Originally posted on 27 Sep 2010 :

Agra is well known for the Taj Mahal. However, what is less known is that it also houses the 509 Army Base Workshop (nicknamed FON), which is unique in more ways than one. They hold what is called a “FON Milaap” at regular intervals for which veterans are also invited. The latest one was held last week. The unseasonal rain caused havoc, but the organizers proved equal to the challenge. The dinner was to be held in the spacious lawns, but the incessant downpour drove us into the small ante room. the hosts had planned and rehearsed an entertainment programme and they were not willing to let the rain be a spoilsport. The ante room can accommodate about fifty persons, and we were over 200, packed like sardines. But the spirit was high and the mood was upbeat.

The finale of the function was a performance by a professional ‘ghazals’ rendered by a singer of international repute, Udit Narayan. The space problem was solved when Gen Mehra and Brig Kushwaha showed the way. They sat down on the carpet in the traditional Indian style, and many others joined them. What followed was an awesome performance.

When the audience was fully tuned in, the commandant, Brig Randhawa went up to the stage and whispered something in the ears of the singer. At his ‘farmaaish’ he sang the ageless ghazal written by Akbar Allahabadi. Like most of us, I have heard it hudreds of times, but this time, since we were also told the meanings of the lyrics, the effect was enthralling.

For those who were not there, I give below the ghazal and also a link to the rendering of this song by the redoubtable Ghulam Ali. I invite you to absorb the words and then listen to it. And if you want to reach the same level of spiritual height, take one or two drinks. I assure you, there will be no ‘hungama’

In the birth place of Mirza Ghalib, we could not have asked for anything better. I think, “Zindagi bhar nahiN bhulegi voh barsaat ki raat”

 Hangaamaa hai kyuu.N barpaa; thodiisii jo pii lii hai

Hangaamaa hai kyuu.N barpaa thodii sii jo pii lii hai

Daakaa to nahiiNdaalaa,  chorii to nahiiN kii hai

Naa-tajurbaakaariise vaa_iz kii ye baate.n hai.n

Is rang ko kyaajaane puuchho to kabhii pii hai

Us mai se nahiiN matalab dil jis se hai begaanaa

maqasuud hai us mai se dil hii me.n jo khi.nchatii hai

Har zarraa chamakataa hai anavaar-e-ilaahii se

Har saa.Ns ye kahatii hai ham haiN to Khudaa bhii hai

Sooraj meiN lage dhabbaa, fitarat ke karishme haiN

But ham ko kaheiN kaafir,  Allaah kii marzii hai

(Please note that the capital N is silent, but adds a nasal sound)

Now, the link is given below. (The ghazal is preceded by a 15 second advertisement)

Meaning of some words:

Hungaama = commotion, turmoil or disorder

Barpaa =  something happening around

Na-tajurbakaari = Lack of experience or ignorance

Vaa_iz = A religious teacher or a wise person

maai = wine, or liquor

begaana = alien

maqsood = an object of desire or quest

khinch_ti = distilled or brewed. (In eastern UP making wine is called ‘khinchna’)

fitrat = nature or the creation

karismeiN = marvel or something stupendous

But = idolator (this is pronounced as ‘put’)

Kaafir = infidel or a person who does not believe in Islam

  1. Surrinder Nakai says:

    Tremendous. Kindly permit me to please recommend the following link to all ghazal lovers. This is an attempt of it’s kind by a child prodigy. Enjoy-

    Surrinder Nakai 28 Sep 12

  2. Brig Thyagarajan says:

    Thanks for the report. It appears that FON has forgotten that I was also in FON. I never got the intimation regarding the FON milap till Gen Jaswant Ahluwalia ( who was OUR production Manager) spoke to me thorugh Col Surendra’s mobile.

    I am endorsing a copy of this mail to Brig Randhawa so that my name gets included.

  3. Kumar Kohli says:

    Just gr8888888888888

  4. J Thomas says:

    Thanks. Any significance to FON ?

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