Independence

Ishaan: Aaj tak koi bhi faisla mera apna nahin tha. Kuch faisle mujhe virasat mein mile. Kuch kartavya ke naam pe liye gaye. Aur baki mere mahol ne kar diye. Aaj tak koi bhi faisla sahi ya galat ka farak dekh ke nahin kiya gaya. Mere mahol ne jo mujhe diya main leta gaya, jo mujhse maanga main deta gaya. Suman, tumse milne ke baad mujhe ehsaas hua ki is daayre ke bahar bhi kuch hai.

Suman: Ishaan, tumhare saamne do hi raaste hain. Sachai chupao, ek khuni ko azaad phirne do aur apne dost se wafadaar raho. Ya sach ka saath do. Sachai ko saamne la kar us khuni ko uski saza dilao. Aur insaniyat ke naate jo hamaara farz banta hai, use poora karo. Ishaan, mere liye ye farz, apne kisi bhi niji faisle ya shapath se bahut bada hai.

— From the Hindi movie Thakshak by Govind Nihalani

Translation:

Ishaan: “Not a single decision so far has been mine. Some decisions, I inherited. Some were made in the name of duty. And the rest were made by my circumstances. Not a single decision was made by considering whether it was right or wrong. Whatever my circumstances gave me, I accepted. Whatever they demanded from me, I submitted. Suman, after meeting you, I realized that there is something beyond this.”

Suman: “Ishaan, you have only two roads ahead of you. Hide the truth, let a murderer roam free, and remain loyal to your friend. Or, support the truth. Bring the truth into the open and punish that murderer. And fulfil the duty that is ours through our humanity. Ishaan, for me this duty is much bigger than any personal decision or promise.”

This is one of the very rare moments when – briefly and inconsistently, in a raw, sense of life form – Hindi Cinema comes close to a proper understanding of morality. And then immediately afterwards it returns to the tired old cliches of duty to humanity and sacrifice of personal values.

Interesting observations from my attempt at translation.

“Sach ka saath do” : “Support the truth”. That’s the best I can think of. Not something one says in English.

Is there a word in Hindi/Urdu that means obligation as against duty. “Kartavya” and “farz” both mean duty. Or is the difference not expressible in Hindi?

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10 Responses

  1. Would उत्तरदायित्व be closer to “obligation”?

  2. I think so. Thanks. B.t.w I don’t think I ever encountered that word outside of a Hindi textbook.

  3. While kartavya is duty, and uttardayitva is responsibility, farz can be used in both senses. One can even make do with karm. That’s what my dictionary tells me.

    As for “sach ka saath do,” we “uphold [the] truth.”

  4. “Uphold the truth” is much better indeed.
    If farz is used in both senses, so much the worse. karm I think has a religious or atleast spiritual overtone.

  5. what about majboori?

  6. Majboori is helplessness. The state of having to do something one does not want to do because there is no other choice.

    Murthy, stick to English 😉

  7. google translate says majboori == restraint, which is pretty close.

    In any case, I will take your advice and stop 🙂

  8. Re: “B.t.w I don’t think I ever encountered that word outside of a Hindi textbook.”

    I barely passed Hindi in school, but got that via an online translator and wondered if it was appropriate.

  9. Kartavya is Hindi and Farz is in Urdu. Both do not come from the same language, hence do not cause redundancy. It is just that Bollywood is Urdu’s last resort to sustain the language and we find a lot of urdu words understandable simply because of the fluency with which they are used in Bollywood

  10. Aparajita,
    Urdu’s last resort? Whose exactly?
    While the Urdu script is definitely in decline in India, Urdu and Hindi have merged into a language that is sometimes referred to as Hindustani. A very significant part of the vocabulary we use today comes from Urdu. For someone like me who has read little to nothing of Hindi literature apart from what was taught in school, often it is these Urdu words that first come to mind when I want to express something in Hindi/Urdu. Often I do not even know the corresponding Hindi words and if I do, they seem too unnatural.
    Also, Urdu is such a beautiful language with different words for subtly different shades of meaning that it lends itself very well to poetry and dialogue. I presume Urdu words are used in Bollywood because of this and not as any conscious effort on anybody’s part to sustain Urdu.

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