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Songs of Education

Posted on 20/04/2022 on Trivia – The Spice of Life

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In the good old days when we were growing up, there was only Doordarshan (DD) to watch; on DD, there was one particular song – पढ़ना-लिखना सीखो ओ मेहनत करने वालों – penned by the playwright Safdar Hashmi which was frequently shown. This song emphasized the importance of education as an agent of change and a sine qua non for economic and social upliftment – especially among adults. Movies too have been made on the importance of education by highlighting the woes of the illiterate.

The mantra given to our generation was – Padhoge likhoge to banoge nawaabKheloge kudoge to banoge kharaab ( पढ़ोगे लिखोगे बनोगे नवाब, खेलोगे कूदोगे तो होगे ख़राब meaning if you study well you will become a king and if you only play around you will get nowhere). This was an extreme position where sport was denigrated. To emphasize the role sport plays in life and its depiction in cinema, I had written a post a long time ago, on songs where a sport is shown being played, , the link of which is shared.

There can be no disagreement about how important it is to be literate, if not educated. Many of our uneducated helpers at home and in office have thankfully realized this fact and are sending their children to school. They do not want the next generation to suffer like them.

The famous Sanskrit Shloka below talks of how knowledge/education bestows discipline, from discipline comes worthiness, from worthiness one gets wealth, from wealth (one does) good deeds, from that (comes) joy. Education is expected to bring a certain degree of refinement in a person. Whether it actually does or not in practice is something one can endlessly debate upon.

विद्या ददाति विनयम,
विनयाद् याति पात्रताम् ।
पात्रत्वात् धनमाप्नोति,
धनात् धर्मं ततः सुखम् ॥

This shloka above perhaps summarizes the sum and substance of education. Having said this, it must be mentioned here the definition of education or what it entails could be different for different people. Sant Kabir had a completely different take on education. For him, bookish knowledge was inconsequential. Learning the language of love and compassion was what made a person erudite, according to Kabir.

पोथी पढ़ि पढ़ि जग मुआ, पंडित भया न कोय |
ढाई आखर प्रेम का, पढ़े सो पंडित होय ||

While one is on the subject of education, who can forget Pink Flyod’s song penned by Roger Waters – We don’t need no education. As one can see, two negatives make a positive and so the line technically means that we need education. It is more a critique of an educational system which, instead of channelizing the talents of young people in a customized fashion, throttles their creativity by following a very rigid pedagogy.

We don't need no education
We don't need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teacher, leave them kids alone
Hey, teacher, leave them kids alone

The ground is now set for drawing a playlist of the different takes on education in film songs – especially of the golden era. There are diverse views on education in film songs – underlining its importance, sneering at the sheer uselessness of learning historical facts, mocking the lack of logic in grammar, criticizing the educational system for not imparting vocational education, and last but not the least, redefining education. The words to look out for are – पढ़ाई लिखाई and degree. The songs are not arranged in any particular order.

1) Tie Lagake Mana Ban Gaye Janaab Hero (Bhabhi, 1957) Lyricist : Rajendra Krishan; Music Director : Chitragupt; Playback Singer : Lata Mangeshkar. This light hearted song featuring Nanda and Jagdeep is a pleasure to watch. Jagdeep who is in college is not too great in studies. But he is very well dressed. Nanda pokes fun saying that his sartorial taste is good but when it comes to academics, he is a cipher. There is perhaps a subtle message that it is more important to focus on your studies than on your outer appearance.

Tie lagaake maanaa 
ban gaye janaab hero
rahe padhaai yaa likhaai
 mein to zero zero

2) Sikander Ne Porus Se Ki Thi Ladai (Anpadh, 1962) Lyricist : Raja Mehdi Ali Khan; Music Director : Madan Mohan; Playback Singer : Mahendra Kapoor. This is yet another light hearted song which has the right punches packed. Pot-shots are taken at the lack of utilitarianism in learning history, the oddities of English phonics, the education system where graduates and post graduates are either unemployed or underemployed and the halwai who though uneducated is financially well off, even as he adopts unfair practices. Mahendra Kapoor lends his voice to Mohan Choti on screen, who pulls the song off with ease. One may not agree with the lyrics completely, for it is difficult to look at every discipline through the lens of utility.

