December 24, 1924. Christmas Eve.
| Enjoy this 55 minute program in celebration of Rafi Sahab's 80th Birthday.
Church bells must have pealed in the cantonment towns across British India. Holy Mass would have been said. Greetings would have been exchanged. Uniformed soldiers and gowned ladies must have partied at glittering balls.
In keeping with the nature of the people of the land, aspects of the ‘firangi’ culture were absorbed by the ‘natives’. The celebration of the birth of the Savior, long ago in a distant land, became part of the local tradition, without a religious connotation. “Bada Din” was observed by one & all as a festivity, an occasion for gaiety, gifts & greetings.
These celebrations would surely have been ignored by one family located in the far-flung northern provinces of the ‘raj’. Their own personal celebrations were anticipated, a trifle anxiously. Awaiting a birth in the family.
The wail of a new-born is cause for joy. It signifies life and hope. We can surmise that this baby’s first howl was at high decibels! Perhaps in later years the lisps and warblings of the infant were not exactly musical. Nor even his shouts and screams as a growing child. But teenage years and talent and tutelage transformed an ordinary, insignificant birth 80 years ago --- into one that is commemorated.
The sound of those bells faded into the distance that very night.
The voice of the new-born still resounds.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RAFI-SAHAB !