Sometimes me thinks the older folk doth protest too much.
Last Friday I had the opportunity to attend a Bengali bash. It was a formal thrown by a few of my friends at a banquet hall, attended by the 20-26 crowd. The DJ was Bengali, the songs he played were Bengali, and the comedy skit done by R was about Bengalis. Yes, there was a belly dancer, but she was Bengali as well.
Sure the songs, even though some of them were classical Bengali songs like 'Loke Boley' or 'Shaadher Lau' were not exactly what our parents would listen to - they were remixed (thank you Habib). After all, you need some beats to shake your, um, whatevers. Some Nazrul folk singer going 'aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah' is not going to do it.
And sure, sometimes the DJs do get some songs mixed up. There is an old song where a guy talks about his love for his bride - his country. Once at a party the DJ thought the song was literally a guy pining for his girl, and it was funny (for those in the know!) to see the crowd dancing to that song!
The main thing was, we didn't import English songs, neither Hindi (though we wanted to - they are just so maast!) nor Punjabi but we stuck to Bengali. A bunch of kids, growing up in Canada where their parents hardly had time to teach them the finer points of Bengali culture (don't put your feet up in direction of your father, do not smoke in front of elders(!), and so on), organized a party where everything was from our culture. Sure, drums may have replaced the dhol, but that's called evolving. Adapting.
And if you think such bashes are against our culture, um, go to Dubai/Dhaka/Calcutta/Mumbai/Karachi (take your pick).
Around new year I attended a party where the host had asked some classical singer (a gentleman in a white shawl) to sing. He brought along his sitar too. As soon as he began, all of us younger folk started to find excuses to sneak out, leading one 'uncle' - the self-proclaimed protector of Bangladesh culture - to deride 'our heritage being lost'. I am sorry, but I can't sit in one room listening to a song where the main character of the song is describing the night he spent crying after he couldn't pluck up the courage to propose to his beloved. Loser songs. At least Tagore has some pizzaz.
Ami Shob Kotha Bolilam, Baki Roy Gelo Shudhu Bolito
("I have said everything, the only thing left is to say it" - I kid you not, this was the translation).
My point is - as long as you bring us up properly - teach us the finer points of our glorious culture - we will be fine. Trust me. We will just adapt a little to our surroundings. That's natural. It's called progress.
Tags: Bengali Culture Desi