Sikandar ne Porus se ki thi ladai
jo ki thi ladayi, to main kya karun

jo P U T put hain, to B U T but hain
zamaane ka dastur kitna ulat hain

padhaate hain sab mujhko ulti padhaayi
hain ulti padhaai to main kya karun

hain jaahil Ghasita, magar khaye halwa
ye har roz lute, mithaayi ka jalwa
ye dudh mein pani, milata hain bhaai
na aaye malayi, to main kya karun

ye B.A. haiN lekin chalae ye thhela
ye M.A. hain lekin ye beche karela

agar tin din se ye bhukhha hain bhai
jo bhukhha hain bhai, to main kya karun

3) Padhoge Likhoge Banoge Nawab (Malik, 1958) Lyricist : Shakeel Badayuni; Music Director : Ghulam Mohammad; Playback Singer : Asha Bhosle. Ghulam Mohammad’s music carries the stamp of his mentor Naushad in this song. This song echoes the conventional approach to curricular and co-curricular (which earlier were called extra curricular) facets. If you study, you will prosper; but if you play, your future will be in darkness. A lot of water has flown down the bridge and now we are at a stage where the importance of both is well-recognized. This song whose audio alone is available is sung by Asha Bhosle, who perhaps lends her voice to an actress who plays a school teacher on screen. It is the same dictum that is repeated:-

Padhoge likhoge banoge nawab tum banoge nawaab
jo kheloge kudoge hoge kharaab tum hoge kharaab

jo bache kabhi likhte padhte nahin
 wo izzat ki sidhi pe chadhte nahin
yahin din hain padhne ke pad lo kitaab

4) Likho Padhoge To Aage Badhoge (Barood, 1960) Lyricist : Hasrat Jaipuri; Music Director : Khayyam ; Playback Singers : Lata Mangeshkar and Md.Rafi. This is a song wherein an attempt is being made to instil the right values in Honey Irani (the child artist). The child is being advised to focus on studies and play only when there is a break. Anyone who is illiterate is not respected in society. This song does not denigrate sport. It only talks of the importance of learning. There is another version of the song where the couple is perhaps searching for Honey Irani by singing this familiar song.

Likho-padhoge to aage badhoge
sitaaron se uunchaa tumhaaraa hogaa naam
samjhe naa

chhutti mile to khilaunon se khelo
jaldi se phir tum kitaabon ko le lo
ji naa churaao
 baatein naa banaao
jaahil rahoge to hoge badnaam

5) Meethi Meethi Baaton Se Bachna Zara (Qaidi No.911) Lyricist : Hasrat Jaipuri; Music Director : Dattaram Wadkar ; Playback Singers : Lata Mangeshkar and Daisy Irani. This song is very similar to the one above from Barood – with two versions. Nanda is trying to teach Daisy Irani to be worldly wise. Daisy is fully convinced and happily agrees to all that is said. A promise is made that studies will be top priority. These songs completely echo the sentiment of the bygone era of education being the only tool for achieving success. A rather sublime idea of knowledge being something that even a thief cannot steal is enunciated.

Khoob tez hain ilm jise
koi chor bhi le na sake
khoob tez hain ilm jise
koi chor bhi le na sake
bhar le khazaana
tera zamaana
jag mein rahegaa teraa naam sadaa
mehnat se din raat padhoongaa
pahla number pass karoongaa...

Khel kood mein khona nahin
baat baat mein rona nahin....

6. BA MA PhD Yeh Diplomaay Yeh degree (Badnaam Farishtey, 1971) Lyricist : Asad Bhopali; Music Director : N.Datta ; Playback Singer : Md. Rafi. This one of its kind song with Rafi lip syncing for 12 actors on screen, is about employment among the educated. This song has been analysed in detail on atulsongaday. The lyrics pretty much sum up the disappointment at not securing white collared jobs despite being graduates and post graduates. As a result, youth are compelled to become entrepreneurs and this is conveyed in a rather condescending manner. They are seen selling their wares as they sing this song.

ye diplomaay ye degree
ho gaye jab bekaar
to hum ko karnaa padaa vyopaar

7) Humse Nain Milaana BA Paas Karke (Aankhen, 1950) Lyricist : Raja Mehdi Ali Khan; Music Director : Madan Mohan ; Playback Singers : Mukesh & Shamshad Begum. This is a hilarious duet sung on stage. The lady want his man to become a graduate – a B.A. to be precise. She will not settle for anything less. In many a movie of the golden era, the male lead is shown as a Bachelor of Arts. That would command a lot of respect in society. Nalini Jaywant and Dev Anand are in the audience, watching the performance. I do not recognize the actors on stage. The man claims to be ishq mein MA paas.

