In Summer 2018, University of Washington Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) fellows studied seventeen languages in eighteen different countries on four continents. This is the second in a series of posts with songs contributed by FLAS fellows and which capture summer moments from across the world. This post features India.
Miranda Benson (MPH Global Health, FLAS: South Asia, Hindi) spent the summer studying Hindi at the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) in Jaipur. Two songs will always remind her of this summer. She writes:
“Ek Ladki ko Dekha” is old, famous, and my favorite song we learned in class over summer.
A neighbor played “Made In India” very loudly every morning for the month of June! No wonder I came to love it :) It looks like it was released this June, and has been VERY popular.
AIIS is one of my favorite things ever. I’ve progressed with the language, gotten more confident and quick to speak, and feel really positive about my progress and abilities. The instructors are always helpful and thoughtful, and happy to adjust the program to students’ needs. Completely completely worth it.
My first thought in a song is the one I’m learning for the final project, “Ahista Ahista” by Farhan Akhtar. But then last week I was getting a shave at my neighborhood barbershop. At first, they put on American music when I came in. In all sincerity, they tried to please me by putting on the song “Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber. So I told the barbers I would quite prefer some music in Hindi/Urdu/Punjabi, and then we had an impromptu dance party to the new Punjabi hit, “Bom Diggy Diggy Bom Bom.”
As for songs–Kolkata is particularly proud of their heritage including Rabindranath Tagore, and as a result, “Rabindra Sangeet” [Tagore songs] remains an extremely popular genre of music across generations. One of my classmates here said he saw a radio for sale in a store that had a specific button you could press if you wanted to hear Rabindra Sangeet. Apart from that, songs from Hindi and Bangla films are both very popular here. This summer the Bangla film “Maati” premiered (and actually, my classmates and I somehow stumbled into the premiere event while seeing another film at the historic Priya Cinema hall). The film is about a girl who lives in West Bengal, India, but travels to Bangladesh to see her ancestral home. Whenever I’m at the Metro station, there seems to be a music video from the film playing, such as Nisha Lagilo Re. After putting it off for weeks, we finally went to go see the film this past weekend, and it was very enjoyable!
FLAS Fellowships are funded by the International and Foreign Language Education Office of the U.S. Department of Education. FLAS fellowships support undergraduate, graduate and professional students in acquiring modern foreign languages and area or international studies competencies. Students from all UW departments and professional schools are encouraged to apply. Find out more about the FLAS Fellowship here.