Radhabai Borhade of Savargaon in Beed district sang the first five grindmill songs that were featured on PARI on April 5, 2017. These were part of a series of ovi throughout this month dedicated to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar on the occasion of his birth anniversary on April 14.
Those five songs were dedicated to Buddha, Bhimrao, dhamma, sangha and Ramabai Ambedkar (Babasaheb’s first wife).
This last instalment of the series features 10 couplets by Radhabai in the lead with her strong voice, while others join in.
In the first ovi, Radhabai sings her sixth dedication to Jyotiba (Phule), social reformer, writer, thinker, whose critical work on many fronts included his opposition to the caste system.
In the second verse, she sings the seventh dedication to the Buddhist flag of five colours (that represents Buddhism throughout the world) – the flag speaks of Buddhism to seven crore people (This is a reference to the around 70 million Dalits in India at the time, to whom Babasaheb introduced Buddhism as a way to reject caste-based oppression).
In the third song, Radhabai ardently urges everyone to walk forward on the path of emancipation and to never give up education even when confronted with poverty. In the fourth couplet, the singer tells people to give up fighting and prevent the breaking up of their united group, and to remember the teachings of the Buddha. In the fifth verse, she reminds us that Babasaheb has brought Buddhism to the people and we must follow the principles of the faith.
In the sixth ovi, Radhabai urges people to stop worshipping strange gods of stone, to give up old rituals and traditions that have ruined society. In the seventh ovi, she asks her listeners to put an end to slavery and keep their self-respect alive, to remain united and strengthen the organisation of the people.
The eighth song speaks of lighting the lamp of knowledge and following the principles of panchsheel; the singer says that it is in our hands to make our lives better. In the ninth verse, she asks us to listen to Bhimrao’s message and follow the path of the Buddha dhamma.
In the tenth ovi, Radhabai sings the final dedication to Ambedkar: “I don’t know how many songs to dedicate to Bhimrao Ambedkar because even a hundred thousand couplets are not enough for our revered leader.”
सहावी माझी ओवी गं, जोतीबाला वंदन
बहुजन हितासाठी, कार्य केले नेमानं
सातवी माझी ववी गं, पंचरंगी झेंड्याला
बुध्द धम्म सांगतो, सात कोटी लोकाला
पुढे पुढे चला गं, उध्दाराच्या मार्गानं
आली जरी गरीबी, सोडू नका शिक्षणं
फाटाफूट सोडा गं, एकजूट असू द्या
बुध्दाच्या धम्माची, आठवण असू द्या
बुध्दधम्म देवूनी, बाबा गेले निघून
खरोखर करा आता, धम्माचे पालन
पुंजू नका अवलियाला, दगडाच्या देवाला
जून्या रुढ्या सोडा ग, समाज बुडाला
नष्ट करा गुलामी, स्वाभिमानं जागवा
एक एक मिळा गं, एक संघटना वाढवा
ज्ञानदिप लावा गं, करा पंचशील पालन
आपल्याचं हाती आहे, आपले कल्याणं
ऐका ऐका संदेश, बाबा भीमरायाचा
बुध्दाच्या धम्मानं, उध्दार जगाचा
किती वव्या गावू गं, माझी वाणी चालेना
एक लाख ववी, माझ्या भिमाला पुरेना
sahāvī mājhī ōvī ga jōtībālā vandana
bahujana hitāsāṭhī kārya kēlē nēmāna
sātavī mājhī vavī ga pañcaraṅgī jhēṇḍyālā
budhda dhamma sāṅgatō sāta kōṭī lōkālā
puḍhē puḍhē calā udhdārācyā mārgāna
ālī jarī garībī sōḍū nakā śikṣaṇa
phāṭāphūṭa sōḍā ga ēkajūṭa asū dyā
budhdācyā dhammācī āṭhavaṇa asū dyā
budhdadhamma dēvūnī bābā gēlē nighūnī
kharōkhara karā ātā dhammacī pālana
pūjū nakā avalayīlā dagaḍācyā dēvālā
jūnyā ruḍhyā sōḍā ga samāja buḍālā
naṣṭa karā gulāmī svābhimāna jāgavā
ēka ēka miḷā ga ēka saṅghaṭanā vāḍhavā
jñānadipa lāvā ga karā pañcaśīla pālana
āpalyāca hātī āhē āpalē kalyāṇa
aikā aikā sandēśa bābā bhīmarāyācā
budhdācyā dhammāna udhdāra jagācā
kitī vavyā gāvū ga mājhī vāṇī cālēnā
ēka lākha vavī mājhyā bhimālā purēnā
I dedicate my sixth song and respectfully bow to Jyotiba
He always strived for the benefit of bahujan
My seventh song is dedicated to the flag of five colours
It talks about Buddha dhamma to seven crore people
Keep moving along the path of emancipation
In spite of poverty, do not give up education
Leave your factions! Let us get united!
Let us remember the dhamma of Buddha!
Baba departed giving us the Buddha dhamma
Let us truly follow the principles of the Buddha dhamma
Do not worship strange gods of stone
Give up old traditions, society has been ruined
Put an end to enslavement, keep your self-respect alive
Come together one by one, strengthen the collective
Light the lamp of knowledge, follow panchsheel
Our welfare is in our own hands
Listen! Listen to the message of Baba Bhimraya!
Thanks to Buddha dhamma, the liberation of the world
How many songs should I sing, my voice is weak [from singing]
One lakh songs are not enough for my Bhim
Performer/Singer: Radha Borhade
Hamlet: Bhim Nagar
Caste: Nav Bauddha (Neo Buddhist)
Date: These songs and details were recorded on April 2, 1996.
Photos: Samyukta Shastri
Poster: Sinchita Maji