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Archive for the ‘Abeda Parveen’ Category

Abida Parveen, the therapeutic


If music is a mountain range, its Mt Everest is Abida Parveen. A summit of Sufi music, which no soul can surmount.

The Queen not only drowns herself in the music she sings, but she sweeps along her listeners too, in the tides of the overpowering words that flow out her throat. After the plunge, to rise up to the surface banal  isn’t easy.

She is mesmerising, she is addicting, she is tranquillising.

A true flag bearer of Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb, she immortalizes the words of  Bulleh Shah, Kabir and Amir Khusrau with just the same devotion.

Beyond music, pearls of abundant wisdom  she spilled, in this interview (which was taken before she enthralled the Delhi audience by the performance on March 5, 2012) reflected nothing but her rock solid conviction on which her life and music stand – of peace and love. Though thoroughly therapeutic, her words shook me.

In an interview esewhere she said:  “In Sufism there are no barriers, mine or yours, old and new. It belongs to all and connects hearts and souls. It’s power unites the singer and listener in a divine communion with the creator.”

From its very inception till this year’s Jahan e Khusrau Festival, she has been present in each of the ten held so far. “The festival is unique because it has no nationality or religion and is sacred to all of us.”

Overwhelmed, and still shaken by the genuine grief that Ali Zafar expressed over the hatred sweeping across the globe, but more so in our subcontinent, I could not hold back my own tears listening to her firm belief  that there are indeed “no internal barriers”.

The interview itself is a journey to the sublime, I would wish to take again and again. Hence, I have captured it in my blog, to preserve it as a shrine to which I shall keep returning to, in times of deep internal turmoil.

In these times of despair when we keep embracing hopelessness off and on, she lives with her heart, mind and soul steadfast on every word and verse of truth and love  she sings. 

Kudos to Barkha Dutt for immortalising these priceless pearls of wisdom.

(Click to the number below for the must watch interview)

225251 or http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/the-buck-stops-here/singer-abida-parveen-talks-about-the-power-of-sufi-music/225251

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Amir Khusrau, the disciple


Listening to the stories and anectodes of Mehboob-e-Ilahi( Beloved of God) was a norm as kids. A Mamoo, an ardent follower of Sufism, who lived in Jaipur was the source. If he ever happened to pass by Delhi, visit to the ‘Dargah’ was a mandatory.  And when in Delhi, he had to visit his sister too i.e. my mother.

He brought meethi kheels (sugar coated puffballs) every time he came from Dargah, and was ever willing to  narrate to us the stories of love  between  Mehbub-e-Ilahi and his favourite disciple.

On the other hand I saw my not so religious father’s( who also hailed from a Maulvi family) love for Amir Khusrau’s Persian poetry, and a tall tower of audio cassettes he had piled up next to his music system.

Honestly for years until early teens I did not know who Mehboob-e-Ilahi  or that disciple were and where the Dargah was. We never visited. All I knew, Ammi went with Mamoojan a few times.

Once , when during a story time, Mamoojan was corrected by my father, about a Persian verse by Amir Khusro, did I realise that there was a correlation.

“Such a great poet had a Pir?” was my instant jerky reaction. Pirs in my mental dictionary had a negative meaning and image.

Equally instant was my father’s reaction: “ Hazrat Nizamuddin was a great scholar, it’s the people later who made him a Pir, and now have opened a whole business in his name.”

Mamoojan just gave a slight smile, and as always drowned again in his love for Mehboob-e-Ilahi, continued the story.

It was then to reinforce the great bond that existed between Hazrat Nizamuddin and Amir Khusrau, did he tell of these incidents, which now I can quote with the Persian verses he might have mentioned.

Just to make it clear, most of the stories have been passed on as word of mouth, and hence I call them anectodes.

