The allure of the enduring saga of Beckett lies in the conflict among two erstwhile, bosom friends, turned deadly foes.
In James Anthony Froude’s portrayal in his ‘Life and Times of Thomas Becket’ , Beckett comes out as a proud, calculating, scheming egotist who doesn’t flinch from bending august institutions to fight his personal battles with temporal power and to obscure his own past malfeasances as a laity Chancellor. And the other as perplexed, exasperated, accommodating, and concerned and sorry at the crumbling of a close relationship And sad and penitent that he is forced to cut, against his will, a Gordian Knot, with a bloody sword.
This story of Becket and Henry II, formed the basis for a 1973 Hindi movie, Namak Haraam, ( The one that was untrue to his salt.). The movie with the story adapted into a secular environment of the current times, depicts the ego clashes of two close friends, one rich and the other poor. After the rich man (Amitabh Bachan) employs his thick friend ( Rajesh Khanna) as a mole in the trade union in his factory, The latter then refuses to toe the line of his erstwhile benefactor. The rest of the story broadly follows the history on which it was based, meandering eventually to a like gory conclusion.
By the way, the slow and steady edging out of Rajesh Khanna from his high pedestal as the reigning super star of Bollywood of the time, (which inconspicuously, started with the movie Anand), in deference to the relentless onslaught of the taller new kid around the block, Amitabh Bachan, culminated with this movie unseating him once and for all from his exalted perch.
Here is a song from the movie pictured on Rajesh Khanna, before the hapless man embarks on his saintly course towards martyrdom.
First for my translation into English, then the original lyric in Roman script. The link is to a video clip of the song. The lyric’s refrain is a play on the difference in meanings of words like Daria and Saagar in Urdu and Hindi.
From rivers to the ocean, from the ocean to the pitcher, from the pitcher to the unfathomable deep, the goblet.
Oh, oh, oh, all the dusks of my entire life drain out into this deep, this goblet.
How would a teetotaler know, oh, why madmen booze ?
From the moment I’ve learnt to drink, I have learnt how to live, and , how to die too.
When we,are drunk and totter and putter around ,
Oh,oh, oh , quenched a bit are all our worries of the heart .
From rivers to the ocean…….
Why worry over poor me, my friend, i’m smitten with sorrows, My whole. existence now remains in staying inebriated.
Who isn’t drunk, some get drunk with pelf, my friend, and some are intoxicated by infatuation,
Yet, now, men bawl out at me, ‘Hey, you Drunkard.’,
Oh, oh, oh, i’m not sure, did I or didn’t I have a name at all in the past ?
From rivers to the ocean……
Nadiyaa se dariyaa, dariyaa se saagar.
saagar se geharaa jaam .
Ho ho ho jaam me doob gayee hai yaaron, mere jeean kee har shaam
Nadiyaa se dariyaa …
Jo na peeye woh kya jaane, peetae hai kyon ham deewaanae yaar ahaa
Jab sae hamne peenaa seekhaa, jeenaa seekhaa marnaa seekhaa yaar ahaa
Woh ham jab yoon nashae maen dagamagaanae lag gayae
Ho ho ho dil kee baechainee ko aayaa thodaa saa aaraam.
Nadiyaa sae dariyaa …
Meraa kya main gam kaa maaaraa, nashae mein aalam hai saaraa yaar ahaa
Kisee ko daulat ka nashaa, kaheen muhabbat ka nashaa yaaaar ahaa
Woh kahakar ay sharaabee sab pukaaraen ab mujhe
Ho ho ho aur koyee thaa yeh to nahin thaa pehalae maeraa naam
Nadiyaa se dariyaa …