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Ashqon Mein Jo Paya Hai Woh Geeton Mein Diya Hai…

, A translation ofa wonderful article on Sahir

 
 
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> Ashqon Mein Jo Paya Hai Woh Geeton Mein Diya Hai…, A translation ofa wonderful article on Sahir
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Bhrung
post Aug 24 2006, 07:15 AM
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Ashqon mein jo paya hai woh geeton mein diya hai…



Translated from the original Marathi article in 'Geet-Yatree' by the late Shri Madhav Moholkar.
The article is quite long and will have to be uploaded in parts.The responsibility for any mistakes in translation is entirely mine.


1.


Poet and lyricist – the two images of Sahir in my mind may have imperceptibly blended into each other later, but he first entered my life as a poet. That was the time when I had just begun to develop a liking for Hindi-Urdu. I used to see as many films as possible, used to sit in a restaurant and listen to songs till ten or eleven p.m., or listen to the radio to my heart’s content. One summer night, when I had gone to Hyderabad, I casually turned on the radio and heard an Urdu poet recite: “meri mehboob! kahin aur mila kar mujhse…”
There was no artificial vehemence in his recital, no deliberate theatrical cadences. He was reading the poem in a hoarse, low-pitched sincere voice. But his firm belief in what he was saying was evident. Sahir was reciting his poem ‘Taj Mahal’. He was repeatedly and expressly telling his beloved: Meet me somewhere else…He did not approve of the Taj Mahal as a meeting-place for lovers. He was describing to her the garden, the bank of the Yamuna, the intricately carved marble walls, the beautiful arches:

“yeh chamanzaar, yeh Jamna ka kinara, yeh mahal
yeh munakkash dar-o-deewar, yeh mehraab, yeh taak |
ik shehenshah ne daulat ka sahara lekar,
hum garibon ki mohabbat ka udaya hai mazaak |
meri mehboob! kahin aur mila kar mujhse !”


Not being fluent in Urdu, I couldn’t understand some of the words, but the sentiments pierced deep as an arrow. In fact, I was then at an age when one loves to write phrases such as ‘The Taj Mahal is an eternal symbol of Shahjehan’s love for Mumtaz’ in essays. But Sahir shook all my romantic notions about the Taj to their foundations. In his view the Taj Mahal was nothing but an emperor’s misuse of his wealth to cruelly mock the love of the poor. The thousands of oppressed artisans who actually built the Taj Mahal remained unknown to the world. Those who gave shape to Shahjehan’s dream must have loved someone in their lives. Where are the memorials to that love? Who knows if anyone lit a lamp on those graves?

“meri mehboob! unhe bhi to mohabbat hogi
jinki sannai ne bakhshi hai ise shakl-e-jameel
unke pyaaron ke maqabir rahein be-naam-o-namood
aaj tak unpe jalayee na kisi ne kandeel |”


I keenly felt, while listening to the poem, that Sahir was enunciating something that lay hidden somewhere deep in my mind and of which I was unaware. Later on, I read many poems on the Taj but never felt the same way. Sumitranandan Pant’s ‘Taj’, too, revealed a humanistic point of view:

“hai! Mrityu ka aisa amar, aparthiv poojan?
jab vishann, nirjeev padaa ho jag ka jeevan!
sphatik saudh mein ho shringaar maran ka shobhan,
nagn, kshudhatur, vaasviheen rahein jeevit jan |”


[O! Such immortal, imperishable worship of Death
When the world lies melancholy, lifeless
Death beautified, decorated in a crystal palace
While the living remain naked, hungry and homeless]


But my mind was drawn more to Sahir’s emotional outburst than to the mature contemplation and restrained expression of Pant’s poetry. In Kusumagraj’s [ The late V.V.Shirwadkar, alias Kusumagraj, was one of the greatest contemporary Marathi poets and winner of the Jnanpith award.] ‘Taj Mahal’, the mind was simply entrapped in a chain of wonderful metaphors:

“ki Kalindivar karanyaalaa jalkeli
kuni yakshalokichee roopgarvitaa aali
tyaa nital darpani vivastra hounee pahee
nij laavanyaachee usaasaleli veli”

[… a beauteous angel has come to sport in the waters of the Kalindi river, and in that clear mirror admires the unclothed beauty of her own youthful body]

The poet seems so entranced in describing the beauty of the Taj that the line ‘shat anaamikaanche tyaa he kabarastaan’ [this is the tomb of a hundred such unknown women] describing the fate of many women forced into the harem of an emperor blinded by lust, fails to have much impact. To be honest, the description of the beauty of the Taj, at the beginning of the poem, captivates the mind far more than the final twist. Sahir was uninterested in the loveliness of the Taj Mahal and his reaction was stinging:
“ik shehenshah ne daulat ka sahara lekar
hum garibon ki mohabbat ka udaya hai mazak!”


