Categories
Ghazals Romantic songs

Animal magnetism…

I actually first heard a terrible caricature of this song using the same mukhda from a very nasal Kumar Sanu, from an early 90s movie called Soldier with Bobby Deol and Preity Zinta. I wonder which army in the world except the Taliban or its overground arm, the TTP would allow a soldier to grow his hair to shoulder length mop of unkempt curls? Soon after this I discovered this gem by the # 2 Ghazal singer in my books ( distant after the unquestionable #1, the incomparable Mehdi Hassan) . Amazingly a few days back when I’d heard it a few times on loop in my car, my wise Ghazal Aficionado friend from Philadelphia sent me the same link in a personal message. https://youtu.be/AfAJC8ioVus

The simple, straightforward ghazal is by Agha Bismil. A narrative that’s easy to understand.

तेरी बात ही सुनाने आये, दोस्त भी दिल ही दुखाने आये
फूल खिलते हैं तो हम सोचते हैं तेरे आने का ज़माने आये

शायद मुझे निकाल के पछता रहे हो आप
महफ़िल में इस ख़याल से फिल आ गया हूँ मैं

महफ़िल में बार बार किसी पर नज़र गई
हमने बचाई लाख मगर फिर उधर गई

उनकी नज़र में कोई तो जादू ज़ुरूर है
जिस पर पड़ी, उसी के जिगर तक उतर गई

उस बेवफा की आँख से आंसू झलक पड़े
हसरत भारी निगाह बड़ा काम कर गई

उनके जमाल-इ-रुख पे उन्ही का जमाल था
वोह चल दिए तो रौनक-इ-शाम-ओ-सहर गई

उनको खबर करो के है बिस्मिल करीब-इ-मर्ग
वोह आयेंगे ज़ुरूर जो उन तक खबर गई

An amazing ghazal that Ghulam Ali rendered before he sadly fell into the habit of playing to the gallery, at the cost of his gayaki. When he used to sing sincerely, he was good and I have some very good memories of the times. Sadly, later he sacrificed that for cheap thrills of showboating and evoking admiration from the baser elements of the audience. He couldn’t ever match the purity of the great Khansaheb Mehdi Ali sahab for the exhilarating, sublime singing, ever, but he does have a style that’s more in keeping with his extroversion. Mehdi sahab remained truly committed to his craft and I’ve never heard him indulge in vocal antics like our man. https://youtu.be/XsWHUUQ2mf0

Thanks to Nick Maneckshaw that I wrote this piece, an indication of what Ghulam Ali can do, if he sets his mind to it.

Stay safe, folks. Stay happy and healthy. Enjoy the monsoon in retreat over our great country.

Categories
Ghazals Romantic songs

An intimate fragrance or a fragrant intimation…

I started the day with this tune ringing in my head. It was natural then I picked up a Chrysanthemum from our garden for the theme of the obligatory couplet that I write.

This is a treacly sweet declaration of love, of uninhibited joy at the intimation of a much awaited arrival. A melody composed and rendered by my favourite singer of the genre, a truly great human being and an unforgettable, cherished friend, Jagjit Singh. https://youtu.be/-G_Xi_x4g1s

First published in his album Saher, at the turn of the millennium, he would sing this quite often in his live programs as well.

तेरे आने की जब ख़बर महके

तेरे आने की जब ख़बर महके,
तेरे खुश्बू से सारा घर महके,

शाम महके तेरे तसव्वुर से,
शाम के बाद फिर सहर महके,

रात भर सोचता रहा तुझ को,
ज़हन-ओ-दिल मेरे रात भर महके,

याद आए तो दिल मुनव्वर हो,
दीद हो जाए तो नज़र महके,

वो घड़ी दो घड़ी जहाँ बैठे,
वो ज़मीं महके वो शजर महके….

