booked an immediate flight and rushed back home to Assam.
It was 7 PM in the evening when the flight started to descend and I saw the first look of Guwahati city. I could see the waters of the meandering Brahmaputra river, with lights of the millions of tiny city houses reflected in them. It made for a sight to behold, and, unexpectedly, I found myself teary-eyed, my mind already humming the lines of the state anthem I knew so well-
O mur apunar dekh
O mur sikuni dekh
Enekhon xuwola, enekhon xuphola
Enekhon moromor dekh.
O mur xuriya maat
Okhomor xuwodi maat
Prithivir kotu, bisari jonom tu
Nupuwa korileu paat.
O mur upoja thai
O mur Okhomi aai
Sai lou ebar, mukhoni tumar
Hepah mur poluwa nai
Oh, my dear homeland,
Oh, my unblemished homeland,
So beautiful, so bountiful,
Such a dearly-loved land.
O my mellifluous voice,
Assam’s dulcet voice -
Nowhere in this world, will you find another
Even if you search all your life.
Oh, the land of my birth
Oh, my mother Assam
Let me see your face just one time
For this heart never seems to get enough.
As an Assamese, what is it about this song that makes me emotional each time I hear it? I suppose the love for one’s homeland cannot be measured in any units, and yet, the powerful waves of this beautiful song come close.
Which state or country do you belong to? What is your relationship with your national or state anthem? Leave a response to let me know.