I am sure many young people may not be knowing his name but be humming the songs written by him. The young writer hails from Malerkotla, Sangrur, Punjab. His name is Irshad Kamil. He has breathed a freshness in the Bollywood film songs. It is just a beginning. I am sure, he shall blaze a trail in this field.
Man of many gifts, he has dabbled in various professions like a reporter for newspapers in Chandigarh. He wrote scripts of many serials for television. Some of the films he had written the songs for are Jab We Met, Rockstar, Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani.
Recently, I watched his interview on Rajya Sabha television. Besides discussing so many things, he told the interviewer about a popular romantic song from Jab We Met. He met a woman who told him that she listens this song daily in the morning as a prayer song. Just have a look at the lyrics.
Na hai yeh pana,
Na Khona hi hai,
Tera Na hona jane Kyun,
hona hi hai
Tum se hi din hota hai
Surmaiye shaam aati hai,
Tumse hi tumse hi
Har ghari saans aati hai,
Zindagi kehlati hai,
Tumse hi tumse hi
It is just a matter of perspective. Lyrics are just like a prayer. Kamil said he was himself surprised and went through the lyrics in his mind and realised that they are really like a prayer in the praise of God.
River of Time flows eternally,
It never swells, it never dries,
It is always the same,
It was here before Universe,
It was here before Earth, Stars & Moon,
It does not care, it does not mind,
It never complains
It shall be here rest assure,
When we shall be gone,
Our moon, Sun & stars shall be switched off,
It shall flow eternally,
It shall never grow old,
It was, is and shall be stoic as ever.
Time is the greatest of All.
In the Punjabi literature, the name of Shiv Kumar Batalvi stands out amongst the poets. He was the master of metaphor. He drew his metaphors from the rural life of Punjab, animals, birds, farming, Ramayan, Mahabharat, Guru Granth Sahib and the Patwaris and quarrels about the land. As with all gifted poets, he had keen eye to observe the life around him. This closeness to the soil may have been the due to of his father being the Land officer.
His poetry expresses the anguish and helplessness of the downtrodden, oppression of the women in the male dominated society. The epic poem “Luna” as narrated by him is a fitting example of the latter.
Luna, daughter of poor man was forced to marry the King who was like her father in the years and she was just a young woman.
The king who had a son by his another wife was just about the same age as Luna. Luna, chanced to see him and naturally developed a soft corner for him. A society which was intolerant to women freedom and equality labelled her a ignoble and characterless woman. This timeless tale of Punjab reflects the general attitude towards women.
The story was rewritten by Shiv, who questioned such insults to her and instead asked why the society never raised a finger at the king for marrying a girl the age of his daughter with poverty and beauty as her only faults.
He never compromised about his poetry in his life. His poems which were already written by him were used in the films. Many of his poems became the anthem of the youth in Punjab and even today no upcoming serious Punjabi singers is satisfied till he renders some poetry of Shiv.
The last in this line is the singer Rabbi Gill who sang the sufi song of Baba Bulleh Shah namely “Bulla ki Jana main Kaun” and the song became a rage. Other prominent singers who have sung the poetry of Shiv are Jagjit Singh, Surinder Kaur, Asa Singh Mastana, Mohamad Rafi, Hans Raj Hans and Mohinder Kapoor.
It is said that he fell in love with a girl belonging to the Sikh community. But girl was married off to someone else by her father. Heart broken, Shiv resorted to fatalism and turned to the drinking. Many of his poems reflect the chasm between rich and poor and helplessness. He went away so soon and deprived us more of beautiful literature.
These days rewinding of the tape on the spool of life is taking place frequently. This may be a indicator of many things. One of them may be that the person is not at ease in the present circumstances and since one cannot run away easily, the only escape is to take shelter in the past memories.
The events of the past, good or bad, which become memories. As they have now become history and rewriting them is beyond our capacity, so begin to like them. We are lost in the reminisces!!
The childhood of every person is greener as compared to the present status. The longer you go back into the past, we were more nearer to the mother nature. Of course my memories have been stirred by watching the oldest TV channel in India. DD Bharati channel airs old recordings.
On such recording I watched a few days back, was a documentary on the revolutionary poet Makhdum Mohiuddin by Muzzaffar Ali.
Who can forget the songs of movie “Bazaar” ? This film was also made by Muzzaffar Ali. He makes a movie after a hell lot of research and has a great eye for detail. He does not seem to be bothered by the expenditure and strives to bring back the milieu of the settings of the story to life. This is called the creativity.