These lines made such a powerful impression that we used them at every opportunity. Whether in an essay, in history class, or in a debate it was our trump card to win the listeners. Yet, later on, these lines started seeming a trifle too loud and other lines from the same poem came to the fore. The question Sahir had posed in the following lines was such as would echo in anyone’s heart for long:
“anginat logon ne duniya mein mohabbat ki hai,
kaun kehta hai ki sadiq na the jazbe unke?
lekin unke liye tashaheer ka saamaan nahee
kyonki woh log bhi apni hi tarah muflis the |”


…Countless people have fallen in love. Were their feelings not genuine? But they lacked the wherewithal to advertise themselves because they were poor, as we are!
All young men and women who had the sensitivity to fall in love but not the means to lead a happy, luxurious life identified with Sahir…
And, one day, when Geeta submerged me in the intoxicating “husn bhi faani aur ishq bhi faani hai, hanske bitaa le, do ghadi ki jawani hai” I was too elated too realise that Sahir the lyricist had stepped into my life. It never occurred to me that this song could have been written by Sahir. In those days, the lyricists who wrote of beauty, love and youth were different. This song did not harmonise with the mental picture of a Sahir who had penned ‘Taj Mahal’. Enamoured of that poem, when I had tried to trace Sahir, I had learnt that he had emigrated to Pakistan. That pain had gradually subsided… I had never heard a song written by Sahir, indeed, hadn’t even heard that he wrote film songs. Further, since we knew he had gone to Pakistan, there was no place for him in our guessing game of ‘Who has written this?’ which we used to play with every new song. But Sahir gave us a pleasant surprise. In a fit of joy we pieced together the information that Sahir had returned from Pakistan, that he was in Mumbai, and that he had become a lyricist. But my mind was awhirl, trying to find a glimpse of the poet who’d written ‘Taj Mahal’ in the songs of ‘Baazi’…
I was listening to the songs of ‘Baazi’, each more romantic than the last, with rapt attention : ‘Sharmaaye kaahe, ghabraaye kaahe’, ‘Yeh kaun aayaa ki mere dil di duniya mein bahaar aayee’, ‘Aaj ki raat piyaa dil na todo’, ‘Dekh ke akeli mohe barkha sataaye re’ and ‘Tum bhi na bhoolo baalam, hum bhi na bhoole’. A true poet cannot stay hidden; even when writing for others, his inspiration cannot remain concealed. I kept feeling that the progressive Sahir must be somewhere in the songs of ‘Baazi’, it was I who could not find him. When I finally found him in Kishore’s ‘dandar dandar dandarda’ I was happier than Archimedes. Sahir’s progressive voice could not be cloaked even when writing lines like ‘teri kasam, meri jaan’:

“aur honge jinhe aaraam ke saamaan mile
apni kashti ko to saahil pe bhi toofah mile
arey teri kasam, meri jaan –
naiya pooraani hai, toofaan bhi puraane hai
apne labon pe dekho aaj bhi tarane hai…”


Others may have found the means to live a life of leisure and comfort. It was my boat’s fate to encounter storms even on the shore. No matter, the boat is hoary as are the storms. Even today there are songs on my lips…
And suddenly I realized that it wasn’t Geeta Bali telling the losing gambler, Dev Anand, to believe in himself and stake another wager; it was Sahir’s message to the downtrodden:

“kya khaak woh jeena hai jo apne hi liye ho
khud mitke kisi aur ko mitne se bacha le
toote hue patwaar hain kashti ke to gam kya
haaree hui baahon ko hi patwaar banaa le
apne pe bharosa hai to yeh daav lagaa le…”



