By Arré Bench Jul. 24, 2021
Narrated by Rajkummar Rao, Spotify’s collection of stories #RukJaanaNahi is a radically intimate telling of the exemplary courage and empathy shown by India’s ordinary people in the face of widespread hopelessness and despair.
To edify stories of courage, kindness and empathy that India’s common people showed during the pandemic and add to them a sense of permanence, Rajkummar Rao narrates stories of people who stepped up to help others during the pandemic with the Spotify podcast #RukJaanaNahi.
Each week, Rao shares #Storiesofhope, tales of people who stepped forward and made a positive impact during the pandemic. In a recent episode titled ‘A place to rest’, for example, the actor talks to Versha Verma, Madhusmita Prusty and Merajuddin Khan, three bravehearts who conducted funerals for grieving families, ensuring their loved ones received a dignified last send-off.
The Spotify podcast is introduced by a moving poem written by Swandand Kirkire. Narrated with trademark gravitas by the ace actor, the poem enunciates the courage of those we haven’t heard or seen enough of, the silent battles people have fought for survival.
Chahe kathin ho ghadi, aye dil sun
Tu zaraa bhi ghabraana nahin
Kirkire appeals to everyone to keep their faith, trust their faculties to fight through these difficult times. To the hopeless the poet appeals to have the fortitude of the many stories that have become inspiration for all of us.
Aisi kai misaalen mulk mein hai
Tu sun le unkaa afsaanaa
Ek rikshawala hai jisne
Mann mein bas itna hai thana
Bina shulk ke niswartha bhaav
Bimaar ko hospital pahunchana
Kirkire weaves several such examples of selfless sacrifice that have littered the short, macroscopic memory of the pandemic and will soon become its distilled history. It’s after all the story of the human spirit, of the most basic of humanly instincts – care. He writes:
Hum sab is desh ke baashinde
Yahan koi shakhs begaana nahin
Har dil mein goonj rahi ek baat
Aye di tu Ruk jaana nahin
We might look at the world through the coldness of tattered glass, but it is at the end of the day, salvaged by the same flaws that make it imperfect, yet worth fighting and risking everything for. #RukJaanaNahi is a timely reminder that despite its problems and inner frictions, people, especially in India retain a sense of humanism, of rising to the occasion when called upon.
To listen to Spotify’s podcast #RukJaanaNahi, click here.