Humse nain milaana BA paas karke
humse preet lagaana BA pass karke
BA pass karke mohe degree dikhaao ji
ye hain BA ki degree gori gusse mein na aao

apni ye char sau bees kisi aur pe chalaao
jaao ye hain jhoothi degree
isko koode me phenk aao....

humko gusaa na dilaanaa bakwaas kar ke
humse preet lagaana BA paas kar ke

8) Likh Padh Padh Likh (Kangan, 1959) Lyricist : Rajendra Krishan; Music Director : Chitragupt ; Playback Singers : Geeta Dutt & Usha Mangeshkar. This is a song where the mother (Nirupa Roy) is teaching her child (Daisy Irani) to focus on his studies. All disciplines are touched upon as she asks him various questions. She also imparts some lessons of moral science. The song is adorable with the underlying idea being the importance of education.

Likh padh padh likh
likh pad ke
achha achha raja beta bann

apne liye nahin
auron ke liye hain
yeh tera tan man

9) B.A. M.A PhD (Adhikaar, 1954) Lyricist : Prem Dhawan; Music Director : Avinash Vyas ; Playback Singer : Asha Bhosle. This stage song featuring Usha Kiran reminds one of the superhit song of Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak – Papa Kehte Hain Bada Naam Karega – penned by Majrooh Sultanpuri several years later. Here are all the girls wondering what they will do later in life as they have completed college education. The possibilities are endless. Marrying and settling down as a homemaker too is an option suggested – perhaps the most underrated but also the most challenging one. Medicine, acting, teaching – all are mentioned in the song. This song is actually quite optimistic as it does not talk of unemployment or underemployment.

BT Bcom BSc
degree le kar baithe hain sab
karenge kyaa ab socho jee
socho jee bolo jee

10) Pothi Padh Padh Jag Mua (Saawan Ko Aane do, 1979) Lyricist : Fauq Jami; Music Director : Raj Kamal. Saawan Ko Aane Do is the story of a talented simpleton from the village making it big in the world of music. Thus, the story revolved round music. The songs of this movie – many of which were rendered by Yesudas – are memorable. Raj Kamal was the music director, who did not direct music for too many films. This song marks the ending of the movie with a happy reunion of the lead couple. It starts with Kabir’s doha which means that reading books does not make a person learned. It is only the one who learns the language of love who can be considered to be learned in the real sense. There can be different views on this dictum. I would feel that both are important – compassion and education. Education too needs to have a theoretical bookish base on which is built the edifice of practical learning.

Pothi padh padh jag mua, pandit bhaya na koy
dhai akshar prem ka, padhe so pandit hoy
teri tasvir ko seene se laga rakha hain
humne duniya se alag gaanv basa rakha hain

As I end this post on songs of education, I feel I too have got educated while writing this. There are such diverse views on education and employment that one comes across in these songs. Many are songs with child artists who are taught by the female lead to focus on studies. I am reminded of how my mother would get after us siblings to study when we were children. These are songs our generation can perfectly relate to. There are sure to be many more such songs. Please do add them, if you happen to read this post.

Disclaimer claims no credit for any image, screenshots or songs posted on this site. The images and screenshots are the copyright of their original owners. The song links are shared from Daily Motion, YouTube and other platforms only to make the post audio visual. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies.

7 thoughts on “Songs of Education

  1. Very interesting and enjoyable.
    The first two songs I could recollect were Likh padh padh likh from kangan and BA M A PhD from Adhikar.
    Glad to see the songs on your list.
    Though out of your usual timeline, I would add,

    Main hoon gaon Ki Gori from Bol Radha Bol.

    Though not exactly fitting, I remembered one nonfilm song by Shaan.

    Love o logy


  2. The Irani sisters must have become studious indeed, if all these solicitous didi log in their films got their way!

    Given that I am listening to these songs when I probably ought either to be correcting my students’ papers or writing my own dissertation, they cleave very close to home. I am especially impressed with the one from “Saawan Ko Aane Do.” I love films about musicians, so I shall have to seek it out.


    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Shelomit! I am not sure how much on screen gyaan stays with actors once the film is done!!
      Glad you found the post topical. Saawan ko aane do is a pretty watchable movie with lovely songs. There were 8 lyricists who wrote songs for this movie. Must be a record of sorts.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Anita,
    Nice write-up and excellent selection of songs. Fortunately, now a days schools and parents aim for a more rounded education. In the 50s there was no room for sports, it was a waste of time. These days it is an uplifting sight to see young mothers chaperoning their kids to tennis courts and wait while they are being trained by the coach sir.


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