The terrible sights that met his eyes on the way to Pakistan had stifled his songs ‘mere barbat ke seene mein nagmon ka dam ghut gayta hai…’. On his return to Bharat he started singing with a free voice: ‘apne labon pe dekho aaj bhi tarane hain…’The songs of Baazi brought Sahir great renown, and dealt a powerful blow to the then prevalent belief in the film world that celebrated poets could not write film songs. This belief held sway to such an extent that producers would not dare to give successful poets an opportunity. A classical singer who could hold his audience spellbound all night could not necessarily sing a three minute film song well. Similarly a reputed poet having many superb volumes of poetry to his name may not always be able to write a four or five line film song well. These songs have a technique of their own which not all poets can master. The feelings therein are not the poet’s own but those of a particular character in a specific situation. They have to be expressed in simple words which will immediately touch the heart. And all this to a tune already composed by the music director. Therefore a lyricist has to have an ear for music. Consequently, a poet who is accustomed to expressing his own experiences in his own metre often fails as a lyricist while someone with no literary originality but having a reasonable knowledge of music and moderate writing skills, often succeeds. Sometimes the songs of such writers have absolutely no literary touch yet professional success goes to their heads and they start denigrating true poets.
When Sahir entered the film world, such wordsmiths who wrote trashy songs, ruled the roost. All sorts of worthless stuff was being sold under the pretext of ‘this is what the public wants’. Before the advent of Sahir, Shailendra, etc, the most popular lyricist was B.N.Madhok. His songs were hummable as he had musical knowledge. Composers found him convenient. From a literary viewpoint his songs were ordinary. The Urdu writer Prakash Pandit frequently ridiculed him as ‘Mahakavi Madhok’ – ‘great poet Madhok’. But songs like ‘ankhiyaan milake jiya bharmake chale nahin jaana’, ‘o jaanewale balamwa’, ‘angadai teri hai bahana’, ‘milke bichhad gayi ankhiyaan’, ‘jab tum hi chale pardes’ from ‘Ratan’ brought him such popularity that he became swollen-headed and his price sky-rocketed. There was such huge demand for Madhok in those days that he never delivered songs on time to anyone. Sets and recordings would be cancelled and producers would lose thousands of rupees. To get songs on time from this ‘Mahakavi’, shrewd producers would go to him with six or seven bottles of liquor and a similar number of girls of easy virtue and lock him in a room with them. Then the great poet’s muse would awaken and lines would spring to his mind: ‘ui maa maar gayee, ho rama maar gayee tirchhee nazariya’… etc. etc.
Even allowing for exaggeration, songs from that era were mostly of this type. I’d liked Madhok’s ‘jeene ka dhang sikhaye ja’, ‘mohabbat mein kabhi aisi bhi haalat payee jaati hai’, ‘paapi papiha re’ etc. in Saigal-Suraiya’s ‘Parwana’ but his overall style of writing was of the ‘hai ram’, ‘hai hai’, ‘ui ma’ variety. The current lyricist in Madhok’s tradition, who has achieved fame despite a lack of literary quality, on the basis of musical training and the ability to quickly write songs to tunes already composed, is Anand Bakshi.
Great Urdu poets like Faiz, Josh, Sagar Nizami, Majaz, Sardar Jafri etc. were not too successful in films. But Sahir, despite being a renowned poet like them, achieved overnight popularity as a lyricist. Further, he brought with him a definite viewpoint and ideology. He was not of the tradition of romantic Urdu poets who made us feel that, day or night, there was nothing in a man’s life but love. He was a progressive poet and contemporary of the Faiz Ahmad Faiz who’d, told his beloved ‘aur bhi gam hai zamane mein mohabbat ke siwa, rahatein aur bhi hain vasl ki rahat ke siwa’. Faiz,Majaz, Jazbi, Salam Machhalishahari, Sahir and other poets had started a new era of progressive poetry in Urdu literature. They were not against love, but their love was of this world, grounded in reality. They hadn’t fallen in love with a ‘saki’ – bargirl – in a pub or a beauteous angel. They had loved ordinary girls of flesh and blood. Their beloveds did not have hearts of stone like those in Urdu literature of yore. Unlike Daag who’d written
“humne unke saamne pehle to khanjar rakh diya
phir kaleja rakh diya, dil rakh diya, sar rakh diya”,

they did no such thing. These progressive poets, too, wrote poems of unsuccessful love. But the reasons for their failure were ordinary e.g. poverty, social customs, etc. And love and heartbreak were not the only reasons for their distress. There were many other things in this world they were concerned about. Exploitation of farmers and workers, atrocities on hapless women, the torment caused by social and religious restrictions…Before joining films, Sahir had written intense love poems addressed to his beloved. He, too, wanted to meet her but not near the Taj Mahal. Even in her company he could not forget that artisans had been exploited there. He knew that the emotions of countless men and women in love were genuine but they did not have the wealth to erect monuments to their love – for, like us, they were impoverished: ‘who log bhi apni hi tarah muflis they…’


To be continued.
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zankib
post Aug 24 2006, 12:53 PM
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amazing stuff. keep writing bhrung bhai. awaiting eagerly next instalment.

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mmuk2004
post Aug 25 2006, 03:05 AM
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Milind,

Cannot tell you how greatful I am that you have chosen to share the fruit of your labour with us. Have become a great fan of Madhav Maholkar since you translated those sharply insightful and incredibly emotive essays on Talat Mahmood and Geeta Dutt from the same book (Geet Yatri). Naturally, a great portion of the enjoyment of the essays also comes from your flawlessly fluid translation of Maholkar's text...

Have been looking forward to his views on Sahir with great expectations...


As I had read and commented on this portion of your essay before, my perceptions still hold true for me... biggrin.gif

Moholkar begins with what I feel is the most radical aspect of Sahir's poetry , it goes beyond social consciousness into actual identification with his receptive audience. After declaring iconoclastically that the Taj for him is not a symbol of love and pointing towards the forgotten workers who get no share in the glory of the structure he moves on to the beautiful lines : "Unginat logon ne duniya mein mohabbat ki hai/Kaun kehta hai ki sadiq na the jazbe unke/ Par unke liye tashreer ka samaan nahin/ Kyon ke woh log bhi apni hi tarah muflis the". This identification has so much humility in it...not personal(I don't think Sahir was particularly known for personal humility!) but a poet's humility infused with perception and tremendous empathy. As Moholkar states it, it is his sincerity which catches your attention and then he has you hooked.

Very interesting, he gives you an overview of other similarly dissenting views on the Taj, would have liked to get the dates of the poems he mentions.

Had not even noticed the lyricist D N Madhok before, again very interesting information, infused by his wonderful anecdotes and informed comments on the discipline needed to write lyrics for films which is a whole different ballgame from pure poetry. What a superb balancing of the two worlds of literature and films, so similar to his subject matter, Sahir himself!



"This isn't right, this isn't even wrong."
Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958)

"There are no facts, only interpretations."
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

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bawlachintu
post Aug 25 2006, 08:54 PM
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QUOTE(mmuk2004 @ Aug 25 2006, 03:05 AM) *


Had not even noticed the lyricist D N Madhok before, again very interesting information, infused by his wonderful anecdotes and informed comments on the discipline needed to write lyrics for films which is a whole different ballgame from pure poetry. What a superb balancing of the two worlds of literature and films, so similar to his subject matter, Sahir himself!


