Peace through Popular Music

  • Dr. Ronny Noor The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, U.S.A.
Keywords: Vedas, divine, deluge, love, peace, popular Hindi music, Gandhian philosophy, humanity versus fanaticism


This paper studies a number of popular songs by the singer of the millennium Mohammed Rafi from Hindi movies to show how they surpass the narrow bounds of organized religion to convey a universal message. Songs like “You will not become a Hindu nor a Muslim will you become” and “You’re there in the temples, in the mosques, and in all beliefs” convey a message proclaimed by the 15th century poet Chandidas: Above all is human, none else. It also relates to what Mahatma Gandhi said: God has no religion. Gandhi’s utterance is based on the idea that “god” is a moral force, a view which dates back to the Vedas, where Indra represents the good principle. This view was borrowed by the Persian Zarathustra, who came up with the concept of Ahura Mazda, later called Ormazd, representing the good principle as opposed to Ahriman, representing evil. This is the basis of monotheism, which Jews and Arabs borrowed. So the roots of Hinduism and Islam, as well as Christianity, are the same, whatever name the good principle is given. Thus, the message contained in popular songs can help people abandon their fanaticism, bigotry and violence, and make not only the Indian subcontinent but also the world a more peaceful place.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Dr. Ronny Noor, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, U.S.A.

Born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Ronny Noor is now an English professor at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, U.S.A. His essays, stories, and poems have appeared in The Toronto Review, Palo Alto Review, South Asian Review, Short Story, FreeXpresSion, The Weekend Independent, The Ghazal Page, The Daily Star, Kokako, and Contemporary Literary Review India. He is also the author of Snake Dance in Berlin (a novel), Slice of Heaven and Other Essays (a collection), and Where Heaven Spreads Wide & Other Stories (a collection).


1. Abou-Zaid, Mohamed. Omar Khayyam: Schöner als die Wildnis Kann Kein Paradies Sein. Köln: Hakim-Verlag. N.d.
2. Arnold, Matthew. “Dover Beach.” Texts and Contexts: Writing about Literature with Critical Theory. (Ed.) Steven Lynn. New York: Longman, 2011, pp 213-14.
3. Bengali, Shashank, and M. N., Parth. “Hindu Activists Organize Mass ‘Reconversion Camps’ in India.” Los Angeles Times. 25 Dec. 2014. Online. 27 Nov. 2019.
4. “Book Extract: Mohammed Rafi – Golden Voice of the Silver Screen.” Dnaindia. 3 Jan. 2016. Online. 2 Dec. 2019.
5. Cassirer, Ernst. An Essay on Man: An Introduction to a Philosophy of Human Culture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1944.
6. Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “Self-Reliance.” Selected Essays. New York: Penguin, 1985, pp 175-203.
7. Greenblatt, Stephen. The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve: The Story that Created Us. New York: Norton, 2017.
8. Hume, David. Selections from: An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding and A Treasure of Human Nature. La Salle, IL: Open Court, 1966.
9. “If Anyone Has the Voice of God, It Is Mohammed Rafi.” Rediff. 24 Dec. 2015. Online. 2 Dec. 2019.
10. Mascaro, Juan. “Introduction.” The Upanishads. New York: Penguin, 1965.
11. Pourafzal, Haleh, and Montgomery, Roger. “Haféz: Teachings of the Philosopher of Love.” Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 2004.
12. Purohit, Kunal. “Indian Court Ruling on Ayodhya Case Brings no Closure to Those Scarred by Deadly Riots.” This Week in Asia. 10 Nov. 2019. Online. 27 Nov. 2019.
13. Rafi, Mohammed. “Filmy Devotional Song of Rafi.” Nasir’s Eclectic Blog: 806. 19 Feb. 2011. Online. 14 Mar. 2019.
14. - - - . “Mohd Rafi Sings Tu Hindu Banega na Musalman Banega.” globeistan. 14 Aug. 2009. Online. 12 Mar. 2019.
15. - - - . “Ae Mohabbat Zindabad.” bollynook. Online. 14 Mar. 2019.
16. Rumi. “145 Inspirational Rumi Quotes on Love, Life & Happiness.” Quote Ambition. Online. 6 June 2018.
17. Schopenhauer, Arthur. “On Religion: a Dialogue.” Essays and Aphorisms. New York: 1970. 95-114.
18. - - - . “On Religion.” Essays and Aphorisms. New York: 1970. 180-97.
19. Sithraputran, Siva. “Malaysian Court Rules Use of ‘Allah’ Exclusive to Muslims.” Reuters. 14.
How to Cite
Noor, D. R. “Peace through Popular Music”. Contemporary Literary Review India, Vol. 8, no. 1, Feb. 2021, pp. 187-00,
Research Papers