Lovely lyrics by Dr Nawaz Deobandi set to an extremely melodious composition by the unmatched and unparalleled skills of Jagjit Singh. Look at the instrumentation and harmony between them, raising the emotional scale, I just love the way he says:

याद आए तो दिल मुनव्वर हो,
दीद हो जाए तो नज़र महके, repeating the line दीद हो जाए तो नज़र महके ever so softly, just toying with my emotions and the hundreds of millions of his fans. A fantastic piece at the end of the ghazal draws it to a sublime end. https://youtu.be/Vse82kl9DUY

A wonderful recall, it will resonate in my head for the rest of the day, stress of the work won’t even touch me. Have fun, guys, start the day on a musical note and stay healthy

Categories
Ghazals Romantic songs

Come stay if only for a few days…

I was returning from the hospital after a high risk angioplasty had gone off well.

A relatively young man who’d been poorly managed during a heart attack he sustained 10 days ago in a district place in South Maharashtra and landed up with a very weak heart as a result. He came with the most important artery to the heart blocked totally (100%) & the other one to the left side of the heart showing 95% narrowing; and to boot there was little or no support from the artery on the right side of the heart, plus the recent major attack, the poor guy’s options were limited. He had actually been advised a bypass surgery by the Cardiologist who did the angiogram, but the surgeon who was consulted developed selective hypothermia of the distal portions of his inferior extremities on seeing the total picture ( cold feet in colloquial english), so I had this rather sultry spud dropped into my lap, a rather recurring event and direct result of spending four decades in professional life (increasingly now, cleaning up others’ mess).

Good planning before the procedure always looks an expression of overcautiousness to the novice, but then people of my generation know the S*** hits the fan when you’re looking the other way, least expecting it. 35 minutes into the procedure and two stents later, the man’s runaway heart rate had eased into double figures and BP was on the way up despite lower doses of drugs he had received from his primary hospital.

I got into the car and as I was crossing the bridge on the confluence of the two rivers that flow through Pune, the car audio played this song. https://youtu.be/9BwKdFp8Szg

Paradoxically the opening lines talk of inviting someone to stay for at least a few days, and I had just inserted bits of metal that would stay there forever and release drug locally that would prevent the recurrence of obstruction to flow.

कुछ दिन तो बसो मिरी आँखों में

उबैदुल्लाह अलीम

कुछ दिन तो बसो मिरी आँखों में

फिर ख़्वाब अगर हो जाओ तो क्या

कोई रंग तो दो मिरे चेहरे को

फिर ज़ख़्म अगर महकाओ तो क्या

जब हम ही न महके फिर साहब

तुम बाद-ए-सबा कहलाओ तो क्या

इक आइना था सो टूट गया

अब ख़ुद से अगर शरमाओ तो क्या

तुम आस बंधाने वाले थे

अब तुम भी हमें ठुकराओ तो क्या

दुनिया भी वही और तुम भी वही

फिर तुम से आस लगाओ तो क्या

मैं तन्हा था मैं तन्हा हूँ

तुम आओ तो क्या न आओ तो क्या

जब देखने वाला कोई नहीं

बुझ जाओ तो क्या गहनाओ तो क्या

अब वहम है ये दुनिया इस में

कुछ खोओ तो क्या और पाओ तो क्या

है यूँ भी ज़ियाँ और यूँ भी ज़ियाँ

जी जाओ तो क्या मर जाओ तो क्या

I heard the ghazal once again, who wouldn’t do that to a melodious entreaty? https://youtu.be/A3X6KEl5HXc

Guys do take care of your hearts, although I am an experienced plumber by now, I wouldn’t like to open up blocked tubes that could have stayed clean to start off with.

Have a wonderful day ahead.

Categories
Devotional melodies Ghazals Introspective melodies

A death wish, almost….

I have always admired great poets for their amazing imagination. They will think of the most impossible situations and write touching, poignant verse that will wrench your guts and shake you rudely out of the cocoon of comfortable, warm thoughts you’ve built around yourself. Then along will come some truly good composer who’ll see the beauty of the verse and put the words to a wonderful tune. None better example of this than this ghazal by Wasim Barelvi that was picked up by the most creative and prolific composer I’ve seen in my life who was always on the lookout for great poetry (even if from relatively less known poets, sometimes choosing poets writing in Hindi, rather than Urdu) then using his divine skills to embellish the words with an excellent set of instruments and then create a melody of lasting value that I, as a thirsty soul repeatedly slake my thirst with.

