(G.N.S) Dt. 28
Spring is upon us and what better evidence of it than the fruit trees covered with flowers of various enchanting colours around us? Soft pink peach blossoms, white apple blossoms and the pink-white apricot blooms, spreading their lovely colours and scents, painting the world anew.
Basant Panchami came in January. People donned yellow clothes, flew kites and enjoyed the rice tinged with yellow. “Basant Melas” were held in many villages and towns. Yellow is the symbol of the ripening crops and the joyous soul. Basant, with the beginning of warmth after months of cold, has never ceased to fascinate the human soul.
Just yesterday began the annual Vasantotsav at Raj Bhawan in the Doon valley, bringing together locals as well as tourists to celebrate spring amid flowers and music. The colours of spring delight each eye and make every heart rejoice in this rejuvenation of Nature.
We are in the “Phalgun Maas” according to the Indian calendar and the festival of colours, Holi, is almost here. However, the real festival of colours in this season is the inner celebration .The uplifting effect of the azure blue skies, the flower-laden boughs, the bird song in the mornings, the cool evening breeze and the various fragrances emanating from the flowers are the essence of spring.
The importance of Spring as a symbol of hope and a fresh start can be seen in all cultures. In our country, since ancient times, this has been celebrated as the season of love. Describing the Basant Ritu in his “Ritu Samhara”, renowned poet Kalidasa said, “Spring comes along as a mighty warrior, at the sight of whom the hearts of men flutter. He (Basant is personified and considered here to be masculine) beautifies everything he touches — the flowering trees, the water in the ponds. The women embellish themselves with striking dresses, flowers, chains of pearls, bangles and anklets. Even a drop of sweat on their faces looks adorable.”
Though this fascinating season has its distinct music in the chirping of the birds and buzzing of the bees among the lush green fields and gardens, the music which it gives rise to in the human heart found its way out in the form of “Raga Basant” long ago. Guru Nanak, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan Dev composed “Shabads” in this raga, which are in Guru Granth Sahib. Performed in slow tempo, this gentle melody depicts quiet joy. According to tradition, it is sung in the Sikh Gurdwaras from the festival of Maghi (after Lohri) till Hola Mohalla. It is indeed a divine experience to hear these shabads. The most popular shabad in the raga is “Dekh Phool Phool Phooley” and has been rendered by almost every “Raagi” with individual variations.
Shakespeare, who is believed to have written on every subject under the sun, wrote a poem titled “Spring” where he describes it as the time “When daisies pied, and violets blue, And lady-smocks all silver-white, And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue Do paint the meadows with delight.” Chaucer, the fourteenth century poet who is known as the “father of English Literature,” begins his famous “Canterbury Tales” with a description of this season of new life… “When April with his showers sweet with fruit the drought of March has pierced unto the root… The tender shoots and buds, and the young sun into the Ram one half his course has run, And many little birds make melody.”
All these descriptions by great poets underline that spring gives each one of us fresh hope and enthusiasm to carry on in life, despite all odds. It gives a song to every heart.
However, probably the most beautiful poem (nazm) on Spring has been written by renowned Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Titled “Bahaar Aayee” (Spring is here), it says “Bahaar aayee to jaisey yak baar laut aaye hain phir adum se woh khwaab saarey, shabaab saare, jo terey honton pe mar mittey thhe, jo mit kar ke har baar phir jeeye thhe/nikhar gaye hain gulaab saare/Bahaar aayi toh khul gaye hain/naye sirrey se hisaab saarey/bahaar aayee, bahaar aayee (With the coming of spring, once again have returned all those thoughts, all that youthfulness…roses have bloomed again which are fragrant with memories of you). Another Urdu poet says “Phool khiley shaakhon pe naye, aur dard puraane yaad aaye.” It is so true that spring brings with it bitter-sweet memories which give us pain. Yet the beauty of the season makes that pain a joyful experience.
(G.N.S) Dt. 28