Reading Gulzar – Salaam Keejiye

The last in this series of songs from ‘Aandhi’, this is my favourite. And the reason for it is the same as the answer to the succinct question put forth by the late great Adam Smith, the venerable father of Economics, “Why are diamonds so damn expensive when they have such little use?!

The answer, of course, is because they are so rare to come by. (Smith thought it was because of the labour involved in getting them. This proves that when the father himself had no clue, it is pretty natural that the child, who, in turn, fathered this capitalist, lusty society, is still an enigma. And precisely why we continue to have catastrophes such as the Great Recession.)

Coming back to deliberating on ‘Aandhi’ and Gulzar, the song is my favourite because it belongs to a very rare breed songs. Satire, specifically political satire, as is the case here, is a theme gravely missing from Hindi film music. Although we’ve had great satirists, songs have suffered, and for similar reasons as satire itself – you need a functioning brain to understand them. In fact, the only other song, with similar themes, that I can recall is ‘Haal-chaal theek-thaak hai…‘ from ‘Mere Apne’. Any guesses who wrote that song, and directed that film?


Film: Aandhi

Music: R. D. Burman

Singer: Mohammad Rafi, Bhupinder Singh, and Amit Kumar

Lyrics: 🙂

Here goes…

Salaam Keejiye

Salaam keejiye aayeen hain Aartidevi,

Ye thekedar hain Bharat ki, Bharatidevi…

Salaam keejiye aali janaab aayein hain,

Ye paanch saalon ka dene hisaab aayein hain…


Jo in khudaaon ko sajda kare na kaafir hai,

Bus ek vote nahin hai, ye jaan haazir hai,

Bahut laagaye-utaare hain naam ke label,

Chalai kursiyaan, humne jamaayein hai table,

Hisaab deejiye, hum behisaab aayein hain…

To milkar, salaam keejiye…


Humaare vote khareedenge hum ko ann dekar,

Ye nange jism chhupa detein hain kafan dekar,

Ye jaadugar hain ye chutki mein kaam karte hain,

Ye bhook-pyaas ko baaton se Ram karte hain,

Humaare haal pe likhne kitaab aayein hain…

Are bhai is liye, salaam keejiye…


Humaari zindagi apni hai, aap ki to nahin,

Ye zindagi hai gareebi ki, paap ki to nahin,

Ye vote denge magar ab ke yoon nahin denge,

Chunaav aane do hum aap se nipat lenge,

Ke pehle dekh lein kya inqalaab layein hain,

Ha ha ha, ye inqalaab layein hai, haan! Salaam keejiye…


Salaam keejiye aali janaab aayein hain,

Ye paanch saalon ka dene hisaab aayein hain…


There’s no poetry on the silver screen of Hindi cinema like Gulzar’s. If there’s a song you want the words to, please let me know in the comments below.


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