Readers at RTDM would be aware of my ceaseless quest to understand the Hindi heartland, its society, its politics and its people through the study of subaltern visual/audio art as found in the caves of Youtube. History is written by the conquerers, editorials are written by those who can pay for them—it is only in the non corporate embodiments of popular culture that the truth of its times lie. And may I also say a lot of its beauty.
First up [ link courtesy Thalassa ] is this video, a beautiful expression of the Bihari identity. In a typical educational institution (i.e.where the students are armed with country-made shotguns and revolvers as per screen-shot from video above), a group of students are being compelled by red-goggles wearing non-state goons to do push ups holding their ears. Their only crime: having been born in Bihar. Fear not however as Manoj Tiwari, playing a green-sweater-clad (Janata Dal) student leader (in some other places he would be an emeritus professor at his age) arrives like a stream of light. He exhorts the subservient Bihari students to believe in themselves, intimidates the rapscallions with the “Hum Bihari, Dil baate bhola bhala, Humreke neta sab ke nachawe wala” (what a lovely description of Lalloo let me add) song and then when the goombahs derisively refer to him as a “Bihari”, pounds them with his superior singing voice and strong personality till they start leaking from their plumbing (as the song goes: “Pipe main hoi jayi soooo”). Note how the red goggles of the gunda, initially a metaphor for control and an instrument of fear, is drained of its sinister symbolism once the Bihari student leader snatches it away and then magnanimously returns it with a “Jao maaf kar diya. But never again” asserting again the power of symbols in subaltern power equations. [Video link]
This next video is significant because it provides us an insight into the politics of the Hindi heartland specifically ex CM Rabri Devi’s administrative edicts, the ones that never made it to CNN IBN or NDTV. I am referring to the one referred to in the video:
(to the tune of “Saare jahaan se accha” )Namaskar, aaj tak main aap ka swagat hain. Bihar main chal rahe teen din se devaron ke hartal aaj samapt hui. Mukhe mantri shreemati Rabri Devi unke maangein sweekar karte huye Bihar ke tamam bahujaiyon ko phagan bhar ke liye free karne ki ghoshna ki hain. Devar jab chahe, jahaan chahe, jaise chahen apne bhoujaiyon pe rang dal saakte hain.
Which means that according to Aaj Taak, Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi has acceded to the demands of the striking brother-in-laws and declared that they may, whenever however and wherever put color on their brother’s wives and no action will be taken against them. The video then heart-wrenchingly details the dilemmas of the migrant Bihari workers who demand leave to go back to Bihar else “the neighbourhood loafers will have their wives’ prasad”—whatever that means. [Video link]
The next two videos paint a picture of the proletariat’s social life in the heartland—-in the first one, a slightly inebriated working-class husband comes home expecting some sweet loving and home-cooked food but instead is kicked and broom-whipped by his wife even as he screams “Ramkoli aieee Ramkoli” (some disturbing parallels with my own marital life) in a way that can only be described as supremely romantic. [Video link]
The second one is more than a bit disturbing. An old man who has trouble holding his bladder is repeatedly calling his son Anandamohon to take him to the toilet else “dhotiya maan ho jaayein” (he will let loose inside his dhoti) but his son, rendered heartless by his bewitchingly beautiful wife is more concerned about making love to his spouse than discharging his duties as a son. [Video link]
And this concludes, for today at least, our journey of discovery through the living breathing history as captured in these videos on Youtube.
Kaa bujhla tu?