Indian connection with Algeria

Away from India, when overseas calling……..

Jaane tu yaa jane naa….

I was surprised when some Algerian came shouting …hey… hindu..hindu ( they use to call Indian people as Hindu) and asked me about this song. Being an Indian walking first time in Algerian soil, though France, as well as European influence on Algerian people  is visible every where as you will find most Algerian men, and some younger women wear European-style clothing but their attraction towards Indian people are beyond imagination.

I was overwhelmed seeing the interest Algerian people have for Indian and particularly their query about this song from old Hindi movie Aaa Gale Laag Jaa. Indian connection with Algeria!!

What I understood that all over Algeria, people are too much interested to know more about Indian people, Indian movies, and Indian culture. Credit definitely goes to Zee Aflam. Based in Dubai, Zee Aflam is the first Pan-Arab free-to-air movie channel dedicated to Bollywood movies, packaged in Arabic. Zee Aflam has a unique 24-hour film programming showcasing different genres of Bollywood including romance, comedy, action, and drama – from the latest blockbusters to timeless classics.

Apart from Arabic sub-titles, selected movies in Zee Aflam are dubbed in Arabic to perfection further enhancing the appeal of the channel to the region’s audience and thus Algerian people are well aware of Hindi movies and are attracted to Indian people when they see someone on street. But this song …jaane Tu Yaa Jaane Naa…has a special appeal on the emotion of Algerian people in general as this movie Aag gale lag Jaa was telecast in Zee Aflam and also in Algeria television many times and it succeeded to touch soft corner in their heart and same is abundantly exposed when you,  I mean,  an Indian,  is in a face to face contact with an Algerian.

Even, I am surprised to learn that some old men and ladies even can sing this song…. jane tu yaa jane na even though they do not understand its meaning. In search of Indian connection with Algeria, you will be surprised to know that   A Rajasthani folk troupe visited Algeria in 2001. An 8-member Sufiana Kathak group came to Algeria in August 2003, which also participated in the International Festival in Timgad. Even, there is a street in the capital city Algiers named after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Ist. Prime Minister of Independent India.

The diplomatic relations between India and Algeria were established in July 1962, the year Algeria gained independence from French colonial rule. Since the beginning, the relations between the two countries have been warm and cordial.

It literally touches my heart to see this boundless attraction of Algerian people towards Indian. Where is India and where is Algeria. Algeria, a North African country,  borders Tunisia and Libya to the east; Niger, Mali, and Mauritania to the south; Morocco and Western Sahara to the west; and the Mediterranean Sea to the north. It covers a total of 919,595 square miles (2,381,751 square kilometers), making it the second-largest country in Africa (after Sudan), and the eleventh largest in the world.

Almost nine-tenths of this area is composed of the six Saharan provinces in the south of the country; however, 90 percent of the population, and most of the cities, are located along the fertile coastal area known as the Tell, or hill in Northern Algeria where this beautiful city Skikda is situated with the huge coastline.

Just roaming around beautiful sea beaches of the Mediterranean sea on a summer evening in this Oil Refinery city Skikda, you will find thousands of people loitering and swimming on blue seawater.

From some distant restaurant, you may hear the voices of famous singer Khaled,s some popular number. Khaled Hadj Ibrahim, better known as Khaled, is a rai ( traditional Algerian folk music) singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, born in a city named Oran, Algeria. Indians are well aware of his signature song, “Didi”, which became extremely popular in the Arabic-speaking countries and also in several other countries, including Europe, where it entered top charts in France, Belgium and Spain, and in Asian countries, including India and Pakistan. The song was also used in a Bollywood film titled Shreeman Aashiq.  Surprisingly, you will find an Indian connection with Algeria in the music field also with Algeria through Khaled.

He began recording in his early teens under the name Cheb Khaled (Arabic for “Young Man” Khaled, as opposed to the traditionalist Sheikh elders) and has become the most internationally famous Algerian singer in the Arab world and across many continents. His popularity has earned him the unofficial title “King of Raï”( Traditional Algerian folk music). You will love to  His most famous songs as “Aicha” and “C’est La vie”.