The end product is one which always makes me wonder which is the part I need to be amazed at: the verse, the composition or the vocals. https://youtu.be/ZfrXpz7lBGk

 मै चाहता भी यही था वो बेवफ़ा निकले

मै चाहता भी यही था वो बेवफ़ा निकले
उसे समझने का कोई तो सिलसिला निकले

किताब-ए-माज़ी के पन्ने उलट के देख ज़रा
ना जाने कौन सा पन्ना मुड़ा हुआ निकले

(किताब-ए-माज़ी = बीते हुए समय की किताब)

किताब-ए-माज़ी के औराक़ उलट के देख ज़रा
ना जाने कौन सा सफ़हा मुड़ा हुआ निकले

(किताब-ए-माज़ी = बीते हुए समय की किताब), (औराक़ = पृष्ठ, पन्ने), (सफ़हा = पृष्ठ, पन्ना)

जो देखने में बहुत ही करीब लगता है
उसी के बारे में सोचो तो फ़ासला निकले

वसीम बरेलवी

An amazing composition in the extremely melodious raag Charukeshi. https://youtu.be/nJlV-56LRqo

Charukeshi is a sampurna-sampurna raag adopted from Carnatic Musical System (where it is referred to as Tarangini) . It has Dhaivat and Nishad as komal swaras and all others are shuddha. It is best performed at this time, the second prahar of the day (9 am to 12 noon). Just listen to the raag and let the pleasure soak into you all the way up to your very soul. https://youtu.be/gyK8ZThsjgU

When an artiste of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan‘s caliber plays a musical piece it is an expression of faith, an act of worship, of a prayer of the divine. The notes come straight from his soul and gathering up ours, reach the feet of divinity, uniting us in a garland of extreme devotion, soaking us with the notes.

Stay blessed, folks, I will return to what passes for civilisation lost in these notes and piety.

Categories
Ghazals Introspective melodies

Reminiscing about days of yore….

I first heard this lovely ghazal in the early 90s when I bought a 3 CD collection from Navras Records.

The collection titled “Classical Ghazals” by Mehdi Hassan is one of my most prized pieces in my collection of music and my Dad loved it too.

The poet is Aarzoo Lakhnavi and Khansaheb has composed it in Yaman (aka Yaman Kalyan), a truly divine raag. https://youtu.be/k2h4Xkb-ygo

This ghazal is so simple to understand and every single listener can relate to the expression and wordplay. I have loved it every single time that I’ve heard it.

 मुग्घम बात पहेली जैसी बस वोही बूझे जिसको बुजाये

भेद न पाये तो घबराये भेद जो पाये तो घबराये

जिसको अकेले में आ आ कर ध्यान तेरा रह रह के सताये

चुपके चुपके बैठा रोये आँसू पोंछे और रह जाये

सारी कहानी बेचैनी की माथे पर लिख देती है

ऐसी बात कि घुटते घुटते मुँह तक आये और रह जाये

आरज़ू अपनी धुन का हैं पक्का, ठान चुका हैं मरने की

जाना बूझा रोग है यह तो, समझे हुए को क्या समझाये

आरज़ू लखनवी

Ghazals have, like all these greats tend to have, different flavours to varied renditions, and this is no exception. The greatest singers just need a taanpura, a harmonium and tabla and they’re ready to go. Every single time they sing the same piece of verse, the effect is different. This one is a shorter, studio version and the Urdu verse has been translated into English. https://youtu.be/QUWp8NIg3kE

For those who might have not been able to follow the translation, here is an attempt at transliteration. Please feel free to correct me or add your thoughts as well. These are, as always most welcome.
मुग्घम बात पहेली जैसी,
बस वोही बुझे जिसको बुझाये,
भेद न पाए तो घबराए,
भेद जो पाए वो घबराए…
Your talks veiled in mystery,
Are understood only by those they’re intended for;
Damned if you get it (understand)!
Damned if you don’t.

