Time capsules from a bygone era

A pre-independence Gramophone records company under the banner of ‘Young India Records’ just made a huge collection of its recordings public in digital form. These have been released by the British Library publicly on its website’s Sounds archives (link below).

Upon trawling through the entire collection of 1427 records, I found some rather amusing and intriguing ones, which I shall share now.

A speech by Subhas Chandra Bose

A rather interesting piece of history captured here, with Bose delivering a call to the nation, in Queen’s English with a hint of Bengali accent which was the norm it seems during those British era days. He is canvassing for Congress after the 1937 elections probably, as he mentions its victories at one point. Also mentions student movements in Russia, France and Italy!

A Congress election jingle ‘Viceroy milan ko jaana’

Now this is really interesting. A Congress election song that asks voters to select Congress, so they can get to meet the Viceroy !! And amusingly, it is set to the tune of ‘Piya Milan ko Jaana’, a Bombay film song, which must have been a smash hit at that time. Well played, I guess, given how strict the censors were at the time for any political themes.

A radio play on Jahangir

This is a short radio play on the fabled justice of Jahangir, the Mughal emperor. The whole play is in verses and presents interesting themes, where the emperor has to take a call on justice when his own wife Nur Jahan is involved in a crime against a non-Muslim subject.
Adl-e-Jahangir | Part 1              Adl-e-Jahangir | Part 2

Meri Wafaayein yaad karoge

This ghazal seems similar to one by one of the lesser known poets : Mohammad Deen Taseer, which was re-worked by Sameer in 90s film Sainik (starring Akshay Kumar). Some of the words seem to have been changed in both versions from the original ghazal. In anycase this is performed by a singer named Manohar Kapoor.
And the version by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

And this one in full 1990s innocent, cheesy glory 🙂

And finally the link to access the whole collection of 1427 records, on British Library’s online archive :
Here is hoping you unearth more gems!