After listening to someone disparage India as a "land of snake charmers", Arjun Ballu Singh (Akshay Kumar ) impressed many with his response in the 2007 romantic comedy Namastey London. The speech was delivered in Hindi with Jasmeet "Jazz" Malhotra (Katrina Kaif) translating in English.
One of the highlights of the film, this short speech delivered facts to some, pride to others.
What makes the scene memorable is the directness and sincerity of Arjun as he talks about the achievements of the 5000 year old Indian civilization along with Jazz's increasing pride as she conveys this information to their non-Indian audience. While some of the ideas are lost in in translation, the spirit of the speech comes across loud and clear. I've included the original Hindi dialogue delivered by Arjun as well as the translation presented by Jazz.
Arjun: Namaste. Sir, mera naam hai Arjun Singh. 5000 saal purani sabhyata ki wajah se hum Hindustani sabko aise hi jhukke pranaam karte hai.
Jazz: When we greet one another, we fold our hands in namaste because we believe that God resides in the heart of every human being.
Arjun: Aisi sabhyata jisme ek Catholic aurat Pradhan mantri ki kursi, ek Sikh ke liye chhod deti hai aur, ek Sikh, pradhan mantri pad ki shapat, ek Muslim raashtrapati se leta hai, uss desh ki bhaag daud sambhal ne ke liye jisme 80 pratishat log Hindu hai.
Jazz: We come from a nation where we allow a lady of Catholic origin to step aside for a Sikh to be sworn in as Prime Minister by a Muslim President to govern a nation of over 80 percent Hindus.
Arjun: Aapki matra bhasha Angreji puri duniya mein sabse zyada hamare hi desh mein ghasi jaati hai. Aur aapko shaayad ye bhi nahi pata hoga ki Angreji ki zyaadatar shabd, Sanskrit se liye gaye hai. Sanskrit ka shabd "maatra", Angreji mein "mother" bana, "bhratra" bana "brother", "gaamiti" bani "geometry", aur "trikonmiti" bani "trigonometry".
Jazz: It may also interest you to know that many of the origins of your English words come from Sanskrit. For example, "maatra" becomes "mother", "bhratra" becomes "brother", "giamiti" becomes "geometry", and "trikonniti" becomes "trigonometry".
Arjun: Aapko shayad ye baat dilchasp lage ki hamare yahaan 21 bhashao mein, 5,600 akhbaar aur 3,500 magazines chapti hai, jinko padhne waalo ki sankhya 12 crore hai. Aapke desh ke muqable mein kayi zyaada hai.
Jazz: We have 5,600 newspapers, 35,000 magazines in over 21 different languages with a combined readership of 120 million.
Arjun: Chaand tak pahunch gaye hum. Lekin ab bhi aap logon ko hum Hindustaniyon ke haath mein saap ki been hi nazar aati hai.
Jazz: We have reached the moon and back yet you people still feel that we have only reached as far as the Indian rope trick.
Arjun: Doctors, engineers aur scientists ki ginti mein. Janaab hum sirf do mulko se peeche.
Jazz: We are the third largest nation in the world of doctors, engineers, and scientists.
Arjun: Hai ye thi dimag ki baat, ab karte hai taakat ki. Duniya mein sabse badi teesri fauj hamara yaha hai, aapke yaha nahi. Phir bhi, main aapke saamne jhuk ke aapko pranaam karata hoon, kyun ki hum kisi ko apne aap se chhota ya kamzor nahi samajhte. Namaste!
Jazz: Maybe your grandfather didn't tell you that we have the third largest army in the world. And even then, I fold my hands in humility before you because we don't believe that we are above or beneath any individual.
If you like this, check out our other posts or leave a comment.