First of all, my apologies before putting 2/4 cents! for my stereotype comments

It is given to believe by literary figures and musiclovers that 3 greats , Majrooh,
Sahir and Shailendra were able to maintain a perfect balance between literature and songwriting.
Thoughts suiting to filmi situations came to all three naturally. Sahir was the most uncompromising
of all three. His chemistry went well with Ravi and N Dutta. We cant forget Roshan's Tajmahal too.
Sachin Dev Burman created wonders with his writings.

Sahir and Shailendra have drawn few memorable sketches of pain on paper.
Drawing a parallel between these legends gives you innovative methods of expressing
the human feelings.

Thanks Milind for another treat of words. We love and enjoy your posts.


Regards

BC


Here is the best singer of universe

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw ."

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Bhrung
post Sep 7 2006, 04:26 PM
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Ashqon mein jo paya hai woh geeton mein diya hai…2




From 'Geet-Yatree' by the late Shri Madhav Moholkar.
The article is quite long and will have to be uploaded in parts.The responsibility for any mistakes in translation is entirely mine.




Though Sahir wrote 'apne hi tarah muflis the', he himself was the son of a jagirdar and could have lived a cofortable life. He had brought poverty upon himself, not inherited it.He was born in a jagirdar family of Ludhiana on 8th March 1922. His father had married eleven times but had no other issue. Naturally Sahir grew up as a pampered child who lived an ostentatious life and insited on having his own way at all times. Right from childhood he was very close to his mother. He never cared much for his father who served the British government. In his poetry he has heaped scorn on the feudal class :
"main un ajdaad ka beta hoon jinhone paiham
ajnabi qaum ke saaye ki himaayat ki hai |
gadar ki saa-at-e-naapaak se lekar ab tak
har kade waqt mein sarkaar ki khidmat ki hai ||"

Discord between Sahir's parents started when he was a child. Tired of her husband's wanton and hedonistic nature, his mother decided to get a divorce. The question of Sahir's custody now arose. His father wanted an heir to his estate and had no offspring but Sahir. Finally the quarrel between husband and wife landed up in court. That was the decisive moment in Sahir's life. Sahir, who was devoted to his mother, rejected the jagir and declared in open court that he would stay with his mother. That day this son of a jagirdar became a 'muflis' ! This was the commencement of his struggle for existence, and of his poetry. He started putting his bitter experiences of the world into words. What did Sahir give the world through his poetry? Whatever the world had given him, he returned through his poems...
" duniya ne tajurbaat-o-hawaadis ki shakl mein
jo kuch mujhe diya hai wo lauta rahaa hoon main..."

After giving up the jagir, education became a necessity for Sahir. His father found the very idea of the son of a jagirdar going to school-college like an ordinary boy, insulting.As if that wasn't bad enough, he came to know that the young man had become a poet and was writing couplets! In his eyes this was the nadir of Sahir's downfall! But one day a miracle happened. Someone informed him that Ludhiana's magistrate liked Sahir's poetry and that he used to send a car to fetch Sahir to his bungalow to listen to it. From that day he started telling everyone he met - 'My son has become a poet...my son has become a poet, he goes to the magistrate's bungalow!
But Sahir's relations with his father remained strained. The jagir was gone, his happiness and his prosperous lifestyle were gone and he had to suddenly face a struggle for existence. It meant that Sahir had to grow up before his time. Further, his sensitive mind received another blow as he grew to manhood. The terrible sorrow of unrequited love fell to his lot...
Who knows who was the girl with whom he had fallen in love? But on reading the poems he wrote in that phase of his life it is evident that he was possessed by his love for her. His longing for her was intense. Day and night, he could think of nothing else. The fire of frustration was singeing him and he conveyed his feelings to her through his poems...
Though his beloved was now someone else's, her sweet fragrance still permeated his nights. He swore by her blooming cheeks, 'Wherever you may be, your eyelashes yet shade my eyes' :

"tu kisi aur ke daman ki kali hai lekin
meri raatein teri khusboo se basee rehti hain
tu kahin bhi ho tere phool se aariz ki kasam
teri palkein meri aankhon pe jhukee rehti hain..."

Once he decided to forget about his failure in love. He felt that if he could dissipate the sorrow of love in the sorrows of the world, he would automatically think no more about it :

"main ne harchand gam-e-ishq ko khona chaha,
gam-e-ulfat gam-e-duniya mein samona chaha !"

He did not succeed.Her tresses were still strewn over his nights. Those eyes continued to look at him. Even extreme sorrow could not cure his grief. His mind knew no peace. He accepted every sorrow in this world as his own but his agonised soul could not not find a way to forget its sadness.

