Sunday, August 16, 2009


This afternoon we were watching a TV programme, "India's got talent". It is a beautiful programme which show cases the best of Indian talent, in any field. The only requirement for winning is that the act should entertain people. The three judges are Shekhar Kapur, Sonali Bendre and Kiron Kher. There have been many acts performed on this show by people of all ages and from different strata of society - some individually, and some as part of a larger group. The creativity and talent of people from small towns and big cities of India is immeasurable, if only some one goes out and looks for it - this has already been proven in the numerous musical reality shows like, "Sa Re Ga Ma" and others. What amazed one was the creativity of people from relatively deprived sections of society; people who spend their time thinking of the bare necessities of life - roti, kapda and makaan(maybe).

This afternoon was a repeat telecast of a semi-final performance - six acts were performed. Each one of them was brilliant by itself; and it is left to the people of India, through votes, to decide on which two of these acts would propel the participants in to the finals. The act that impressed me the most was the one performed by a group of young people from the construction industry (they did not want to disclose what they did for a living so as not to bias the country into voting for them out of sympathy - these kids actually the know the meaning of hard work and self respect - God bless them). The TV footage though gave one an idea that they were construction workers. This bunch of kids were from Berhampur in Orissa.

The last time they had performed, it was just mind boggling - they had painted themselves with something like lead paint and had depicted the mythological events in Lord Krishna's life, including the famous Mahabharata scene in which Arjuna is on the chariot with Lord Krishna - it was done so beautifully and artistically that one actually felt that the horses of the chariot were moving. They had practiced and perfected this on the beach at Gopalpur, they said, as they do not have a large enough place to practice. The act was exceptional and showed their devotion to the art, their creativity, and rightfully so, they were selected by the judges for the next level. I found this video on youtube - though I must confess that it does not do full justice to the live act that we saw on TV.

In this next level, the semi-final, they performed another act with the Tricolour as their main theme, reason being that this show was being telecast around the independence day. The imagination, the use of colours and the depiction of the human flag(they had painted themselves in orange, white and green), in myriad ways, was so artistic that one could not help but admire them for their talent. The judges, the live audience were all spell bound and so were my wife and I, at home; and so would many more like us who had witnessed it on the TV.

These boys through their act gave many important messages - the most important ones being that, "one can always find the 'how', when one is convinced about the 'why' and also about modern management's bug bear - "teamwork and leadership". (Some of the team members are physically disabled, but are still accommodated in the acts). I do hope that this group reaches the finals and wins - Rs 50 Lakhs would change their lives for sure. The judges were very impressed and their comments were very insightful.

Kiron Kher and Sonali Bendre were impressed and gave glowing comments; Sonali also said that she personally would vote for them; but the comments by Shekhar Kapur had tears in his own eyes and also in those of us who were watching - my respect for him has grown with every episode of this programme that I have watched. His remarks were very incisive and showed his deep understanding of life. He said that each one of us performs, and progresses, in life while standing on the shoulders of the 'Jawan', the 'Kisan', and the 'Mazdoor'. Even our late PM Lal Bahadur Shastri had given us the slogan, "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan"; he had missed out the mazdoor.

This statement by Shekhar Kapur needs to be remembered, and more importantly internalised, so that we feel humbly obliged to treat them with the respect that they so truely deserve. Why?? Simply because they build the firm foundation on which we can grow our personal and professional lives; as also build the India of our dreams. Is this is what is meant by, "dignity of labour"?