Saturday, July 11, 2015

Sangeet sarita. Vividh Bharati clips

Shubha Mudgal On Rakhi / Janmashtami

Sangeet sarita program on Vividh Bharati.Shubha Mudgal discusses the Braj poetry (in पद ) associated with different Rakhi and Janmashtami traditions. And sings them too.

And a really 'bhule-bisre geet'. A great 'sharaabi' song. Bhagwan dada + C. Ramachandra = magic

Friday, July 10, 2015

Gulshan Bawra reminiscences with Kamal Sharma

Bollywood rare - II

Excerpts from Gulshan Bawra's talk with Kamal Sharma from Vividh Bharati archives. Aired on 11/07/2015, 10.30 PM. Bawra sahab was a lyricist of yesteryear and also acted in a few films in minor roles.

He recalls his days in pre-partition India, while also playing some rather rare vintage songs in this talk

And this is one of his penned song, where he makes an appearance too :

Chandi ki deewar na todi ( Vishwas - 1969 ). Mukesh, Gulshan Bawra, Kalyanji Anandji

Thursday, July 2, 2015

300 Ramayans or 3000 !

Some excerpt from A K Ramanujan's wonderful essay exploring the genre or gene-pool of Ramayan stories

Ahilya and Indra's story : Valmiki's colourful version and Kamban's sedate one

Meta-ness of Ramayans

Global journey of Ramayan genre

Jain Ramayan - Paumcharita

Jain Ramayan is almost without any of the 'fantastical' elements, very different telling

Jain Ramayan's rationalizations

Variation of themes across multiple Ramayans

The multiple Ramas, the multiple Ramayans : an example

Ramakien - Thai Ramayan was influenced mostly by South Indian Ramayans 

Wordplay on 'Sita' : different birth stories in Sanskrit and Telugu

And the whole essay, which is full of such amazing insights, is a rather short part of a larger published collection of A K Ramanujan's essays, can be read at :

After reading this, one can only pity the asinine, revisionist re-tellings of Ramayan by the Amar Chitra Katha and Ramanad Sagar's TV Series, which robbed the epics of all their colourful diversity and complexity. In hindsight, those sanitized versions might have even provided a fillip to the Hindutva movement, at least the Ramjanmabhoomi episode, which really stemmed out of a complete lack of any understanding or connect with the epics. Needless to say, Hindutva political movement thrives on the disconnect of people from their own stories!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Language, history, religion and their intertwined stories.

The inimitable, amazing Javed Akhtar, Firaq Gorakhpuri. And Shamsur Rehman Faruqi.

Plus the true meaning of 'triveni' sangam and 'butparasti' :)

First a simple short line exploring the way Persian, Turkish, Arabic, Gujarati, Portuguese, English, Sanskrit and other languages are intertwined to form what we know as Hindustani/ Hindavi/Urdu/Hindi.

And now the detailed conversation, where he talks about the nature of languages, scripts, history and the ethos of Hindavi/Rekhta/Urdu language. Also, how the notion of linguistic 'purity' is absurd.

Always a delight to listen, this clip of Javed sahab is taken from the Jashn-e-Rekhta festival organized by team in Delhi.

And now for the legend himself : Raghupati Sahay aka Firaq Gorakhpuri. Exploring similar themes in this rare time capsule of the 60s Doordarshan.


And lastly, this amazing lecture by Shamsur Faruqi sahab, one of our greatest living intellectual. Here he speaks about languages, literary traditions, metaphors as reality, history of our land from Abhinav Gupta to Khusro and so much more! All in in his inimitable style.

Bonus : We learn the true meaning of 'Triveni sangam' and 'Butparasti' :)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Bombay cinema : old and rare - I

Amusing, rare conversation on Caste in Bollywood

A very rare instance of a conversation around caste stereotypes in Bombay cinema, even though it is done for comedic effect and is from six decades ago! The clip is from the film 'Dil ki Rani', circa 1947, starring a very young Raj Kapoor and an almost juvenile Madhubala. 

Tried watching the film, to find the context of the scene, but had to abandon the plan as it was sheer torture. The film is unbearably bad.

For a cinema tradition of more than a 100 years, it is quite stunning how totally disconnected and aloof the industry remained from caste and related issues. This was one of the rare occasions, when comedy opened up the lid, even though for a fleeting moment.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Selected shers/ ghazals from 'The Taste of words' (by Raza Mir) ( शायरी # 0 )

with some excerpts of the contexts, mostly in accordance to chronology

इन दिनों गरचे (even though) दक्कन में है बड़ी क़द्र-ए-सुखन
कौन जाये ज़ौक़ पर दिल्ली की गलियाँ छोड़कर
- ज़ौक़ 
(upon being invited to Deccan courts)

चल साथ के हसरत दिल-ए-महरूम से निकले
आशिक़ का जनाज़ा है, ज़रा धूम से निकले

- मोहसिन उल मुल्क ( originally by मिर्ज़ा मोहम्मद अली फिदवी ? )
(lamenting over passing of the Nagri resolution in 1900 that created an artificial schism between Hindi and Urdu and institutionalized religious affiliations to the languages)

मैं ने मजनूं पे लड़कपन में, असद
संग उठाया था, कि सर याद आया ।

- ग़ालिब

ग़ुंचे तेरी बेबसी पे दिल हिलता है 
तू एक तबस्सुम के लिए खिलता है 
ग़ुंचे ने कहाँ के इस चमन में बाबा 
ये एक तबस्सुम भी किसे मिलता है ?

