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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri




by T.N. Dhar 'Kundan'

The entire cosmos is bound by the relationship of one kind or the other. The astronomical entities, stars and planets are in position with the relationship of gravitational pull. Some of these derive light from others. Some orbit round the other. There is a relationship between these celestial entities and the life on earth. The earth has life on the ground, in the water and in the sky. There is a co-relationship between these various forms of life. No doubt the man is the superior most creation but it has a close relationship with other forms of creation, which he is obliged to maintain. Man is born of his parents in a family. He has a blood relationship with his parents and the other members in the family, his brothers, sisters, cousins, grand-parents et al. He grows in the extended family and develops a relationship of love, affection and trust with other members. He takes position as a member of the society and establishes relationship with other members based on love, regard, trust and mutual understanding.

Mankind is not only divided into different religions but also different tribes, groups and Societies based on common interests, beliefs, nationalities and ideologies. Here again a relationship develops both intra-groups as also inter-groups. The ideal situation should have been that this relationship is based on love, brotherhood, compassion and kindness, manifest in giving rather than demanding, in selflessness and not selfish motives. But the truth is not that, the ground realities are very different. It is based on selfish interests, needs and necessities. This changed format of human relationship is shameful, to put it very mildly.

Civilizations have evolved over many millennia and so has the human relationship. The attitudes and approaches that were based on natural relationships and the bondages of sorts have changed drastically. One may very safely and perhaps appropriately call the present day relationship as need-based rather than emotion oriented. This is not surprising because the entire human behavior has become commercialized. Parental love is determined by the amount of service the children render or are capable of rendering. The love and regard for the parents is based on the amount of wealth that their children are likely to inherit. You get love and affection from your siblings and other relatives directly proportional to the extent of benefit, financial or otherwise, they are expecting from you. This is true at every level of relationship, at individual level, at social level, in the office and work places, within a country and internationally between various countries and nations.

The international scene is a remarkable example of this need-based relationship. There is oil, a major source of energy, available in the Middle-east and elsewhere. Rich and powerful nations are dependent on this supply and, therefore, they interfere in their internal affairs, try to influence their plans and policies so that their own interests are safeguarded. Many a time these countries even compromise on their own declared principles and ideologies while dealing with these oil-producing countries. Elsewhere they swear by their lofty principles even if the situations are the same. These mighty powers produce a number of goods for which they need a market. This need of a market to sell their goods again influences their attitudes towards different countries. Likewise they need raw material for their industries and labour force to run them. These come from specific countries, which are either poor or developing. This need again guides the attitude of the rich and advanced countries towards these countries supplying them raw material, providing them market or making good their need for the work force. Then there are strategic interests, military considerations and ego of the countries to maintain their supremacy and hegemony, which again influence their foreign policies (read relationship) towards other nations of the world. History is witness to the fact that even in an august body like the Security Council, which one would like to see as an impartial body devoid of any bias, whenever international disputes or cases of universal importance come to it for consideration these are viewed by different member countries subjectively and not objectively. Accordingly every member country gives its opinion with due regard to its own interests and not on the merits of the case.

This strange phenomenon of need-based relationship has permeated in every walk of life and in every sphere of human existence. In family relationship, in social interaction and in political life of a nation every relationship is guided by self aggrandizement, self interest and personal need. A brother is your brother as long as you fulfill his needs. A neighbor regards you his own as long as you are useful to him. Before entering into a relationship every person first of all asks himself, ‘how does this relationship help me’ or ‘what benefit do I derive from this arrangement’. Naturally, therefore, the relationship is short lived. It lasts so long as the interest lasts. Once the interest is served, the relationship ceases to exist. It is because of this that the nature of a relationship changes frequently and the partners in a relationship also change quite often. What is said about politics that there is no permanent friend or foe in it, applies equally to all other walks of life. The oft-quoted proverb, ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed’ has perhaps been coined because of this fact of life that all relationships are need based.    

A teacher’s relationship with his taught is based on the amount he pays for the tuition. A doctor’s relationship with his patient is connected by the amount of fees he gets. A shopkeeper is concerned with the profit he earns from his customer and not with the customer as such. The relationships are thus based on the salary, wages, remuneration, commission and other forms of payments. These relationships are seldom governed by a sense of duty, or a commitment to a cause or service unto mankind, nature or a principle. As in other walks of life the advanced technology and the scientific knowledge has also affected the relationship. Watching television and listening to the radio broadcasts has to a great extent replaced the habit of reading books, papers and journals and thus our attitude towards relationship with books, which used to be our best friends, has been adversely affected. Telephones, mobile phones, SMS’ and e-mails have drastically reduced social visits, down-sized leisure times and minimized hobbies, the relationship with which was for pleasure, happiness and mutual concerns and not selfish motives. It is not for nothing that a poet has lamented, ‘Dil doondta hai phir vohi fursat ke raat din, baithe rahe tassavure janan kiye hue  -  Once again my heart craves for days and nights full of leisure when I would sit back and think of my beloved.’ The changed nature of relationships has deprived us of these luxuries when we could with ease say that ‘we are doing nothing’, ‘we are just chatting’ or ‘we are just relaxing’.

We all must take a serious note of this phenomenon of need-based relationship. We have to bring back good old relationships based on love, compassion, kindness, brotherhood, service and the like. Then and then alone shall we see for ourselves what E.B.Brown said, ‘Love me for love’s sake’. Then we will see the truth behind the saying, ‘those who live for others do not live in vain.’ The institutions of marriage and family, which till recently were sacred, at least in the East, have been shattered by this need-based relationship. Their basic character has been eroded drastically. Families have got sub divided and the relationship between these smaller units is largely based on interests and needs instead of brotherhood and mutual regard as was the case earlier. Marriages are being replaced by live-in arrangements, which by their nature itself are arrangements founded on needs. Relationships between neighbours have become formal rather than natural. Communities and different religious groups accept each other on the principle of co-existence rather than human values. Nations have trade relations, political treaties and economic inter actions. Seldom do we see care for human dignity, liberty and lofty values. Seldom do we come across relationships based on kindness, care and compassion.

Time has come that we restore these human qualities, regard everyone as son of the mother earth, member of the human society and ensure a relationship of mutual love, brotherhood, care and compassion. Let our attitudes be self-less and let us learn to live for others. Let us take pleasure in giving and not in receiving, in offering and not in demanding. Let us pray for the welfare of all and for peace and prosperity of the entire human kind. ‘Sarve bhawantu sukhenah sarve santu niramaya, sarve bhadrani pashyantu, maa kaschid dukhabhag bhaveta – May all be happy; may all be free from grief, may all come across beauty and benevolence. Let no one suffer any trouble.’

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