Algerians are known for their hospitality and generosity.  There are ample numbers of roadside cafeteria which are open till late at night. You will be definitely served tea or famous Algerian black coffee popularly known as Kahwah after traditional salam with touching right cheek with right and then left one with the left cheek. Going a step further, you will find some Algerian to greet you with Hindi word..Kaisa hai. You will be surprised to know that the same in Arabic is Keifa haluke. See the Indian connection with Algeria!

When invited to a home, you can have the taste of the national dish of Algeria named as couscous, steamed semolina wheat served with lamb or chicken, cooked vegetables, and gravy.

This is so basic to the Algerian diet that its name in Arabic, ta’am, translates as “food.” If you are really lucky, you can have a taste  of couscous, served with sweet, flavored with honey, cinnamon, or almonds. Lamb also is popular, and often is prepared over an open fire and served with bread. This dish is called mechoui. If you go for breaking fast I mean Iftar during ramadan, you will be served with most common foods as chorba, a spicy soup; or dolma, a mixture of tomatoes and peppers, and of course, bourek, a specialty of Algiers consisting of mincemeat with onions and fried eggs, rolled and fried in batter. When it,s time to say see off, they may say in Arabic…,Fil Amen, surprisingly similar to Hindi Phir Milenge. Note the Indian connection with Algeria.

One day, I was invited to a local marriage ceremony. Marriage is generally celebrated mixed with French culture and often there is a song and dance session popularly known as lombions. The bridegroom comes in a caravan with a continuous horn in their brand new vehicles often termed as Cortes……In a night marriage ceremony, you will have to rise up out of your seat and began dancing to the hard-driving, bassy rhythm and singing along to the nonsensical yet unforgettable chorus “Di-di ouah, di-di, di-di-di-di zidine!” of Khaled song.

Surprisingly there is no political instability in Algeria as compared to other middle east Muslim countries. Young people, I find more or less like Indian young people. Eager to know more. In this era of mobile culture, generally, you will find young boys and girls with mobile headphones on ears listening to music. Khaled is still their favorite singer even though he is now settled in France. Even, recently I heard a duet song of Khaled with some Indian lady singer in Arabic and Hindi.

But now a sense of unemployment has come more aware of the young generation as more and more young people are coming up with higher education without a good job.   The country has a serious problem with unemployment, with a rate of 30 percent. This has led a number of men to migrate to the cities in search of work. There also are a significant number of Algerians who have immigrated to France to find jobs. Many of them return home in the summer to see their families.
Though the government has made education and medical 100% free with the subsidized rate of some food items, we feel the government should look into this matter seriously with thrust on more industrialization. Presently, its no. one oil refinery Sonatrach has taken the steps to invest more in new five refineries, but the government should think of to develop more industry. Here, tourism can be a very big scope if promoted but so far no interest was shown by govt…but days are coming when this beautiful and flamboyant Mediterranean sea beach can be developed for more tourist attraction…..though in summer,, you will find lots of local Algerian tourist in sea beach, but you will miss the liveliness we generally find in an Indian sea beach with music,  masti. Maybe being a Muslim country, those are restricted.

Even, with so much of Indian connection and Algerian people’s interest to know more about India, you will be made fully busy when you an encounter an Algerian in this beautiful  Mediterranean sea beach and of course, you will be amazed to know more about this North African country………when you listen some Algerian singing Jaane Tu Yaa Jane Naa……

8 Comments

  1. Very lively and informative article narrated systematically. Enjoyed the article.

    1. Thank you so much. Stay blessed and safe!!

  2. Travelling to a distant place in itself a wonderful experience. I always crave for some other country work or education experience and am sure that I will get that one day.
    But reading your beautiful article satiated my urge for now.
    Keep writing, Mir Sir, because you never know your words may play magic to someone’s dream.

    1. Thank you so much. Yes, I also believe your often referring punch line: Keep writing, Mir Sir, because you never know your words may play magic to someone’s dream.

    2. Thank you so much for your feedback

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