An apotheosis of creative synergy Dogri Rendition of Hanuman Chalisa

Prof K B Razdan
Few days back while walking down towards Parade in the city of Jammu, from Pakka Danga, I wanted to pay obeisance to Lord Hanumanji in the Ancient Hanuman Mandir, at Moti Bazar. As I neared the revered old temple, I heard something which for some moments made me believe that either I have gone into a trance or else I am day-dreaming: Hanuman Chalisa being recited in Dogri and its explanation being given accordingly. A really inexplicable, incredible marvel.
The priest, an erudite Panditji, told me that on the eve of Shri Hanuman Jayanti, he was presented a pen- drive having Hanuman Chalisa recited and the meaning explained in local language of Jammu city and environs: DOGRI !Asking Pandit ji where to find a copy or recording of it, he pointed toward a small poster pasted on a wall near the main gate of the temple on which, in addition to the details about this endeavour, there was a QR made available for general masses, to scan and get the Dogri meaning and explanation, downloaded in their phones. Since I am not that quick in scanning, uploading and downloading type of innovations, otherwise a child’s play for the youngsters of the present times. Panditji was kind enough to help me scan the QR in order to get Hanuman Chalisa downloaded in my cell-phone. An attractive and innovative use of typical Dogri vocabulary, against the backdrop of sonorous music, makes the narration almost hypnotic. In this context, credit goes to Pranav Sharma for composing the background music, encased in the intoxicating sonorous notes of a divine melodious ambience, made transfixing by BRAHMAND DHWANI and SHANKH DHWANI, enough to waft the listener across the cosmos. What seemed incredible to me, was the perfect auditory and visual confluence of the Dogri narration of Hanuman Chalisa, with the appropriate and relevant scenes depicted in pictures, something unbelievable, a marvel indeed ! Two youngsters, postmodern incarnations of Luv and Kush, not only selected the relevant picture as per the hymn but also welded the entire fabric of divinity as Hanuman Chalisa in Dogri, with the illustrated expanse, perfect and relevant for the listener and the observer, sans any conceivable blemish. The poster itself, reveals the names of the two blessed and talented duos: Sarthak Sharma and Akhil Sharma.
By birth I am not a Dogra, nor is Dogri my mother-tongue, yet this Khand Mithi language can charm any discerning person having an acumen for understanding and speaking any language, other than his or her native language. Here, it may not sound unreasonable to say that Dogri has now been included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, for almost two decades. The very attempt to furnish a Dogri Narrative of the sacred hymn: “Hanuman Chalisa”, got prompted by the impetus and emphasis ingrained in The New National Education Policy.
On listening intently with astute focused concentration, I felt that the person reciting Hanuman Chalisa in Dogri has a voice heard by me umpteen times ! Who could it be, none else but my dear Jagmohan Sharma, veritably my son, being my son Naleen Razdan’s bosom friend. He has not only done the entire translation and explanation in Dogri but given his voice for this sanctified attempt. Jagmohan is a radio broadcaster and has been associated with radio for a pretty long time. I have heard him on Radio since his college times when he used to present Youth Programs, film music shows and many other types of presentations. Now he has been working as a Dogri News Reader for the last nearly 14-15 years. As a News Reader, presenting daily news in the Dogri language, which constitutes his bread and butter, Jagmohan has been making a herculean effort to retrieve the native language from the very abyss of extinction and condemnable neglect. Preposterous as it may seem, young children cutting across class,creed, sect, religion, region, don’t speak their native languages, just Hindustani, plain vernacular, but not their native mother tongue, in this case Dogri. In Jammu city proper, preposterous as it may seem, even the parents prefer converse with their school going kids in English, Hindi, or Urdu, and not in Dogri !
A ludicrous, condemnable complex of treating their native language Dogri as a deterrent to their academic and social status, makes the parents of school or even college going students speak in Khadi Boli (AKafkanMix of English, Hindi, Urdu Hindustani etc ) but not Dogri; the Mother Tongue of the entire Duggar. In case, the young ones are encouraged to speak it, they may be treated or considered as “Backward, Dakiyanoosi, Rural, or even Junglee or Old-fashioned”.
Kudos to Jagmohan Sharma who has undertaken a phased extensive programme to bolster the use of Dogri as the native language, especially among the youngsters, the first contributive step being the publication of Kahaani Suni Sanaayi: the first ever e-audio book for children Dogri language. Translation of Shri Hanuman Chalisa in Dogri, may break the ice, rather the Iceberg or Landslide of Hindi, Urdu and English languages blocking any effort or steps undertaken to get raw and fertile minds engrossed, inclined and actively interested in learning reading and conversing in their native language Dogri, as the bottomless well of honey, Manna and Dates.
(The author is former HOD English, Univ of Jammu)