" wahi gesoo meri raaton pe hain bikhare bikhare
wahi aankhein meri jaanib nigaraan hain ab tak |
kasarat-e-gam bhi mere gam ka mudaawaa na hui,
mere bechain khayaalon ko sukoon mil na sakaa |
dil ne duniya ke har ik dard ko apnaa to liya,
mujmahil rooh ko andaaz-e-junoon mil na sakaa |"

Sometimes it would occur to him that his life could have been happy in the shadow of her silken hair. The darkness written in his fate would have vanished in the rays of her sight :

"kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayal aata hai
ki zindagi teri zulfon ki narm chhaon mein
guzarne paati to shaadaab bhi ho sakti hai|
ye teergee jo mere jist ka muqaddar hai
teri nazar ki shuaaon mein kho bhi sakti thi ||"

But it was not to be. And now the situation is that neither she nor sorrow nor the search for her is here. Life goes on without even the hope of someone's support. Having accepted all the sadness of the world he wanders over unknown roads. In the thorny jungle of life and death fearsome shadows advance towards him. One night the thought of suicide comes to him. Darkness everywhere. The wailing of the wind. Who knows whether that night had dawn written in its fate? But he felt like looking at her window one last time. Tomorrow his closing eyes may no longer have the strength to do so. Lamps still burn in her warm bedchamber and light streams through blue curtains. The hands of a stranger sport with her perfumed tresses. Here shadows creep forward towards the smoke of the dying lamps...This world is a graveyard of people suffering injustice. How long can one amuse oneself with dreams of the future ? One can endure one or two days of travail; but living is a sentence of crawling for life :

" zulm sehte hue insaanon ke is maktal mein
koi fardaa ke tasavvoor mein kahaan tak behle ?
umrbhar rengte rehne ki sazaa hai jeenaa,
ek-do din ki azeeyat ho to koi seh le"

The lamps of her warm bedchamber are still burning. He is going to enter the blackness of death today, going to cross the boundary of death along with the smoke of the dying lamps :

"abhi roshan hai tere garm shabistan ke diye
aaj main maut ke gaaron mein utar jaaoonga |
aur dum todti batti ke dhuen ke hamraah,
sarhad-e-marg-e-musalsal se guzar jaaoonga ||"

The stillness of night. Close,suffocating atmosphere. His heart was overcast by the shadows of nameless sorrows. His mind irrationally insisted that she should come to give him peace of mind. She did not, but from somewhere her voice suddenly came to his ears - as a stream pierces the heart of a mountain, as a star, tormented by its love for the earth, falls to the ground.

"yun achanak teri awaaz kahin se aai
jaise parbat ka jigar cheer ke jharana phoote
ya zameenon ki mohabbat mein tadapkar nagah
aasmanon se koi shokh sitara toote..."

She was singing somewhere far away. Yet he could feel her presence nearby.She had brought back his lost dreams hiden in her songs. She had persuaded his sulking sleep to return:

" tu bahut door kisi anjuman-e-naaz mein thi
phir bhi mehsoos kiya maine ki tu aayee hai
aur nagmon mein chupakar mere khoye hue khwab
meri roothi hui neendon ko mana lai hai...'


To be continued.

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kabir
post Sep 7 2006, 05:25 PM
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awesome !!!


great stuff ,lutf aa gaya parh ke

aage bhi intezaar rahega bhrug jee aapki agli post ka


shukriya
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suhana_safar
post Sep 7 2006, 05:52 PM
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[quote name='bawlachintu' date='Aug 25 2006, 08:54 PM' post='281349']
[quote name='mmuk2004' post='281157' date='Aug 25 2006, 03:05 AM']

It is given to believe by literary figures and musiclovers that 3 greats , Majrooh,
Sahir and Shailendra were able to maintain a perfect balance between literature and songwriting
.
Thoughts suiting to filmi situations came to all three naturally. Sahir was the most uncompromising
of all three. His chemistry went well with Ravi and N Dutta. We cant forget Roshan's Tajmahal too.
Sachin Dev Burman created wonders with his writings.

[/quote]

My congrats to all here. I would like to add the names of Shakeel and Raja Mehdi Ali khan in the list.

Even LP has done wonders with lyrics of Sahir.

Excellent stuff Bhurung.


PLAYBACK SINGING STARTS AND ENDS WITH RAFISAAB. IN TERMS OF QUALITY, CONSISTENCY & VERSATILITY, RAFISAAB IS INFINITE LIGHT YEARS AHEAD OF ALL SINGERS BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER HIM.
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Milind
post Jan 9 2007, 04:42 PM
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Ashqon mein jo paya hai woh geeton mein diya hai…3




Translated from the original Marathi article in 'Geet-Yatree' by the late Shri Madhav Moholkar.
The article is quite long and will have to be uploaded in parts.The responsibility for any mistakes in translation is entirely mine.

I had posted the first two parts of this article under the name 'Bhrung'. Subsequently, for personal reasons I was unable to visit/post to this forum (or any other) for quite a while. When I returned here recently I found that Admin had, quite rightly & justifiably under the rules, terminated my membership. sad.gif I've now re-registered ( biggrin.gif )under my own name 'Milind' and am posting the the next part of the article.


