Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | January 27, 2009

People of the land

Captivating Music

Captivating Music

During his trip to Auckland, my father utilised the library to the fullest to read NZ’s history. We had long discussions on how the colonial aggressors committed atrocities on the original inhabitants known as Māoris. My father enlightened me on various aspects of tribal history and I have promised him that I shall read more.

NZ remains one of the few countries in the world which has formally apologised to its original inhabitants for the atrocities committed on them. While I am not well-read to comment on the current status of the Māori community, but I feel pleased that at least NZ has taken some steps to redeem itself. Grave acts of genocide committed on natives across the globe cannot be reversed but amends in relationships is necessary for future social progress. Māori language is one of the two national languages in NZ (other being English) and most of the colony names here are named in that language. Māori people work in all spheres of life too. They have their smiles on their face – very much part of quintessential Kiwi spirit. The museums, memorials, sculpture and music rightly has its place. As soon as you land at Auckland airport, you know about the original inhabitants. The Government websites / communications have things written in Māori language.

However, we should keep in mind, everything has a political motive these days. Not always we get an outcome which suffice humanatarian intentions (or we never want to), as the last paragraph on Māoris in wikipedia link shall show you. A classic example is that of politics surrounding the people of Jharkhand, India. Political self-interests of leaders surpassed people’s welfare. Historically, the aggressors could be successful because they could break people’s unity. Atrocities have resulted in uprisings which have resulted in further killings. In all cases, it is humanity which ends up paying the price. It is quite common in India.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of watching a Māori musical performance. While watching, I was reminded of that famous scene from Agantuk, where Anila dances to the tribal beats. The performance captivated me and I have no words to express how good it really was. The kind of instruments used, the dance, the music and the voice was breathtaking.

While on the subject of original inhabitants, it is worth mentioning that currently I am reading Tapan Raychaudhuri’s Bangalnama. A long time back, I had the good fortune of reading his Romanthan Athoba Bhimrotiprapter Paracharitcharcha, which I enjoyed thoroughly. In some ways these books too talk about natives from East Bengal. Prof. Raychudhuri’s books are not just nostalgic accounts of his childhood spent in East Bengal. In fact, they point out to important character traits of the natives. To add to that is his impeccable wit. I recommend these books to anyone who can read Bengali and feels the need to infuse some wit in their busy lives. Interestingly, Tapan Raychaudhuri does not put the entire blame on the British for Bengal’s plight. He makes some interesting observations in his books and as depicted in the article on the issue.

Post script: Request you to please visit the links that I have provided in the post.



  1. Good to see you are using your spare time so well. Here, most people would say they are too busy to do any serious reading and writing, and waste all their time (of which they actually have too much!) eating, sleeping, leching, mall-crawling, gossipping or watching TV…

  2. Thank you Suvroda. In Delhi the offices made us very tired, though apparently we stayed in bigger house, had domestic helps, car etc. Here physical work is a bit more, there are tensions too but generally people behave nicely with us (or at least we don’t have to defend ourselves against bad behaviour) – may be that is why we can spend some time constructively.

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