जिसको अकेले में आ आ कर,
ध्यान तेरा रह रह के सताए,
चुपके चुपके बैठा रोये,
आँसू पोंछे और रह जाये,

The one your relentless thoughts
Torment in solitude,
Sits quietly and cries,
Wiping the tears, seeking solace…

सारी कहानी बेचैनी की,
माथे पर लिख देती है,
ऐसी बात की घुटते घुटते,
मुँह तक आये और रह जाये

The narrative of turbulence,
Visible on the forehead,
Such are the feelings that choke,
Get stuck at the tip of my tongue, remaining unspoken

आरज़ू अपनी धुन का है पक्का,
ठान चुका हैं मरने की,
जाना बुझा रोग है ये तो,
समझे हुए को क्या समझाए

My desires remain unwavering, (Aarzoo is his nom de plume)
Committed to see his death;
It is a well known ailment,
What is the point of explaining to the one who already knows.

Another wonderful rendition, also from a live concert is truly worth a listen. The more the renditions are the same, the more they differ. https://youtu.be/GPJeiHuLCUI

Stay healthy and happy, folks as the Ganeshotsav draws to a close today and the heavens open up in consonance with the devotees’ feelings.

Categories
Ghazals Introspective melodies

Different flavours

The morning got off to a great start with my wonderful friend from Philadelphia, Nick Maneckshaw sending me a link of a ghazal I’ve adored for decades. The version he had sent me was by my  favourite ghazal singer of all time, Khansaheb Mehdi Hasan. His style and composition is more towards Hindustani Classical Music, reflecting on his roots. https://youtu.be/ClqBVhmNCOA

Mehdi Hasan served a huge role in getting the ghazals out of the exquisite and exclusive preserve of the Urdu speaking elite in Paapistan (who had roots in the feudal landowners chiefly of Western Uttar Pradesh, the common man in Paapistan was as ignorant about the language as say a man on the street in Chennai, Guwahati or Kuala Lumpur: they spoke Baloch or Punjabi or Pashto or Sindhi, not Urdu!! There were actually PTV classes on learning Urdu when I visited Amritsar in 1980. Their terrestrial network signals were strong enough to be received in India ) and helped disseminate the divine musical form amongst the teeming millions who by and large had not much knowledge either of Hindustani Classical Music nor of the genre of ghazals. In popularising both, Khansaheb had to struggle hard and long and his pioneering work undoubtedly made it easier for those who followed to earn millions with far less effort and resistance. This ghazal by Qateel Shifai has been rendered far more elaborately in one of his live concerts where Khansaheb sings to his heart’s content without even sticking to a script,so to speak.  https://youtu.be/o7vuqIgx96U

अपने हाथों की लकीरों में सजा ले मुझ को

क़तील शिफ़ाई

अपने हाथों की लकीरों में सजा ले मुझ को

मैं हूँ तेरा तू नसीब अपना बना ले मुझ को

मैं जो काँटा हूँ तो चल मुझ से बचा कर दामन

मैं हूँ गर फूल तो जूड़े में सजा ले मुझ को

तर्क-ए-उल्फ़त की क़सम भी कोई होती है क़सम

तू कभी याद तो कर भूलने वाले मुझ को

मुझ से तू पूछने आया है वफ़ा के मा’नी

ये तिरी सादा-दिली मार न डाले मुझ को

मैं समुंदर भी हूँ मोती भी हूँ ग़ोता-ज़न भी

कोई भी नाम मिरा ले के बुला ले मुझ को

तू ने देखा नहीं आईने से आगे कुछ भी

ख़ुद-परस्ती में कहीं तू न गँवा ले मुझ को

बाँध कर संग-ए-वफ़ा कर दिया तू ने ग़र्क़ाब

कौन ऐसा है जो अब ढूँढ निकाले मुझ को

ख़ुद को मैं बाँट न डालूँ कहीं दामन दामन

कर दिया तू ने अगर मेरे हवाले मुझ को

मैं खुले दर के किसी घर का हूँ सामाँ प्यारे

तू दबे-पाँव कभी आ के चुरा ले मुझ को

कल की बात और है मैं अब सा रहूँ या न रहूँ

जितना जी चाहे तिरा आज सता ले मुझ को

बादा फिर बादा है मैं ज़हर भी पी जाऊँ ‘क़तील’

शर्त ये है कोई बाँहों में सँभाले मुझ को

The complete ghazal by Qateel Shifai has many more ash’aar than can possibly be rendered by any singer even in a live program and make great reading. I read them a few times to grasp the content and then go back to savour it couplet by couplet letting each word, each syllable roll over my tongue slowly, languorously.