Though she was not with him, he could feel every breath of hers on him till the morning. She could be seen in every dewdrop. Her fragrance permeated each moment. If she so desired, he would no longer await her henceforth in the dark nights. He would look for her in the showers of songs and couplets. Henceforth, if love for her tortures him, his existence will be subsumed in her sensuous voice, and his soul, restless for her, will dance on her lips as songs :

“ab yahi hai tujhe manjoor to ai jaan-e-bahaar
main teri raah na dekhoongaa siyaah raaton mein
dhoondh legi meri tarasi hui nazarein tujhko
nagma-o-sher ki umadi hui barsaaton mein
ab tera pyar satayega to meri hasti
teri mastibhari awaaz mein dhal jaayegi
aur ye rooh jo tere liye bechain-si hai
geet banker tere hothon pe machal jaayegi”


While studying in Ludhiana’s Government College Sahir went through various stages of heartbreak and kept expressing his emotions through his poetry. He tried to merge his sorrows in the sorrows of the world. The woes of others upset him as much as his own. The sorrows of society gave his mind no peace. He was always in the forefront of student agitations. But he had to pay the price for that. He was expelled from the Government College for taking part in student protests. Leaving college was very painful for Sahir. Taking leave of his friends who had proved successful in college life, this footloose, pure-minded poet saluted them again and again:

“ae sarzameen-e-pak ke yaaraane-neknaam!
baa-sad-khuloos shaayar-e-awaara ka salam”


The flowers of his life had withered here. The flowers of his happiness were buried beneath these roads:

“kumhlaayein hain yahaan pe meri zindagi ke phool
in raaston mein dafn hain meri khushi ke phool…”


In the surroundings of this college Sahir had sung the ‘raag’s of fidelity, had sung songs of fire to spread fire, had rebelled, sung songs of revolution and had dreamed of a new order, had sung songs which had brought joy to his soul, had hidden his tears in his songs:

“gaayein hai is fazaa mein wafaaon ke raag bhi
nagmaat-e-aatishi se bikheri hai aag bhi
sarkash banein hai, geet bagaavat ke gaayein hai
barson naye nizam ke nakshe banayein hai
nagma nishaat-e-rooh ka gayaa hai baarahaa
geeton mein aansuon ko chupaayaa hai baarahaa…”


3.



In 1943 Sahir was forced to leave college.It was the time of the second World War. Inflation was rampant. Large swathes of the country were affected by famine. Lakhs of people were dying of starvation. And Sahir, leaving the shelter of his ancestral mansion, had stepped out into the wide world to earn his living. How to fill his own and his mother’s stomach was the question facing him. The dreamy Sahir had prepared a collection of all his poems. Poems from which sparks flew. Poems in which he’d hidden his tears. He’d felt that someone would publish his collection, enabling him to earn some money and tide over the difficult days. He came to Lahore in search of a publisher.
Twenty-one or twenty-two years old, with a heart filled with a world of dreams and emotions. And around him a dry, uncaring city. From dawn to dusk Sahir wandered through the streets of Lahore. Unmindful of hunger and thirst, braving the heat and the sun. He’d take anyone he met to a restaurant, stand them tea and cigarettes and recite his poems to them. He’d explain the background of each poem in detail and, lost in himself, would recite his ghazals, while running his hands through his hair. He knew all his couplets by heart. He never felt the need to look into his notebook. When one publisher turned him down he would go another. He was always on the move as if his feet had wheels. To add to it all, his artist soul would constantly berate him for selling his poetry, for auctioning in the bazaar verses written out of love for someone. Finally he unburdened himself before the one for whom he’d written:

“maine jo get tere pyar ki khatir likhe
aaj un geeton ko bazaar mein le aaya hoon…
aaj dukaan par neelam uthega inka
tune jin geeton par rakhi thi mohabbat ki asaas
aaj chaandi ki tarazu mein tulegi har cheez
mere afkaar, meri shayari, mera ehsaas |”



I have brought to the market the songs I had written out of love for you. The songs on which you’d laid the foundation of our love will be auctioned in a shop today. My songs, my experiences, all will be weighed on a silver scale today. Poverty has brought me to a stage where I’ve had to turn songs meant only for you, into saleable commodities. Hunger needs things far more essential for life than tales of your beautiful visage. See, in the realm of labour and capital even my songs cannot remain mine. I’ve brought my love songs to the market-place…Sahir raised his voice against capitalism not only with reference to his beloved but directly too. He had limitless empathy for farmers and labourers. He’d told them: ‘Mere geet tumhare hain…” As long as you are hungry and naked the flames of my songs will not die. As long you are sorrowful my songs will not be pleasing:

“aaj se ai mazdoor kisanon! mere raag tumhare hain
phaakakash insaanon! mere jog-bihaag tumhare hain|
jab tak tum bhookhe-nange ho, ye sholay khamosh na honge
jab tak be-aaram ho tum, ye nagmein raahat-kosh na honge|”



And if people refused to accept him as an artist or if merchants of reflection and poetry, and critics refused to call his couplets poetry because he wrote such poems, it did not cause him even an iota of grief. For he had dedicated his art, all his hopes and aspirations to the oppressed, the downtrodden. His songs would reflect their joys, their sorrows:


"mujhko iska ranj nahin hai, log mujhe fankaar na maane

fikr-o-sukhan ke tazir mere sheron ko ashaar na maane

mera fun, meri ummeedein, aaj se tumko arpan hain

aaj se mere geet tumhare dukh aur sukh ka darpan hai|"



Seeing his beloved despondent Sahir had told her too - I have other sorrows besides yours. I cannot escape from them even for a moment:

"tumhare gam ke siwa aur bhi to gam hai mujhe

nijaat jinse main ik lehzaa paa nahin sakta|"



Which were these sorrows that ailed Sahir? The pleading cries of hungry beggars at the bases of tall mansions, the pitiful cries of poverty and starvation in every house, everywhere the sighs of men and the clattering of machines in factories - burying the songs of lakhs of indigent souls:


"ye oonche oonche makaanon ki dhyodhiyon taley

har ek gaam pe bhookhe bhikhariyon ki sadaa

har ek ghar mein ye iflaas aur bhookh ka shor

har ek simt ye insaaniyat ki aah-o-bakaa

ye karkhanon mein lohey ka shorgul jisme

hai dafn lakhon garibon ki rooh ka nagma..."