- रुबाई of जोश मलीहाबादी ( ग़ुंचे-फूल )

हस्ती अपनी हबाब की सी है
ये नुमाइश सराब की सी है

नाज़ुकी उसके लब की क्या कहिये
पंखुड़ी एक गुलाब की सी है

मैं जो बोला कहा के ये आवाज़
उसी खाना-खराब की सी है

बार बार उसके दर पे जाता हूँ
हालत अब इज़तिराब (restless) की सी है

मीर, उन नीम बाज़ आँखों में
सारी मस्ती शराब की सी है ।

- मीर तक़ी मीर
(about whom Ghalib said, "रेख्ता के तुम ही उस्ताद नहीं हो ग़ालिब, कहते हैं अगले ज़माने में कोई मीर भी था" । )
This ghazal is considered by many to be the 'finest', including Ghalib who really liked the sher "Nazuki us ke lab ki..."
मीर again :

उलटी हो गयीं सब तदबीरें (arrangements) कुछ न दवा ने काम किया
देखा इस बीमारी-ए-दिल ने आखिर काम तमाम किया

मीर के दीन-ओ-मज़हब को पूछते क्या हो उनने तो
कश्का (tilak) खींचा दैर(temple) में बैठा कब का तर्क इस्लाम किया ।

देखी है जबसे उस बुत-ए-काफ़िर की शक्ल, मीर
जाता नहीं जी तनिक इस्लाम की तरफ़ ।

( last two shers are one of many sly mocking of religion done by Mir. This iconoclasm was later carried forward by other poets as well. A major feature that makes Rekhta/Urdu shayari critical of orthodoxy and religion, in many places)

कमर बांधे हुए चलने को यां सब यार बैठे हैं
बहुत आगे गए बाकी जो हैं तय्यार बैठे हैं

न छेड़ ऐ निकहत-ए-बाद-ए-बहारी राह लग अपनी
तुझे अठखेलियां सूझी हैं हम बेज़ार बैठे हैं

तसव्वुर अर्श पे है और सर है पा-ए-साक़ी (साकी के पाँव) पर
ग़रज़ कुछ और धुन में इस घडी मयख़्वार बैठे हैं ।

भला गर्दिश फ़लक की चैन देती है किसे 'इंशा' ?
ग़नीमत है के हम-सूरत यहां दो चार बैठे हैं ।

- इंशा अल्लाह खान

इंशा फिर से : ( He symbolized the ways in which one could claim, unselfconsciously, that Hindi-Urdu were truly the same language. He moved from heavy persianized to sanskritized verse, with ease )

'इंशा' जी उठो अब कूच करो इस शहर में जी का लगाना क्या
वहशी को सुकून से क्या मतलब जोगी का नगर में ठिकाना क्या

उस हुस्न के सच्चे मोती को हम देख सकें पर छू न सकें
जिसे देख सकें पर छू न सकें, वो दौलत क्या वो खज़ाना क्या ?

जब शहर के लोग न रस्ता दें क्यों बन में न जा बिसराम करें
दीवानों की सी न बात करे तो और करे दीवाना क्या ।

ना घर है ना दर है, बचा एक 'ज़फर' है
फ़क़त हाल-ए-दिल्ली सुनाने को ।
कह दो इन हसरतों से कहीं और जा बसें
इतनी जगह कहाँ है दिल-ए-दाग़दार में ।

उम्र-ए-दराज़(long life) मांग के लाये थे चार दिन
दो आरज़ू में काट गए दो इंतज़ार में ।

कितना है बदनसीब ज़फर दफ़्न के लिए
दो गज़ ज़मीन भी न मिली कू-ए-यार(beloved's street) में ।
बात करनी मुझे मुश्किल कभी ऐसी तो न थी
जैसी अब है तेरी महफ़िल, कभी ऐसी तो न थी ।

ले गया छीन के कौन आज तेरा सब्र-ओ-करार
बेक़रारी तुझे ऐ दिल कभी ऐसी तो न थी ।

उनकी आँखों ने खुद जाने किया क्या जादू
के तबियत मेरी माइल(attracted) कभी ऐसी तो न थी ।

सभी : बहादुर शाह ज़फर