The same ghazal was rendered by the greatest Indian Ghazal singer, a man who respected Mehdi Hassan tremendously and went out of his way to raise funds for him when he was ailing and had sadly fallen in a state of extreme financial stress. He did so by conducting a series of concerts in India as well as in Paapistan. https://youtu.be/3v1AfLAYLzY

It is amusing to see the Paapis make a clip out of Jagjit Singh’s rendition and claim it to be a rendition by Ghulam Ali!!!!! Only the brainwashed will fall for such a childish attempt at deception.

Jagjit Singh has used only 4 ash’aar in his rendition, and the way ghazals are created, that still sounds completely meaningful.

अपने हाथों की लकीरों में बसा ले मुझको,
मैं हूँ तेरा तो नसीब अपना बना ले मुझको।

मुझसे तू पूछने आया है वफ़ा के माने,
ये तेरी सादा-दिली मार ना डाले मुझको।

ख़ुद को मैं बाँट ना डालूँ कहीं दामन-दामन
कर दिया तूने अगर मेरे हवाले मुझको।

बादा फिर बादा है मैं ज़हर भी पी जाऊँ ‘क़तील’
शर्त ये है कोई बाहों में सम्भाले मुझको।

बादा – शराब

One word has been changed by Jagjitji from the original ghazal and that is highlighted. Such liberties are taken by the greats off and on

Thanks to the learned Nick Maneckshaw , a nephew of Sam Bahadur, and a great poet himself, apart from being an aficionado as well as an authority on Ghazals, that I revisited this eternal melody once again. Thank you Sir, you’ve truly made my day.

Stay healthy and happy, folks. Ganeshotsav draws to a close and how I pray that they cut out the cacophony.

Categories
Ghazals Introspective melodies

Unforgettable echo from the past

The power of great music in changing the state of one’s mind is well known. Music is my personal therapist, my 24/7 shrink, confidante since 5, 6 decades. In the days gone by, one had to wait for the musical piece to be played. AIR played a huge role in popularizing and disseminating music throughout the length and breadth of the country. One of my favourites for the “job” is, unsurprisingly, Jagjit Singh. His treacly sweet voice and careful, considered manner of elaborating a ghazal, his innovations in composing a ghazal was definitely a huge factor in popularizing this format, Initially only understood and enjoyed by those who were proficient in Urdu, he changed the situation more than anyone else in India. His choice of verse , often from hithertofore unknown poets, was always enviably impeccable. He would embellish it with innovative compositions and evocative vocals and you had an overflowing chalice of joy.

Look at this bit of magic that’s haunted me since last night. https://youtu.be/8m-zRy3yUfM

The amazing verse is by Muzaffar Warsi. The verse itself is amazing. For those who are even greater novitiates in the language than I am, I have highlighted some words and tried to explain them, if you know better or think differently, do let me know your thoughts. I would always be happy to learn from your wisdom.

The ghazal is itself based on the raag Yaman, aka Yaman Kalyan, undoubtedly one of the most melodious raags of Hindustani Classical Music. A sampurna raag (all 7 notes are used in both the aaroha and the avaroha) it is frequently one of the first raags to be taught to students.