Anectode 1:
When Hazrat Nizamuddin passed away Amir Khusrau was away, in some other city, attending to the orders of a King. As he learnt of the sad news he rushed back and went straight to the  fresh grave of his master.There  he rolled in the mud and tore off his clothes in agony. Then came these words:

Gori sove sej par
mukh per dale kes
Chal Khusro ghar aapne,
rain (not saanjh) bhaee chahu des.
The lovely maiden lies  finally on a wreath of flowers,
her tresses covering her face, 
O Khusro, turn back home now,
dusk has set in all over.”

Amir Khusrau was never the same after his Pir’s death. And it was only in six months that Amir Khusrau also passed away.

He was, as per the desire of the disciple and  Pir both, buried close by. This is now known as a “chabootra-e-yaar’ ( the pedestal of friend).

One can see this as a raised platform with red sandstone carved fence, around the grave.

The Pir also reciprocated his disciple’s love and affection, and is believed to have remarked: “If shariyat would allow me, I would want Khusrau and I to be buried in the same grave.”

His followers believe that Hz Nizamuddin instructed that “Those who visit my grave should  first pay respect at Khusrau’s .”

Anectode 2:
Amir Khusrau was away for a royal trip.  A disciple of Hz Nizamuddin came to him asking for some  souvenir from his Pir. Since the Pir had nothing to offer, he asked the disciple to take away his slippers.
Incidentally, on the way the disciple and Amir Khusrau’s paths crossed each other. And Khusrau remarked:

Shaikh mi aayad, Bu-e Shaikh mi aayad”.
(I smell my master, I smell my master).

On knowing that the man had in possession the slippers of his Pir, Khusrau gave away all his wealth that he had on him and bought back those slippers.

Anectode 3:
The two were sitting at the bank of river Yamuna in Delhi when Hz Nizamuddin (wearing a cap crooked way), saw some men taking a dip in the river with a reverence as a worship. He remarked:
Har qaum raast raahay, deenay wa qibla gaahay
(Every sect has a faith, a qibla which they turn to.)

Pat came the reply from Khusrau:
Men qibla raast kardam, ber terf-e kajkulaahay.
(I have straightened my qibla in the direction of this crooked cap)

Anectode 4:
It is the most interesting of all anectodes, and if true (I do not doubt, but these stories have been passed through word of mouth), then it is remarkable to have this quality of Persian and Brij Bhasha poetry from an eight year old.

It is said that Khusrau’s mother brought her eight year old son to the place where Hazrat Nizamuddin ( a renowned scholar and respectable man) resided.

Instead of entering the premises Khusrau sat outside and narrated:
Tu aan shahi ke ber aiwan-e qasrat
Kabutar gar nasheenad, baaz gardad
Ghareeb-e mustamand-e ber der aamed
Be-yaayad andaroon, ya baaz gardad
You are a king at the gate of whose palace,
even a pigeon becomes a hawk. 
A poor traveller has come to your gate, 
should he enter, or should he return?

And that Hazrat Nizamuddin who himself was 23 then, came out (some say he sent out  servants) and replied:
Be-yaayad andaroon mard-e haqeeqat
Ke ba ma yek nafas hamraaz gardad
Agar abla buvad aan mard-e naadan
Azaan raah-e ke aamad baaz gardad
Oh you the man of reality, come inside,
so you become for a while my confidant,
but if the one who enters is foolish ,
then he should return the way he came.

Hearing this Khusrau knew that he has come to the right place and hence entered into his guidance.

Having reread Khusrau, several times over since then, I have came across some of the records, which go further to say that- telling his mother of his excitement to have found the Pir, Khusrau composed these beautiful verses:
Aaj rung hai hey maa rung hai ri
Moray mehboob kay ghar rang hai ri
Sajan milaavra, sajan milaavra,
Sajan milaavra moray aangan ko
Aaj rung hai……..
Mohay pir paayo Nijamudin aulia
Nijamudin aulia mohay pir payoo
Des bades mein dhoondh phiree hoon
Toraa rung man bhayo ri……,
Jag ujiyaaro, jagat ujiyaaro,
Main to aiso rang aur nahin dekhi ray
Main to jab dekhun moray sung hai,
Aaj rung hai hey maan rung hai ri.
What a glow everywhere I see, Oh mother, what a glow;
I’ve found the beloved, yes I found him,
In my courtyard;
I have found my pir Nizamuddin Aulia.
I roamed around the entire world,
looking for an ideal beloved;
And finally this face has enchanted my heart.
The whole world has been opened for me,
Never seen a glow like this before.
Whenever I see now, he is with me,
Oh beloved, please dye me in yourself;
Dye me in the colour of the spring, beloved;
What a glow, Oh, what a glow.

