Veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan often remembers his father, poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan, on his television show Kaun Banega Crorepati. Remembering the life lessons that his late dad taught him, Big B frequently revisits the fond memories that he shared with the renowned poet. The senior actor once recalled a pivotal moment from his youth on his blog when he asked his father ‘Aapne humein paida kyun kiya? (Why did you bring me into this world?)’
The blog from June 2008 has Bachchan talking about his newly found independence after his schooling was over and his college days had just begun. The actor wrote about “exposure to the ‘complex’ world” that was now his domain after the protective life he had lived during his boarding school days. “From being told what to do, you are now telling what should be done. Almost overnight you become the saviors of the world and of humanity with your idealistic and non idealistic utterances,” he wrote.
He also wrote about a particular kind of “frustration” that one feels after realising the “added pressure of the future.” “The anger of not knowing what to do with ourselves,” he wrote.
It was in this anger that a young Amitabh once stormed into his father’s study and questioned him. He recalled, “Angered, frustrated, strengthened and armed with unreasonable thought, I walked into my father’s study one evening and for the first time in my life, with choked emotion, raised my voice at him and screamed – Why did you give birth to me? Aapne humein paida kyun kiya?”
He further recalled, “My father, immersed as he always was in his writing, looked up at me with some initial surprise and then settled down to a more understanding posture and remained so for almost eternity. No one spoke. Not him. Not me. Not a sound.” When no one said anything, Amitabh left the room. He said that it was “an uncomfortable night” for him.
He then recalled that next morning, his father woke him up, and handed him a sheet of paper with a poem titled – Nayi Leek.
To answer Amitabh’s question, Harivansh Rai Bachchan had written a poem. Big B translated the poem on his blog and a part of it reads, “My sons ask me – Why did you give birth to us? And I do not possess an answer to this. That even my father did not ask me before giving birth to me. Nor my father asked his father before producing him. Nor my grandfather did ask his father before bringing him.” The poem concluded with his father showing him a new direction and how he could change the ways of the world. “Why don’t you make a new beginning, a new thinking, ask your sons before giving birth to them,” he wrote.
Amitabh then summarised the poem in the conclusion and wrote, “There are no excuses in life and no blame. Every morning is a fresh challenge. Either you learn to pick up the gauntlet and fight or learn to surrender to it. So long as there is life, there is struggle!”
Harivansh Rai Bachchan passed away in 2003 at the age of 96.