The song, Kabe mein raho ya Kashi mein, reminds me about an incident that happened with us when Mom was admitted in a premium hospital about 20 years ago for an initially unknown ailment. One Muslim lady in the next bed had a very interesting way of looking at the religious diversity in the world. She told us that initially when God had made human beings, they would fight among each other for superiority. Then, God separated them into groups telling them to follow different religions, so that there was no fighting in between them. Now again, there is fighting in the world for religious superiority. I wonder, what solution would God like to suggest in this situation. Or is it that He would like us to deal with it ourselves? Only He knows!
Movie – Dharmaputra (1961)
The song, Kabe mein raho ya Kashi mein, was featured in the B R Films’ sociodrama Dharmaputra (1961) directed by Yash Chopra and produced by B R Chopra. The movie starred Mala Sinha, Rehman, Shashi Kapoor, Ashok Kumar, etc.
The beginning of the movie is set in 1925 India, during the British rule when India was at the peak of the independence struggle. The movie revolves around 2 families living in Delhi – those of Nawab Badruddin (Ashok Kumar) and Gulshan Rai (Nana Palsikar), who are very close to each other. Husn Bano (Mala Sinha), the Nawab’s daughter, gets pregnant as a result of an affair with a Javed (Rehman). When Nawab gets to know about it, he tries to find Javed to ask him to marry his daughter. But, Javed has already absconded. Gulshan Rai’s son Amrit Rai (Manmohan Krishna) and his wife Savitri (Nirupa Roy) help Husn during the crisis. Soon, Husn gives birth to a baby boy. The infant is adopted with proper traditional Hindu rites by Amrit Rai and Savitri.
Nobody in their city knows about Husn Bano becoming an unwed mother because the delivery happened elsewhere. After the naming ceremony of the infant, Husn Bano appears depressed. So, the Nawab suggests they visit some Islamic holy places for peace. This song is performed in one of the holy places, they visit.
Song – Kabe mein raho ya Kashi mein
The song, Kabe mein raho ya Kashi mein, was pennedby Sahir Ludhyanvi and the music is by N Dutta.
The song goes thus, “You may live in Kaaba or Kashi. This is a masjid and the other is a temple. You may believe in Ram or Rahim. The fact remains that you are worshiping God in different forms.”
Video – Kabe mein raho ya Kashi mein
The cinematography is by Dharam Chopra.
The video opens with one of the male singers in the 2 groups beginning to sing. The 2 groups are sitting on a set where there is the depiction in the form of large background sketches of both a temple and a mosque. The leader of the second group also joins the first singer.
One group is wearing the traditional dress of the Muslims and the other is wearing that of North Indian Hindus. Ashok Kumar and a veiled lady are seen entering the mosque. They are seen worshipping inside the mosque. Mala Sinha, wearing a burqa, prays from the outer passage.
Rehman also appears there and recognizes Mala Sinha. Ashok Kumar stops him when he is about to leave. The shot continues with the conversation between Ashok Kumar and Rehman. Then, Mala Sinha raises her hands in thanksgiving. The song and the video end at this point.
The song has been sung by Balbir and Mahendra Kapoor.
This is a qawwali steeped in the culture of Sufism and secularism. The song and the artists are good. The video is watchable for the same.