In my ignorance, I bluntly asked Mamoojan,”What was so great in Hazrat Nizamuddin that even an accomplished man like Amir Khurau revered him so much?”

I remember Mamoojan reply, “He was a great pious man, a Wali. That is why he was called Mehboob-e-Ilahi ( the beloved of Allah)”.

To tell you the truth, I wasn’t entirely convinced then, but then years later, while getting into the colors of Amir Khusrau’s poetry, I did my own research.

I found that Hazrat Nizamuddin was a great scholar of Quran. He was truly  a very pious man, who prayed a lot and fasted each day of the week.

There were free meals ( langar) at his residence, each day, in which  Amir Khusrau actively took part.

He led a very simple, austere life, wore at times  torn clothes, and ate extremely simple food.

But what really convinced me of why Amir Khusrau revered him so much was this incident of  Hazrat Nizamuddin , which so speaks volumes of the greatness of this Pir of Amir Khusrau:

Once some of the staunchest of enemies of Hazrat Nizamuddin, threw thorn on the way he was to pass. He walked over them, bare feet, without any complaint. And with his sole bleeding, he prayed that every thorn that had pierced him become a red rose( like the color of his oozing blood) in the grave of the thrower.

Mehboob-e-Ilahi that he was, he is said to have remarked: “If a man places a thorn in your way, and you place a thorn in his way, soon there will be thorns everywhere.”

With all this in the background, now this poetry by Amir Khusrau sounds even more melodious…

Main Naara-E-Mastaana…!!!


Main nara-e-mastana, main shouqi- e- rindana
Main tashna kahan jaaon, pee kar bhi kahan jana

Slogan of Inebriation am I, drunkard mercurialness am I
drink may I , may I not hardly does it make a difference

Main souz-e-mohabbat hoon, main aik qayamat hoon
Main ashk-e-nadaamat hoon, main gouhar-e-yakdana

A burning heat of love am I, the eventual
Tear of ignominy , a pearl unfound am I

Main tahir-e-lahooti, main johar-e-malkooti
Nasoot ne kab mujh ko is haal mein pehchana

Pern of heaven, the gem of empires and I
Hath when humanity known me so?

Main sham-e- farozan hoon, main aatish-e-larza hoon
Main sozish-e-hijraan hoon, main manzil-e-parwana

Illuminating light of the dusk, a raging flame am I
Mordancy of parting, Destination of Pyralid am I

Kis yaad ka sehera hoon, kis chashm ka darya hoon
Khud toor ka jalwa hoon, hai shakl qalbhana

A desert of thoughts, a river of which fall?
the biggest reality of the universe yet unrevealed

Main husn-e-mujassim hoon, main gesu-e-barham hoon
Main phool hoon shabnam hoon, main jalwa-e-janana

A  frozen beauty am I, a ringlet in anger
A flower, the dew am I, beauty of the beloved

Main wasif-e-bismil hoon, main ronaq-e-mehfil hoon
Ik toota howa dil hoon, main shehar mein veerana

Wasif, slayed am I, heart of the crowd

A broken heart am I, a lonely in the city.

 

Urdu ghazal by: Wasif Ali Wasif
English translation: By Syed Faizan Abbas Jaffrey & his friend Usama Kabbir ( greatly indebted to him for complying to my undue demand of a translation 🙂 ).

ABIDA PARVEEN SINGS KABIR


Hori Hor Rahi Hai-Abida Parveen (Raqs-e-bismil)