Describing all these social ills Sahir told his despondent beloved - This sorrow is sufficient to destroy my life. Do not increase my heart's sorrow further by remaining unhappy:

"ye gam bahut hai meri zindagi mitaane ko

udaas rehke mere dil ko aur ranj na do..."



Who knows the number of people before whom Sahir had bared the sadness in his soul for downtrodden humanity and to how many he recited the songs of his unsuccessful love? But in those days Sahir was not a well-known poet that any publisher would jump at the chance to publish his collection of poems. At that time Sahir was not 'Sahir'. He was Abdul Hai, a rising poet, to whom anyone could give a dose of advise and send packing. Who would print his book? And that too, a collection of poems! Nobody was prepared to do so. Having exhausted all his money on buying people tea and cigarettes Sahir, one day, left Lahore and returned to Ludhiana.

But the star of Sahir's fortune suddenly shone. Delhi's 'Preetladi', a monthly magazine, published a compilation of his verses titled 'Talkhiyan'. 'Talkhiyan' came into the market and, overnight, Sahir became a favourite poet of the youth. His 'mere mehboob kahin aur mila kar mujhse' won the hearts of the youth of Hindustan. Some of them were so crazy about it as to stop and beat up up the editor of the Lahore monthly 'Humayun' in Anarkali bazar for having criticised 'Talkhiyan'. Poor Yusuf Zafar's cycle had fallen to one side and his spectacles smashed.From the next day he changed his opinion and admitted that 'Talkhiyan' was the best of its era! Certainly the number of editons of 'Talkhiyan' published would make any poet envious. Not only were there about twenty or twenty-two Urdu editions, twelve were published in Hindi as well. Such good fortune seldom comes the way of a collection of verse!

Though his collection was published Sahir's financial woes were by no means over. After being expelled from college he came to Lahore. He worked in the editorial departments of 'Shahkaar' and 'Adab-e-Lateef' but could not earn enough to make both ends meet. The money he made there couldn't even cover the cost of his tea and snacks. Finally he decided to go to Mumbai and enter the film world. A college friend of his was making a film called 'Azaadi Ki Raah Par'. When the time came to write songs for the motion picture he remembered his poet friend. He called Sahir to Mumbai. This was in 1946. Sahir gradually started settling down in Mumbai. He developed contacts in the film world and showed signs of establishing himself. Yet, once again, suddenly everything fell apart...

On 15th August 1947 India gained independence but Pakistan, too, was born at the same time. Sahir had come to Mumbai alone and was struggling in the film industry. His mother was still in Ludhiana. After partition she went to Lahore as a refugee. For his mother's sake Sahir then set off for Pakistan. Crossing heaps of corpses and rivers of blood he somehow reached Lahore. The horrific scenes on the way created a tremendous impact on his mind. He felt that he'd lost all his poetry...

So far he'd woven dreams of the moon and stars, of springtime. He'd sung songs of beauty and love, had decorated palaces of hope. Everytime he'd come he'd brought new songs with him. But today his torn 'daaman' ( Translator's note: Can anyone suggest an apt English word for this, please?) contained nothing but the dust of the roads he had travelled:


"saathiyon! main ne barson tumhare liye

chaand, taaron, bahaaron ke sapne buney

husn aur ishq ke geet gaata raha

aarzuon ke aiwaan sajaata raha

main tumhara muganni, tumhare liye

jab bhi aaya naye geet laata raha

aaj lekin mere daaman-e-chaak mein

gard-e-raah-e-safar ke siwa kuch nahin..."



In a storm of destruction, through fire and flowing blood and through roads filled with the rubble of falling houses he went from door to door, begging, with bent head, his bag of songs open - Give me peace and culture. Give back to my wounded lips the rhythms of my songs, my notes, my flute:


"aur main is tabahi ke toofaan mein

aag aur khoon ke haizaan mein

sarnigoon aur shikasta makaanon ke malbey se pur raaston par

apne nagmon ki jholi pasaare

dar-ba-dar phir rahaa hoon

mujhko aman aur tehzeeb ki bheekh do

mere geeton ki lay,mere sur, meri nai

mere majrooh hothon ko phir saunp do..."



When Sahir reached Lahore, the old Lahore had changed. In a city where people of many faiths had once lived without fear one could now see people of only one religion. Sahir was afraid. He felt suffocated in that environment. As editor of 'Savera' in Lahore he wrote a series of articles that led to the government of Pakistan issuing a warrant for his arrest. Sahir escaped from Lahore and took refuge in Delhi. There he worked in the editorial department of 'Shahraah' and 'Preetladi' for some time but eventually he could restrain himself no longer and returned to Mubai and the film industry.


To be continued...