शोला हूँ, भड़कने की ग़ुज़ारिश नहीं करता

शोला हूँ, भड़कने की गुज़ारिश नहीं करता
सच मुँह से निकल जाता है, कोशिश नहीं करता

गिरती हुई दीवार का हमदर्द हूँ लेकिन
चढ़ते हुए सूरज की परस्तिश नहीं करता

माथे के पसीने की महक आये ना जिस से
वो ख़ून मेरे जिस्म में गर्दिश नहीं करता

हम्दर्दी-ए-अहबाब से डरता हूँ ‘मुज़फ़्फ़र’
मैं ज़ख़्म तो रखता हूँ नुमाइश नहीं करता

[  (परस्तिश = पूजा, आराधना), (गर्दिश = घुमाव, चक्कर, it is used as circulation here),  (अहबाब = स्वजन, दोस्त, मित्र), (हम्दर्दी-ए-अहबाब =  दोस्तों की सहानुभूति), (नुमाइश = दिखावट, प्रदर्शन, दिखावा)]

              –मुज़फ़्फ़र वारसी

The ghazal first figured in his album titled Echoes and gained much popularity rapidly. His use of various melodious instruments in the introduction and the interludes is enchanting and addictive. The flute, santoor, sitar , guitar and the tabla together make for a heady combination.

For such eternal melodies, I just don’t get satisfied listening to them just once, so I will listen to the same song from the album, not the studio version, as the album itself was a compilation of recordings from various concerts from around the world.  https://youtu.be/KGCQ6B68Akc

Stay healthy and happy. Ganeshotsav, the biggest festival started (to give an acceptable reason for Indians to collect under British occupation) by Lokmanya Tilak, is less than 48 hours away.

Do join me at 1120 on a live Webstream of AIR Delhi Gold FM , the 34th of the fortnightly series of programs on music I’ve been presenting. I will present a selection of songs from a totally different genre, from a performer who’s been called God!! I will enjoy myself, do join in

Categories
Ghazals Introspective melodies

Reminder of an agreement

I woke up today with this song going around in my head from 4 am. I told Aruna about it, who commented “That’s odd, last night you were on Gary Lawyer’s The Other Side of Dawn”. That I most certainly was.

My mind went back to the song, an immortal ghazal from a time when the so called Moghuls actually contributed something of lasting value to our country which was not dripping blood or spelt genocide. The time when ironically the Moghul Sultanate was in an advanced state of pitiful decadence coincided with the period when the best poetry flourished in Delhi. Bahadurshah “Zafar” ‘s reign might have been limited by the ramparts of the old walled city of Delhi but the period of pain also had the best poets of the time (and perhaps of few centuries) : Zauq, Ghalib and Momin, just to name three. The best known of the troikaa, (at least in the popular perception amongst the lay public in India, the one with the best brand value thanks to the name being made popular or famous by TV serials and movies ), Ghalib, truly acknowledged the genius of Momin. Legend has it that he offered Momin the authorship and credits of Ghalib’s दीवान (entire poetry collection) in exchange of just one couplet of Momin’s. This couplet is the following enigmatic two lines:

तुम मेरे पास होते हो गोया
जब कोई दूसरा नही होता

An amazing tribute from one great to another and acknowledgement of the other’s class.

The ghazal, then, which has haunted me for the last few hours. https://youtu.be/Uzq1rpuFMig

वो जो हम में तुम में क़रार था / मोमिन

वो जो हम में तुम में क़रार था तुम्हें याद हो के न याद हो|
वही यानी वादा निबाह का तुम्हें याद हो के न याद हो ।।१।।

वो जो लुत्फ़ मुझ पे थे बेशतर वो करम कि था मिरे हाल पर

मुझे सब है याद ज़रा ज़रा तुम्हें याद हो कि न याद हो।


 
वो नये गिले वो शिकायतें वो मज़े मज़े की हिकायतें,
वो हर एक बात पे रूठना तुम्हें याद हो के न याद हो ।।२।।
 
कोई बात ऐसी अगर हुई जो तुम्हारे जी को बुरी लगी,
तो बयाँ से पहले ही भूलना तुम्हें याद हो के न याद हो|
 
सुनो ज़िक्र है कई साल का, कोई वादा मुझ से था आप का,
वो निभाने का तो ज़िक्र क्या, तुम्हें याद हो के न याद हो|
 
