Originally posted on 28 Oct 2011 :

I am neither a poet nor a singer; but if it were not for people like you and me the likes of Ghalib, Gulzar, Abida Begham and Jagjit may not have been what they are! The great queen of melody, ‘Malika-e-tarannum’ Noor Jehan once said,

“Phankar ka phan (the fine-art of the atiste) uska apna nahiN hota. Voh to uske paas sirf uske chahne waloN ki amaanat hota hai!” 

On the eve of this Deepawali some one sent me a priceless gift. It is a nazm by Gulzar Sahib, rendered by Jagjit. When I first heard it, I was struck by the depth of the rendering. But when I carefully analyzed the meaning of this abstraction, it became clear to me that there is a subtle reference is to our conflict on the western border. The first few lines are spoken by Gulzar. They are as follows:

Aadmi Bulbula hai Paani ka,
Aur Paani Kee Behtee Sat-hey par,
Toot-ta bhee hai, Doobta bhee hai.
Phir Ubharta hai, Phir sey Behtaa hai,
Naa Samandar Nigal Sakaa Isko,
Naa Tawaareeqh Tor Paayi hai.
Waqt kee Mauj par Sadaa Behtaa,
Aadmi Bulbula hai Paani ka.


And then Jagjit takes over. The scene depicts diwali candles in lifeless wilderness… Gulzar emerges from the other side and says ‘adaab’ Jagjit replies in ‘Namaste’ and the singer says:


‘Mausam-e-gul nein khudkushi kar li…

Kis neiN barood boya baaghoN meiN?

Aao ham sab pahan leiN aaineN         (aaineN = mirrors)

Saare dekhenge apne hi chehre!”


In the next verse there is a reference to Ghalib (who is well known to be secular) Here he is said to have given us a gift to stay together for a thousand years, but this last one year has just flown by! (‘faqat’ = only or merely) And then there is a mention of Mir (Mir Taqi Mir, whom Ghalib considered his mentor)

In the end, the poet laments at the breaking up of the ‘string of pearls’ which Ghalib had carefully strung. The two Indian legends of Urdu ‘adab’ fade away behind a wall.

This album entitled “Koi baat chale” is the last one which brought Gulzar and Jagjit together. In my humble estimate, this contains more depth than all else which these two artistes have created in their lives. An ‘ocean’ has been filled in a ‘pot’ …

I have playe it several times. And every time I discover a new meaning. I offer it to the lovers of poetry, in all humility.

  1. Sarabjeet Grewal says:

    Real good one.

  2. kulbir singh says:

    Well written Sir

  3. S S Malik says:

    Woh raaste kahan thhay, aur, yeh manzilien kahan,

    Itna karib paa ke tujhe, bharr sa gaya hoon main.

    tu to hamnafas tha, hamnazar tha, hamshakl bhi tha,

    kyon hamsafar nahin,yeh soch, marr sa gaya hoon main.


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