Shri Rashmin Tamhne (rtamhne@aol.com) writes :-

One of the principle reasons underpinning Raj Kapoor’s reputation as a film-maker, was how he applied his own creative genius in ‘bringing to life’, some of the pressing philosophical conflicts through the artistic medium of films. And he did so with full vigor, and an ambition to ‘reach’ the hearts and minds of ‘ordinary people’, using all the artistic talent at his disposal!

There are several examples of such ‘philosophical forays’ of Raj Kapoor (e.g. the ‘dream sequence’ in ‘Aawara; ‘Mera joota hai Japani; etc), but this song is probably the best example of RK’s artistic genius!

It is a multi-layered song; with simultaneous depiction of ‘torn ideals’, and ‘torn hearts’; ‘authoritarian, if potentially violent approach’ of the State in tackling the violence perpetrated by gangs vs pursuing the humanitarian way, rooted in the Gandhian non-violence approach in solving any problem..!

The song..and its picturisation, brings those complex issues to fore in a highly effective manner..

so effective that it reaches the soul, and makes one think about those wider issues..! A ‘Benevolent Showman’ at his best..!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5OwqNcynH0

That said..the reason for the popularity of this song is no less down to Shankar-Jaikishan..their creative brilliance in making music that matched the underlying purpose of this song..and the thrust of its lyrics; and their ability to get the best out of the singers..Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar, in this instance!