Ghulam Mohammad Introspective melodies Jagjit Singh Suraiya

Chalk and cheese

I am amazed at the creative skills of the really blessed artistes who can present the same thoughts in entirely different manners. An amazing reflection of the thoughts and state of the mind of the artiste and an entirely different picture is created in front of the spectator. The creativity is frequently so persuasive that it draws even the most passive of spectators into its fold and makes a participant out of a person who was a mere observer until that point in time.

Look at this piece of verse by Mirza Beg Asadullah Khan, that we know by his nom de plume, Ghalib. It is a very famous piece of poetry and has been presented in totally different way by two master craftsmen. The older version first.

This is from the movie made by the legendary Sohrab Modi in the 50s. With Suraiyya in the central role, the poet on whom the movie was based was confined to the sidelines and matters weren’t helped by the fact that the male actor (??) happened to be a lignified one, who went by the rather grandiose name (no greater example of a misnomer than this one in my opinion) of Bharat Bhushan. The music was composed by Ghulam Mohammad. The movie makes it into a song-&-dance routine by nautch girls for the benefit of an ageing occupant of the Moghul throne whose writ only extended as far as the limits of the walled city he stayed in but called himself Emperor of India /World. The song as presented in the movie makes it look and feel rather light hearted.

आह को चाहिए इक उम्र असर होते तक

आह को चाहिए इक उम्र असर होते तक

कौन जीता है तिरी ज़ुल्फ़ के सर होते तक

दाम-ए-हर-मौज में है हल्क़ा-ए-सद-काम-ए-नहंग

देखें क्या गुज़रे है क़तरे पे गुहर होते तक

आशिक़ी सब्र-तलब और तमन्ना बेताब

दिल का क्या रंग करूँ ख़ून-ए-जिगर होते तक

ता-क़यामत शब-ए-फ़ुर्क़त में गुज़र जाएगी उम्र

सात दिन हम पे भी भारी हैं सहर होते तक

हम ने माना कि तग़ाफ़ुल न करोगे लेकिन

ख़ाक हो जाएँगे हम तुम को ख़बर होते तक

परतव-ए-ख़ुर से है शबनम को फ़ना की ता’लीम

मैं भी हूँ एक इनायत की नज़र होते तक

यक नज़र बेश नहीं फ़ुर्सत-ए-हस्ती ग़ाफ़िल

गर्मी-ए-बज़्म है इक रक़्स-ए-शरर होते तक

ग़म-ए-हस्ती का ‘असद’ किस से हो जुज़ मर्ग इलाज

शम्अ हर रंग में जलती है सहर होते तक

The original ghazal as written by Ghalib himself uses the radif होते तक, but as usually sung or read, it is usually rendered with the words होने तक.

सब्र-तलब = Desiring or Needing Patience
तग़ाफुल = Ignore/Neglect
जुज़ = Except/Other than
मर्ग = Death
शमा = Lamp/Candle
सहर = Dawn/Morning

The ghazal itself is beautiful and for those who may not have understood or grasped all the nuances, this transliteration might be of some help. The beauty of the original verse just cannot come through, though.

A lifetime must pass before a sigh shows its effect,
Who can live that long to see you fixing  your hair
In a net of waves in the ocean, lie a circle of a hundred crocodile jaws,
Oh what an impossible task it is for a drop to turn into a pearl
Love needs patience but desire and longing makes me restless
What color should my heart be, till it bleeds to death (in the agony and waiting) of unrequited love,
I know you will not ignore me, but
By the time you know of me and my situation, I would have (died) turned to dust,
Each drop of dew knows it will cease to exist by the rays of the Sun, (the morning sun has taught it a lesson in its mortality)
I will survive similarly, till you grant me the favour of a glance,
Your glance (& no more) is enough to bring my life to an end, the warmth of the meeting (between lovers) is no longer than the dance of the flames burning into the night,                The endless suffering that we call life has no cure for it, Asad, but death, the candle burns in many colours through the night till the dawn

The candle is clearly a metaphor for life and dawn for death.

Check this version rendered by my favourite Jagjit Singh.

A lot more introspective tone to this one, compared to the film version.

Stay blessed folks, stay healthy and happy. I am going to stay engrossed in this eternal beauty of a verse written nearly 160 years ago and is slowly unveiling it’s nuances to me.


By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

10 replies on “Chalk and cheese”

Wah. Khoop divsani ya geeta cha Anand gheta aala. Dhanyawad. English madhe khoop sunder tumhi translate Kelay. Navin gene sathi khoop useful ..

Liked by 1 person

Lovely share of Ghalib’s poetry.. by giving the meaning you have done the great job of making it understand 👌👌👌
Your description of BB is as usual so good😅👍

Liked by 1 person

वाह!! क्या बात है…
गझल के लफ्ज दिल का दर्द बखुबी बयान कर गये….
दोनों गानों के फनकारों का अंदाज ए बया भी बहोत खूब 👌👌
और आपके लिखे ताबीर ए लब्ज भी बहोत खूब अनिरुद्ध सर जी🙏🙏👍👍👌👌

Liked by 1 person

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