GUWAHATI: The Mahatma would have been elated that Gujarati poet-saint Narsinh Mehta’s verses would touch Benares and find a musical echo in Assam.
In a fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary, his favourite bhajan “Vaishnava Jana To...”, earlier translated into Sanskrit by a Varanasi-based budding scholar Alok Kumar and edited by Jawaharlal Nehru University expert ND Mishra, has been touchingly-sung by an Assamese singer-composer Ranjan Kumar Bezbaruah.
Set for release on October 2, Bezbaruah has retained the signature tune for Bapu’s favourite Bhajan while adding his own style.
The 15th-century poet-saint Mehta nor the Mahatma could have imagined what depths and distance these humane verses would achieve. Bezbaruah also lent his voice to songs of Rabindranath Tagore and Bhupen Hazarika after he translated them into Sanskrit.
“Giving musical rendition to ‘Vaishnava Jana To’ in Sanskrit was my concept. All India Radio, Ranchi will air it tomorrow (Wednesday) while DD News will do so on October 5 at 7 pm. Zee News is also likely to air it,” Bezbaruah told this newspaper.
The music for the song was arranged by Pranjal Borah.
“This song was Gandhiji’s favourite. He could relate it to his life and teachings. As it is his 150th birthday tomorrow, I thought if I could come up with the Sanskrit version of the song, it will be a tribute paid to him,” Bezbaruah said.
It’s been 20 years that he has been translating popular Indian songs into Sanskrit and lending his voice to them. One of the songs that he translated from Hindi into Sanskrit was “Sare Jahan se Accha”.
“I first translated the songs of Bhupen Hazarika into Sanskrit and came out with the musical renditions. I have always wanted to popularise the Sanskrit language as it is slowly getting obsolete. By translating popular Indian songs into Sanskrit, I am trying to take them to the new generation,” Bezbaruah said.
He said translating lyrics from any language into Sanskrit might help the society in many ways. It can help the upcoming generation in developing an acquaintance and interest with the rich Indian languages as well as the country’s unparalleled literary and musical heritage.
A post-graduate in Sanskrit from the Gauhati University, Bezbaruah is a Sanskrit teacher at Nagaon Government Girls’ Higher Senior Secondary School in Assam.