Friday, 15 June 2012


Mehdi Hassan obituary

Singer known as 'the emperor of the ghazal'
Mehdi Hassan
Mehdi Hassan became an abiding cultural bridge between India and Pakistan. Photograph: Navras Records
Mehdi Hassan, who has died aged 84, was the Indian subcontinent's outstanding male exponent of the ghazal, a form of sung Urdu lyric verse, set to the appropriate raga melodies. Urdu poetry, which springs from the Persian, is filled with pathos, yearning, political and social injustice, loss, unrequited love and pleasure. Hassan evoked these with rare mastery, which is why devotees and eager students flocked to hear him from far and wide. It is claimed that he sang more than 50,000 ghazals during his lifetime, becoming known as the "emperor of the ghazal".

Born into a family of kalawants (professional musicians) in the village of Luna, now in the state of Rajasthan, he was taught by his father, Azeem Khan, and uncle, Ismail Khan. Dhrupad, an ancient, austere musical style, was their forte and they instilled it in the boy. While still in his teens, Hassan was recognised as a rising talent and was invited to sing for the maharajahs of Jaipur and Baroda.

However, in 1947 came independence and the creation of Pakistan, and the future of the Indian princes, upon whom the musicians were traditionally reliant, became insecure. Hassan's family, who were Muslims, migrated to Pakistan.

The new country was in turmoil and there was no opening for a young man whose only trade was music. Hassan managed to get a job in a bicycle shop and graduated to become a tractor driver and mechanic. But at night, he persevered with his vocal exercises.

He soon realised that the Pakistani people had an appetite for the ghazal, so he applied himself assiduously to the study of Urdu, particularly Urdu poetry. With his knowledge of ragas and the sentiments associated with them, he discovered that he had a tremendous advantage as a composer who could marry verses to melodies.

Hassan first appeared on Radio Pakistan in 1952 and after that, his success was meteoric. Leading poets such as Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Ahmad Faraz and Qateel Shifai were happy to have their verses set to haunting music and sung by him. Hassan was now associated with the literary and musical elite. His voice featured on the soundtrack of many Pakistani films, and ghazal singers on both sides of the border paid homage to him.
Hassan thus became an abiding cultural bridge between India and Pakistan. He often returned to visit the village of his birth. His popularity in India was immense, and whenever he performed there he was heaped with garlands and gifts and showered with awards. The Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar, with whom he recorded a duet in 2009, compared his singing to "the voice of a god".

He toured the world to packed auditoriums. His visit to the Hindu kingdom of Nepal was particularly memorable. While singing one night at the palace of King Birendra, he was so exhausted after a gruelling schedule that for a moment his concentration faltered and he hesitated. The king, an ardent admirer of the singer, knew the ghazal well. He immediately stood up and sang, as best he could, the next verse. Hassan raised his hand to acknowledge the king's assistance and then rendered the verse as only he could.
For the last few years Hassan had been in poor health. He was twice married. Both his wives predeceased him. He is survived by nine sons and five daughters.

• Mehdi Hassan Khan, singer and composer, born 18 July 1927; died 13 June 2012

Monday, 27 February 2012

A desi superhero all set to take on the denizens of the crime world by Iqbal Choudhary

Book Summary of Dastan-e-Ka·Ka·Ka

A desi superhero all set to take on the denizens of the crime world

(https://www.facebook.com/Dastan.E.KaKaKa)
Ka·Ka·Ka – the scourge of criminals, who seeks to deliver the oppressed from perpetrators of crime by punishing them in radical ways. On his target are fanatics, murderers, rioters, swindlers, immoral leaders and celebrities – all those who think they can do as they please and get away with it. The government and the Indian media are desperate to rein in Ka·Ka·Ka’s anarchy-inspiring, anti- establishment terror. Will they succeed? Will they ever find their way out of the maze Ka·Ka·Ka has set up for them?

About the Author
Iqbal Choudhary is a wandering writer who spends his time between places like Morocco, Mexico, Southern Europe, America and India. He is multilingual and has published poetry and translations in/between the languages he knows. Dastan-e- Ka·Ka·Ka is his first novel.
Get your copy from the World Book Fair - Hall No 6, Stall No: 1026 to 1041 (HarperCollins India)

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Ustad Bismillah Khan


Ustad Bismillah Khan was one of the Benaras Gharana’s most famous representatives.

Born on March 21, 1916 Bismillah Khan belonged to a family of professional shahnai players. He learned the nuances of the shahnai with his maternal uncle Ali Bux and at the age of 14 he won his first award as the best performer at the All India Music Conference in Allahabad.

He had the distinction of performing as the Indian flag was unfurled at the historic Red Fort in Delhi to mark the country's independence from Britain in 1947.

A practising Muslim, he made the Hindu holy town of Varanasi (also known as Benares) his home and could often be seen playing by the banks of the holy river Ganges, offering prayers to the Hindu goddess of learning, Saraswati as well as he often played shehnai in the local temples.

