One of the inspiring examples of cultural assimilation is this song from Swades.
“Ye taara wo taara.. har taara..
dekho jise bhi lage pyaara”
This song is a pivotal point and a concluding suggestion to the problem the lead character is trying to solve. The problem of convincing families in villages to send their kids to school. The lead character visits 4 different families with varied issues/excuses for not sending their kid to school.
While the village heads outrightly reject the idea of “hamare bachchan aur unke bachchan ke saath?!” quite rhetorically. The other families have child marriage, poverty, child labour to carry on the family occupation and “ladkiyan kya karengi itna padh likh ke?”.
The film was made in 2004 and there’s hardly a doubt that things have drastically changed since then. A visit to any village will introduce you to girls being married off before 18. And the ones who aren’t, are made to “learn household chores”. I mean, do they have to learn some form of martial arts? Otherwise this doesn’t make sense at all.
The whole idea of “ladki ki shaadi karwani hai” has been made into a Mount Everest to climb in our societies! But then why wouldn’t it be ? When even educated folks demand for dowry for marriage. Some of them might even be reading this post as well.
The nuances that Swades touched and brilliantly depicted deserves some introspection. Has anything changed ? Or will it ever be ?
The song ends with kids playing together. Each from different caste and sensibilities. Together. Is that a ray of hope? Or these kids also be moulded by the “tradition”?