कभी हम में तुम में भी चाह थी, कभी हम से तुम से भी राह थी,
कभी हम भी तुम भी थे आश्ना, तुम्हें याद हो के न याद हो ।।३।।
 
हुए इत्तेफ़ाक़ से गर बहम, वो वफ़ा जताने को दम-ब-दम,
गिला-ए-मलामत-ए-अर्क़बा, तुम्हें याद हो के न याद हो|
 
वो जो लुत्फ़ मुझ पे थे बेश्तर, वो करम के हाथ मेरे हाथ पर,
मुझे सब हैं याद ज़रा ज़रा, तुम्हें याद नो कि न याद हो|
 
कभी बैठे सब हैं जो रू-ब-रू तो इशारतों ही से गुफ़्तगू,
वो बयान शौक़ का बरमला तुम्हें याद हो कि न याद हो|
 
वो बिगड़ना वस्ल की रात का, वो न मानना किसी बात का,
वो नहीं नहीं की हर आन अदा, तुम्हें याद हो कि न याद हो|
 
जिसे आप गिनते थे आश्ना जिसे आप कहते थे बावफ़ा,
मैं वही हूँ “मोमिन”-ए-मुब्तला तुम्हें याद हो के न याद हो ।।४।।

                   मोमिन खाँ “मोमिन’

A beautiful ghazal that needs to be understood in detail and appreciated. The best known rendition of the ghazal is by the grand old lady of Urdu Ghazal singing, the unchallenged Mallika e Ghazal, the one and only Akhtaribai Faizabadi, who we refer to often as Begum Akhtar. The lady could muster an unimaginable level of dard (the english ‘pain’ just doesn’t come close to the original word in its ability to convey the true meaning), she would truly be remembered for being the foremost singer of ghazals, thumris, and dadra in our country. I have naturally included her rendition at the top of the playlist. Countless others have covered this beautiful ghazal but no other version (to my utterly biased mind) comes close. I am unashamedly prepared to admit publicly I adore her oeuvre more than anyone else of the genre and I am sure a lot of you would agree. The composition is amazing, using the Sarangi and the Santoor so imaginatively. This composition is by Mohammad Zahoor Khayyam. The original ghazal has many more ash’aars but Begumsahiba has sung only 4, so I’ve italicised these and explained some words I feel might need such an explanation. I am, as usual, open to suggestions and corrections from any of you who understand the language better than me. 

वो जो हम में तुम में क़रार था तुम्हें याद हो के न याद हो|
वही यानी वादा निबाह का तुम्हें याद हो के न याद हो ।।१।।

[क़रार =  understanding, agreement, deal
निबाह = stay/live together, loyalty]

वो नये गिले वो शिकायतें वो मज़े मज़े की हिकायतें,
वो हर एक बात पे रूठना तुम्हें याद हो के न याद हो ।।२।।

[गिले = dissatisfaction, resentment
शिकायतें = complaints
हिक़ायतें = stories]

कभी हम में तुम में भी चाह थी, कभी हम से तुम से भी राह थी,
कभी हम भी तुम भी थे आश्ना, तुम्हें याद हो के न याद हो ।।३।।

[आश्ना = यार, दोस्त, dear friend]

जिसे आप गिनते थे आश्ना जिसे आप कहते थे बावफ़ा,
मैं वही हूँ “मोमिन”-ए-मुब्तला तुम्हें याद हो के न याद हो ।।४।।

[बावफ़ा = loyal
आश्ना = यार, दोस्त, dear friend
मुब्तला = ग्रस्त, पीड़ित, आशिक]

Ghulam Ali’s version is also worth listening in to. He is softer than usual and I liked it. As with all these greats, their versions from various live programs sound so different from one other. That’s actually an excuse for people like me to listen in to all of them so I can enjoy the differing flavours. In one rendition (as in this clip) he actually starts with his mentor’s famous thumri “ka karoon sajani aaye na baalam…….” https://youtu.be/b-nAwIOhF8w

The Shehenshah-e-Ghazal, Khansaheb Mehdi Hassan has a different version that’s worthy and unforgettable, too.   He is just amazing. https://youtu.be/RlqQ0jKsb7Q

An amazing, recurring phenomenon this, a song just goes around in my head for an audience of one. Funny how certain memory circuits get activated without even trying to recall those memories. Stay safe, folks and stay healthy. Enjoy the amazing verse and the three renditions by giants in the field

Categories
Ghazals Mehdi Hassan

Lonely and hating it….

