Lakeerein: The story behind it – Part ll

So here we are. India. The 7th largest country in the world. 2nd biggest population. Yes, we had quite a significant role in the world reaching 6.99 billion (did anything change there? Haven’t read the papers in a while). It’s mesmerizing really, this exhibition of colour and wonder. It’s like every view carries with it a hundred different stories being played out on nameless canvases. Every turn is a photograph waiting to be immortalized in a frame or on a magazine cover. But do we truly appreciate this gift? And if we appreciate it, do we respect it enough?

The word ‘Lakeerein’ literally means ‘Lines’ or Linien in German. If we look at the world objectively, lines define every inch of our existence. From the contours of our faces to the silhouette of trees, everything is a summation of lines. But these are not the lines that the song talks about. In India, we take these lines to the next level. We turn them into boundaries and we thrive on them.

Our society is rigged with division. Nowhere will you observe this incarnation of separation more than in India. We poison in the name of religion. We differentiate in the name of creed. We ridicule in the name of colour. We insist on extravagance and ignore the essential. We pride ourselves on income rather than achievement. Birth rights and the authority to succeed go hand in hand, irrespective of merit. Mediocrity is readily accepted as being part and parcel of the system, a limb of our culture. We are free in theory but in reality we are still slaves to the past.

Not for one second do I claim that these issues and more do not plague other societies. But what hurts one most is what’s closest to home. And as educated, able young Indians we have the power to rid ourselves of these archaic assumptions still holding our society back in the 21st century. I do not expect all of us to become Anna Hazare’s or Bhagat Singh’s. Nor do I expect this song to become the anthem of a young nation. We all have to find our own small way to contribute; I chose mine through this song. We have the power to make a difference. Now we just need to find the will.

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