Bhrigu's question

कभी जो याद भी आता हूँ मैं तो कहते हैं के आज बज़्म में कुछ फ़ित्ना-ओ-फ़साद नहीं - मिर्ज़ा ग़ालिब

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Monday, June 27, 2005

Babul Mora

One of the greatest songs ever written in Indian history is a tragic Thumri by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Awadh. This rangeela king was a very cultured gent.
"He learnt Hindustani vocal with Basit Khan, Pyar Khan and Jaffar Khan and underwent Kathak training under Thakur Prasadji and Bindadin Maharaj. Although his pen-name was Qaisar, be used the pseudonym "Akhtarpiya" for his numerous compositions. Under this pen- name, he wrote over 40 works, poems, prose and Thumris. "Diwani-Akhtar", "Husn-i-Akhtar" contain his Ghazals."
Unfortunately, he was up against the British. They exiled him to Calcutta. His tragic departure from his beloved Lucknow is lamented till this day. When he was informed about his exile, he wrote this Thumri:
babul mora naihar chuuto hi jaaye
chaar kahaar mil, mori Doliiyaa uthaaye
more apanaa begana chhuTo hi jaaye
anganaa to parbat bhaye, dehlii bhayi bides
je baabul ghar aapano, mai chali piya ke des

The rough translation (the song can be a metaphor for a wedding as well as funeral procession)
O father, I depart forcibly from my home
Four men gathered to lift my palanquin {see the wedding/funeral analogy here?}
my loved ones will become strangers
the innermost portals of my home will be unreachable
as I leave my father's home and go to my husband's country.
Even when he was exiled to Bengal, he married many a woman there and enjoyed life. But his beloved Lucknow remained a dream till the end.

K. L. Saigal has, of course, given an immortal Bhairavi rendition of this song in "Street Singer" - which in my opinion is the greatest Hindi film song ever recorded. But this version is by Pt. Bhimsen Joshi. The entire song is 18 minutes long and you have to hear every second of it. [There is also an excellent version by the inimitable Smt. Girija Devi.]

19 Comments:

Anonymous Ravikiran said...

is dehlii Delhi or is it related to dehleez?

12:14 AM  
Blogger Quizman said...

Dehlii = threshold (same as dehleez)

7:33 AM  
Blogger Aaman said...

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8:46 AM  
Blogger Sheetal said...

Oh, someone interested in classical music! I'll watch this blog.

8:22 PM  
Blogger Quizman said...

Thanks, Sheetal. :-)

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually it is about leaving this material world behind and moving on to the new world and when hindus die they are carried by four men, Then he goes to talk about his body, one that he was so close to and thought was his ...is now parting from him.
Th eonly house that he knew was that of his own body and now his soul moves on...

8:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

chaar kahaar mil, mori Doliiyaa uthaaye

K.L. Saigal sang "sajaye" instead of "uthaaye"

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't last line starts with "le" rather than "je". Ie. literally meaning "Babul, you keep your place, I am going to my own place." Of course, there are many spiritual meaning to be derived...

5:08 PM  
Blogger Dhananjay said...

There are many more versions of the same thumri which are legendary. To list some of them - Kesarbai Kerkar, Kishori Amonkar, Bhimsen, Girija Devi, Latafat Hussain Khan, Jitendra Abhisheki, Shobha Gurtu and Girija Devi jugalbandi.

2:45 AM  
Blogger Raza Rumi said...

wah wah -
I just came across this blog courtesy a friend who sent me a link to Girija Devi's inimitable rendition.

Impressive stuff on this blog:)

www.razarumi.com

4:21 AM  
Blogger Logi-call said...

If you like to read some thing else about Wajed Ali and Metiabruz then you have to read my post at Logi-call at http://logi-call.blogspot.com/. Hope you will have that interest.

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6:39 PM  
Blogger mekhalamyself said...

I was singing this song 2 mins ago.... My Tanpura is still tuned in Bhairavi and suddenly I wanted to find out a translation of this song.... Loved it...Thanks a lot!

5:31 PM  
Blogger Nauzer said...

I still remember listening to this song as a child and wondering why my dad had to treasure the audio cassette which at that time I was absolutely not going to even pick up and dare play it as I would be labelled a nerd by my friends...the hot and sizzling Laxmi at that time dazzled the Indian cinema with a super hit 'Julie' (the year was 1975!)....besides, it would not have been cool to listen to classical music in the age of 'Rock','pop' etc...
It was only after the phase when it was no longer possible for him to hang on to his 'two-in-one' (still with him in non-working condition) that he opted to listen to the CDs and he could not find a K.L.Saigal CD in the music stores that he requested me to get him one and also put down a condition that he would pay for it and that once I get it for him I have no access to the CD...I got one and just out of curiosity played it on my laptop to check the audio quality.......I got hooked....yes my Dad got his CD but is now happy as we both enjoy this song........In one 'you-tube' video I saw a thumbnail image of K.L.Saigal with the words - 'Babul mora naihar chuta hi jaye' and I doubted the word to be 'chuta' as I have listened to this song many times........it is actually 'chuto hi jaye' and I thought of verifying and here I landed reading up a Gospel on the song.....thanks a billion!!
Loved to read the meaning and being a father of two wonderful daughters.....brings a tear to my eye.

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