Love and pain are two very common themes for poetry. One could (and frequently does) lead to the other. The danger is of course, in falling in love with the pain and staying happy in the process of being in it.  These two emotions have perhaps spawned more poems than most others. This is a wonderful poem by Qateel Shifai that was set to an excellent composition by the unquestionable Emperor of Ghazals, Mehdi Hasan sahab.

A great verse that talks of a broken promise, an unfulfilled dream, and an acceptance of the inevitability of the situation.  https://youtu.be/QEq32x4nSRA

तूने ये फूल जो ज़ुल्फ़ों में सजा रखा है
इक दिया है जो अंधेरों में जला रखा है

जीत ले जाये कोई मुझको नसीबों वाला
ज़िंदगी ने मुझे दाँव पे लगा रखा है

जाने कब दिल में कोई झाँकने वाला आ जाये
इस लिये मैंने गिरेबान खुला रखा है

इम्तिहाँ और मेरे ज़ब्त का तुम क्या लोगे
मैंने धड़कन को भी सीने में छुपा रखा है

दिल था इक शोला मगर बीत गये दिन वो 'क़तील'
अब कुरेदो ना इसे राख़ में क्या रखा है

One of his really lovely ghazals that I love, although it’s not as popular as many of the others.

Stay safe folks, and stay healthy. The I day special will bring me on the airwaves at 1120 am tomorrow on AIR Delhi Gold FM . Do tune in.

Categories
Asha Bhosale Ghazals

Up the ladder of notes…..

I first heard this album, a collaboration between two legends across the British made divide, each very creative in her/his right and respecting each other’s craft and skill, some three decades ago.

Asha Bhosle lends her voice to Ghulam Ali‘s compositions giving a musical form to some really outstanding pieces of verse. The effect of combining all three elements : great poetry, excellent, melodious compositions and fabulous, enchanting vocals are predictably sublime.

Listen to this one fantastic example from a dozen that are found in one album the 2 unquestionable geniuses collaborated in the creation of, Meraj-e-Ghazal: https://youtu.be/EqX0ls3u8TE

The ghazal is just fantastic, a small one, really, by Saleem Gilani. Sheer romanticism and longing expressed in just 10 lines:

रात जो तूने दीप बुझाये

रात जो तूने दीप बुझाये मेरे थे
अश्क़ जो तारीकी ने छुपाये मेरे थे

कैफ़-ए-बहाराँ महर-ए-निगाराँ लुत्फ़-ए-जुनूँ
मौसम-ए-गुल के महके साये मेरे थे

मेरे थे वो ख़ाब जो तूने छीन लिये
गीत जो होंठों पर मुरझाये मेरे थे

आँचल आंचल गेसू गेसू चमन चमन
सारी ख़ुश्बू मेरी साये मेरे थे

साहिल साहिल लहरें जिसको ढूँढती हैं
माज़ी के वो महके साये मेरे थे

An excellent, soulful rendition. A wonderful, magical amalgamation of words, musical notes and vocals. The same ghazal was rendered at length by Ghulam Ali himself and the flavour (& effect) are expectedly quite different. More relaxed, expansive and unhurried. https://youtu.be/klmduXkZiEQ

Nearly 3 times the length of Ashatai’s rendition, it satiates in a very different way.

I discovered, much to my pleasant surprise that the same ghazal has been covered by several others, but I will cite and include only one: Farida Khanum. Her treatment is quite different and to me sounded more like a film song. https://youtu.be/PcrtK9_–OI

As I write, the sun has come out spreading bright optimism on a sombre, dark grey sky. Stay happy, healthy and enjoy the 75th anniversary of the great country we are fortunate and blessed to stay in.