Social media for many of its users may be a platform to share life updates, personal achievements or candid photographs from family vacations and for many others it might be a platform to forge professional contacts or simply a chance to use communal slurs and hate speech without the fear of revealing their identity or being accountable for their words. Social media in our times may mean different things to different people and it thereby it turns out to be a platform that when utilised well can help us take a noble message to thousands of people in an instant and on the other hand it may also be an efficient way of organising a mob to torch a slum or to violently destroy a community’s right to existence. It all depends on what we make of it.
Away from the toxicity and intolerance that is social media is often used to spread, I recently found a song called “Bhagwan our Khuda” trending on several platforms. The song features Manoj Bajpayee. The song has beautiful lyrics and is shot in a way that makes it powerful, cinematically rich and thought provoking all at the same time.
The song has been directed and conceptualised by film director Milap Zaveri and is centred on the theme of communal harmony and the need to acknowledge how “Bhagwan” and “Khuda” (representing the Almighty in Hinduism and Islam) are essentially one and that it is futile to fight amongst ourselves based on religious identity as we are all part of Humanity. The song came out in 2020 but its lyrics and message have a renewed importance these days as we are encountering violence and hatred in the name of religion especially in the context of the recent riots in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri.
The song has several thought provoking lines and one of them says, “Bhagwaan aur Khuda aapas mein baat kar rahe thhe Mandir aur Masjid ke beech chauraahe par mulaqaat kar rahe thhe, ki haath jode huye ho ya dua me uthe, koi farak nhi padta hai. (Bhagwaan and Khuda met each other at a square between a temple and a mosque, whether you fold your hands or open your palms for prayer, it really doesn’t matter).”
This song may have first come out two years ago during the coronavirus induced lockdown but it has to be listened to with utter alertness and sincerity once again as we look at visuals of communal disharmony and rioting in various places like Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Delhi.
As we celebrate the holy month of Ramadan, the song reminds us of the futility of communal conflict and the need to cultivate a sense of harmony and brotherhood amongst ourselves as no matter what name we chose to address the Almighty with, he will always want his children (humanity) to live in peace and brotherhood.