Makhdum Mohiuddin was born in a village in the Medak district in 1907. It was the time when the British ruled India. Hyderabad had a Nizam. Mohiuddin studied till MA and taught in a college.
He joined the marxist party of India. Many a times he went to jail. His poetry reflects the struggle of an ordinary man and the love.
Hyderabad has a strong Udru base in its own right due to being ruled by Nizams. It is also said that Nizams were richest rulers in the world though the disparity between rich and poor was very high.
Long back, he wrote one Nazm called “Ek Chameli Ke Mandve Tale” which was quite lengthy. It was a very popular song of the time. The song of Bazaar called “Phir Chhidi Baat raat phulon ki” was also hugely popular. It was sung by Lata and Talat Aziz and music was composed by the inimitable Khayaam.
In the documentary, this song was sung as a quawaali by some quawaals in such a beautiful way that it seemed even more ethereal than the song sung by Talat Aziz and Lata.
I tried unsuccessfully to find it the internet because nowhere in the documentary the names of singers appeared. Most of his poems are compiled in the book “बिसात-ए-रक़्स” . One of his poems starts with following lines.
Hayat le ke chalo, kayenat le ke chalo, chalo to sare zamane ko saath leke chalo… (Take the life with you, take the universe with you, when you go, take the people with you…)
This clearly shows that he was a people’s poet. He draw the material and ideas for his poems from the life of the common people.
Both Boabdil (Arab. Abu-Abdallah or Ez-Zogoiby, the Unlucky) the last occupant of the Moorish throne of Granada and Wajid Ali Shah, who ruled Oudh, a princely state in Uttar Pradesh India from 1847 to 1856 are separated both in space and time from each other.
Why I am putting them on the same page is that both lacked the attitude which is required to be a ruler.
The mind of Wajid Ali was on other things like arts and poetry. He was the tenth and last Nawab of Oudh.
Boabdil ascended to rule the Granada after he drove out his father Abdul-Hassan in 1481. He was captured in 1483 by the King of Castile, and made a nominal tributary, returning to Granada to resume his struggles against his father and uncle. In 1491 the Moorish capital fell to Ferdinand, though Boabdil fought with a courage strangely at variance with his infirmity of purpose.
And now the common trait which I have gleaned from the occasions of them being forced to step down from the throne and their reaction of helplessness.
Boabdil, as he rode away to the coast, he halted on a ridge at Padul, still called El Ultimo Sospiro del Mora (The Moor’s last sigh), to take a farewell look at the Alhambra, his palace, burst into tears at the sight. Whereupon his mother is said to have thus reproached him: “You may well weep like a woman for what you could not defend like a man.” He died shortly afterwards on the field of battle in Africa.
In the case of Wajid Ali Shah, he was removed by the British on the pretext of failure of administration to rule the state, bad management and anarchy in the state while he was immured in the pleasures with courtesans. When he was removed which he did without any protests (only his mother tried her best to convince the British who had made their mind to remove the king). He composed a thumri, lyrics of which are as follows:
बाबुल मोरा, नैहर छूटो ही जाए बाबुल मोरा, नैहर छूटो ही जाए
चार कहार मिल, मोरी डोलिया सजावें (उठायें) मोरा अपना बेगाना छूटो जाए | बाबुल मोरा …
आँगना तो पर्बत भयो और देहरी भयी बिदेश जाए बाबुल घर आपनो मैं चली पीया के देश | बाबुल मोरा …
My father! I’m leaving home. The four bearers lift my doli( palanquin) (here it can also mean the four coffin bearers). I’m leaving those who were my own. Your courtyard is now like a mountain, and the threshold, a foreign country. I leave your house, father, I am going to my beloved.
This poem has been rendered by many famous singers of India, K.L.Saigal being the best to date. Both are incapable and unsuited to the job the providence offered them. But both are ruing the loss of their beloved kingdoms.
If someone asks me to write again the article on same subject, I am almost certain I will not be able to reproduce it. My composition will change drastically.
I think this happens with persons who write using their heart, not with their heads. Heart is not as stable as the head. It controls the emotional part of our personalities. As the emotions depend upon the short term happenings, they tend not to be repetitive. Such persons can write fiction, poetry but not prose. Such person cannot be good managers.
May be if I had tried, I could have been a writer. But again, my interests cover not the narrow but broad spectrum. And this world, oh, it is so strange and weird, and life so short (it may be an excuse in my case, as I have already crossed 50 years of life), that I seem so helpless against the tide of time which with every passing day is becoming mightier and mightier and the day is not far when it will engulf me.