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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Aaj kee raat tumhe vidya kee zaroorat nahee maayaa ki zaroorat hai

Film : Shree 420

Year of release : 1955

Spoken by : Seth Sonachand Dharmanand (Nemo)

Spoken to : Raj Kumar (Raj Kapoor)

This comes during Raj's interaction with Sonachand just before the MuD muD ke song. Vidya (which means knowledge) is Nargis' name in this film. Maya (which means illusion) is Nadira's name. Raj Kapoor had a fetish for this silly symbolism. You can see that in Sangam when the three people are reading Time, Life and Fortune. Here the symbolism is closer home. Maya has insulted Vidya at a party to which Raj had invited her. She runs out with Raj in hot pursuit. As Vidya goes out of the revolving door, Seth Sonachand comes in and sees Raj calling after Vidya. He pauses and says,

"आज की रात तुम्हे विद्या की ज़रूरत नहीं, माया की ज़रूरत है"

"Aaj kee raat tumhe vidya kee zaroorat naheeN, maya kee zaroorat hai"

which is a none-too-veiled reference to the fact that the party would involve a bit of gambling and in such a milieu, it is not knowledge but the illusive and elusive 'maayaa' that would be required.

Four decades of post-independence education in India were devoted to rote learning and 'collecting' knowledge for the heck of it. Vocational education or training was looked down upon. Though this trend is changing of late. Though there are still heavy school bags and school teachers focussing on learning by rote, the entire education system is slowly realising the fact that

'tumhe vidya kee zaroorat nahee maayaa kee zaroorat hai'

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