BENGALI IN PLATFORMS

Bengali, Bengali
Bengali, Bengali
No no no
He does not want to depress you
Oh no no no no no
He only wants to impress you
Oh..

Bengali in platforms
He only wants to embrace your culture
And to be your friend forever
Forever

Bengali, Bengali
Bengali, Bengali
Oh, shelve your Western plans
And understand
That life is hard enough when you belong here

A silver-studded rim that glistens
And an ankle-star that ... blinds me
A lemon sole so very high
Which only reminds me; to tell you
Break the news gently
Break the news to him gently
"Shelve your plans; shelve your plans, shelve them"

Bengali, Bengali
It's the touchy march of time that binds you
Don't blame me
Don't hate me
Just because I'm the one to tell you

That life is hard enough when you belong here
That life is hard enough when you belong here
Oh...
Shelve your Western plans
Oh...
Shelve your Western plans
'Cause life is hard enough when you belong
Life is hard enough when you belong here
Oh...
Shelve your Western plans
Oh...
Shelve your best friends
'Cause life is hard when you belong here
Oh...
Life is hard enough when you belong


A very controversial song for the line "life is hard enough when you belong here", it's probably a good thing the public never heard the apparently punk-like version recorded in the last sessions as The Smiths.
As Rogan says, with its tone of condescension "politely mocking", it's hard to justify these lyrics as anything other than incredibly badly thought out. Easily offensive, two justifications are that it was purposefully done to incite the critics (although as the individual Morrissey was always so closely aligned with his lyrics, it's hard to see this) and Rogan's point that the definite setting of the song is in the 1970s. At no point is it made clear that the singer is in any way sympathetic with the lyrics - it's fair enough to say that the only endorsement of the lyrics is that Morrissey wrote them. Furthermore, Ian Bell has an interesting slant on the debate over this song :

"It seems to me that Morrissey has no case to defend here, except the accusation that rather than be an over-inhibited liberal tip-toeing around a sensitive subject, he has tackled the very experience of being 'other'. The central idea seems to be that Morrissey is urging the Bengali in question not to assimilate under the pressure to do so, but rather to remain true to his culture. The issue is not one of belonging geographically (i.e. of leaving the country), but of not being accepted purely on other people's terms, because of those terms. It seems a celebration of diversity, rather than exclusivity. And it seems strange that the speaker should be so concerned that the Bengali might 'blame' or 'hate' him, if he (ie Morrissey) is as uncaring, dismissive and racist as is suggested."


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