Friday, December 08, 2006

Lullaby contest, Malaysia

A family that sings together, stays together. Or so a Malaysian state would try to establish in a lullaby singing contest to find the best crooners among 42 couples to have put in their names.

The contest in Kelantan, believed to be the first of its kind, aims to promote “family love” and togetherness and improve mothering skills of young wives. “It shows that the family comes first in the lives of everyone here,” State Women Committee chairperson Abdul Fatah Mahmud was quoted as saying by The Star newspaper. He added that it was part of the state’s commitment to promote the healthy and harmonious family institution with religious elements.

I had written and set to melody a lullaby, in Bangla, in 1998. I had been inspired by observing the fierce protective love of a mother in Priya Manna Basti for her children. I would be happy to offer this to any of the contestants in Malaysia!

Here is the song, together with a translation.

Khoka Khuki

Khoka khuki shikh-tey hobey
Khat-tey hobey tomaarkey
Mayer aador kaboch hoyey
Shongey tomaar thakbey

Nayan moni nijer payey
Haanthtey hobey tomaarkey
Shoja pothey maatha tuley
Choltey hobey tomaarkey

Lekha poda shikley tumi
Maanush hotey paarbey
Aloye eshey alo tomaar,
Alo diteyi thakbey

Podtey shekho jiban keyo
Podtey tumi paarbey
Likhtey giyey nijer jiban
Nijeyi tumi likhbey

Parichanna rakhbey tumi
Sharir aar montakey
Shusto shastyo money praney
Maanush okei koyey

Haanthtey geley aachad kheyey
Baetha hobey manjhey manjhey
Mayer koboch pratikhoney
Thakbey tomaar shoney

Little boy, little girl

Little boy, little girl, you must learn
You have to work hard
Your mother’s love, like armour
Will be with you

Jewel of my eye, on your own feet
Must you stand
On the straight path, head held high
So must you walk

If you learn to read and write
You will become human
Coming to light, your light
Will keep giving light

Learn to read, you will be able
To read life
By writing, your own life
Shall you write

Clean must you keep
Your body and mind
A healthy body, mind and life
Is what’s called human

When you try to walk, you will stumble
You will get hurt from time to time
But your mother’s armour
Shall be with you every moment

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