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mmuk2004
post Mar 18 2007, 07:58 PM
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Milind

Sorry for taking this long a time to reply to your painstaking translation of Sahir. Have been away from HF for a while but it was a pleasure to return and re-read this wonderful essay.

Sahir's various experiences, some typical, some so personal, come alive as usual in Moholkar's essay. Sahir pines for his beloved but he also makes that feeling of loss into an inspiration for his poetry. All his personal experiences become a vivid art form in his poems, who else could write so bitterly about how he has to sell his poems to sustain himself and make readers sigh in empathy over how the poet is forced to commercialse his art... and then again the experience of the war, seen through Sahir's horrified consciousness, his veering back and forth between India and Pakistan, disillusioned by both sides, provides a unique personal expression of the alienated and suffering individual who like so many others was pulled into the nighmare of this particular war.

Tried very hard to translate "daaman" and failed, it is one of those words whose translation would need to change with the context in which it is used. Having said that, I still could not translate the word as it is used here, other than the embarassingly inadequate "garments" nothing else comes to mind... sad1.gif

Moholkar as usual is brilliant in his juxtaposition of Sahir's verses while recording the development of Sahir's career, but I did get the feeling that this essay is not as personal as his other two essays on Geeta Dutt and Talat. Did you get the same feeling? I remember you had said that it is a fairly long essay, much longer than the other two so there might be a lot more that is still to come.

Please, please do continue, I am waiting anxiously for the next installment.



"This isn't right, this isn't even wrong."
Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958)

"There are no facts, only interpretations."
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

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bawlachintu
post Mar 18 2007, 11:04 PM
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QUOTE(mmuk2004 @ Mar 18 2007, 07:58 PM) *

Milind

Sorry for taking this long a time to reply to your painstaking translation of Sahir. Have been away from HF for a while but it was a pleasure to return and re-read this wonderful essay.

Sahir's various experiences, some typical, some so personal come alive as usual in Moholkar's essay. Sahir pines for his beloved but he also makes that feeling of loss into an inspiration for his poetry. All his personal experiences become a vivid art form in his poems, who else could write bitterly about how he has to sell his poems to sustain himself and make readers sigh over how the poet is forced to commercialse his art... and then again the experience of the war, seen through Sahir's horrified consciousness, his veering back and forth between India and Pakistan, disillusioned by both sides, provides a unique personal expression of the alienated and suffering individual who like so many others was pulled into the nighmare of the war...

Tried very hard to translate "daaman" and failed, it is one of those words whose translation would need to change with the context in which it is used. Having said that, I still could not translate the word as it is used here, other than the embarassingly inadequate "garments" nothing else comes to mind... sad1.gif

Moholkar as usual is brilliant in his juxtaposition of Sahir's verses while recording the development of Sahir's career, but I did get the feeling that this essay is not as personal as his other two essays on Geeta Dutt and Talat. Did you get the same feeling? I remember you had said that it is a fairly long essay, much longer than the other two so there might be a lot more that is still to come.

Please, please do continue, I am waiting anxiously for your next installment...


Welcome back Madhavi.

Daman is a wide term. Meaning changes with the use. Go by the meaning first.
1 The extreme end of a saarii .
2 Skirt of a garment.

Tere daaman mein seems to mean in your company.
Daaman phailaana means to beg.

Daamangeer = an adherent, dependent

Daaman pakadna = to seek the protection of or to become a follower of

Daaman mein daag lagna = to have a broken feather in one\'s wing or to suffer a moral fall

Daaman chhudana = to free oneself from something

Choli-daaman kaa nata = intimate connection

Derive the meaning from examples above,
which is relevant to the situation/song under question in Milind's post.





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"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw ."

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mmuk2004
post Mar 19 2007, 05:31 PM
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QUOTE(bawlachintu @ Mar 18 2007, 12:34 PM) *


Welcome back Madhavi.


Thanks BC. smile.gif
QUOTE(bawlachintu @ Mar 18 2007, 12:34 PM) *

Daman is a wide term. Meaning changes with the use. Go by the meaning first.
1 The extreme end of a saarii .
2 Skirt of a garment.

Tere daaman mein seems to mean in your company.
Daaman phailaana means to beg.

Daamangeer = an adherent, dependent

Daaman pakadna = to seek the protection of or to become a follower of

Daaman mein daag lagna = to have a broken feather in one\'s wing or to suffer a moral fall

Daaman chhudana = to free oneself from something

Choli-daaman kaa nata = intimate connection

Derive the meaning from examples above,
which is relevant to the situation/song under question in Milind's post.


Thanks for the list of meanings of Daaman, I did notice that common to all meanings of daaman is the close association/identification of the garment with the moral fibre/personality of the person wearing it.



"This isn't right, this isn't even wrong."
Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958)

"There are no facts, only interpretations."
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

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bawlachintu
post Mar 19 2007, 10:15 PM
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Good grasp !!

Daman is a powerful word indeed.


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bawlachintu
post Mar 19 2007, 10:18 PM
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Ashqon mein jo paya hai wo geeton mein diya hai,
uspar bhi suna hai zamane ko gila hai.................

A topclass and timeless melody. Aaj bhi jitni baar is gane ko sunta hoon aisa
lagta hai jaise naya ho aur pehli baar sun raha hoon. Wo tazgi hai is
gaane ke andar.


Here is the best singer of universe

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw ."

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