He was seen as a symbol of India's religious pluralism and harmony for people of different faiths, and was awarded the country's highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna (Jewel of India), in 2001.

Ustad Bismillah Khan died on August, 2006 due to a cardiac arrest and he was buried with full state honors in his home town of Varanasi before he was laid to rest under a neem tree in a burial ground in the old city where thousands paid their respects.

India's government declared a day of national mourning in his honor.


उस्ताद बिस्मिल्लाह खान भारतीय संगीत ही नहीं, समूचे कलासंसार में एक विलक्षण उपस्थिति रहे. अपने व्यक्तित्व और वाद्य दोनों से वे शास्त्रीय संगीत में एक नए टाईपथे. अभिजन और जन के बीच; इनके परस्पर विरोध को अटल व अन्तिम मानने वाले आधुनिक पांडित्य को अंगूठा दिखाते. और यूँ भी उस्ताद अपने से बड़े हो गए थे.
Ustad Bismillah Khan has been a towering presence not only in Indian music, but in the art world as a whole. His personality and his choice of instrument were both something new in classical music. Situated between the classes and the masses; cocking a snook at the modern learning which considers the divide final and inviolate.




video



Friday, 6 January 2012

हिनदी कविता (2)


[1]
प्रेम क्या है जानने के लिए
प्यार करना काफ़ी नहीं है।
ज्ञान क्या है जानने के लिए
जानना काफ़ी नहीं है।
प्रकाश को जानने के लिए
देखना काफ़ी नहीं है।
दूसरी ओर जाना ज़रूरी है
जहाँ बनी-बनाई चीज़ें रहती हैं
उन्हें एक चुंबन देकर जगाना चाहिए
उलटा देखने के लिए
नींद से भरे उठते हुए।
यह काम दोबारा,
इस कार्य को दोबारा करना,
जो हो चुका उसे बिना बिगाड़े।
नफ़रत से प्रेम न करना प्रेम नहीं है
न ही अज्ञान की उपेक्षा करना ज्ञान।
अंधेरे की तरफ़ आंख बंद करने से
रौशनी नहीं दिखती।
[3]
एक मैं-मैं है और एक मैं-तू
और एक मैं-वो और एक मै-हम।
मैं-तू हमेशा दिखता है
दूसरे की निरंतरता में।
मैं-वो पूरा उसे ही जीता है
उस दूर स्थित दूसरे के लिए।
मै-हम हमें देता है
हमीं को
एक अजीब प्रतिध्वनि की तरह
जो बार-बार होती है
घाटी के आईने में
जहाँ सिर्फ़ खिलता है एक
नाम लिए अकेलापन।
मैं-मैं आता है जाता है
हमेशा, हमेशा
अपने-आप से भागते हुए
अपनी तरफ़ ही
एक पलायन के दोलन में।
एक नहीं-मैं भी होता है
और एक बाग
सर्वनामों के बग़ैर।
नहीं होना है
या, क्या नहीं होना नहीं है?
[19]
पागल वो कवि
जो प्यार को फांसना चाहता है
शब्दों के जाल में।
बाद में पता चलता है उसे
कि शब्द प्यार हैं
और वो फंसा हुआ है
सबसे भयानक कारागार में:
मनोहर आज़ादी
बाध्य न करने वाले प्यार की।
[भरतवाक्य]
होना या न होना,
पर हमेशा होना।
अगर तेरे मेरे बीच नहीं होती यह
दूरी
तो कहाँ लिखता मैं अपनी कविता?

BARCELONA… IN FOUR MOVEMENTS
1.
From the streets
smelling sea
sudden visions
of buildings, windows, hotels, shops,
lights; not people
Empty, empty city
Sounds, yes, all over, of
cars without drivers,
birds, winds, doors
songs, stories, etc.
But no people, no one
Walk on, and on
towards the sea, go on
merge, the smell takes you
Disappearance
despite the sounds
Expansion, despite your
small body
All muscles relax
But love keeps glowing
A spark
in the body, just a spark
Cannot die, it just can’t
The city on your bed
like a lover
no one else in the
city
No one
Big city
all at once
like a tall stylish woman
with high heels, thin legs
and full lips
2.
People, secure/insecure
Many bars, cafeterias
full of people, totally full
Strong blooded, talking
above all, talking
Eyes flickering, decisions made
Heat, seen and felt
Busy touches, smooth
skins
People dead, yet walking
People praying, with fear
and respecting
Order missing, weakness
surfacing
All in all, a neurosis
Death of being
Vacuums inside, expanding
Communication failing
Hope: rising, rising
and rising
The condemned are here
Breathing slowly
in corners
Waiting
always waiting
3.
Nearness, too much nearness
Destructive and/or constructive
Knowledge, of the Other
Dangerous and/or beneficial
Beauty, too much beauty
Blinding and/or liberating
Obsession, of the Other
maddening and/or heartening
Naturalness, too much naturalness
Intimidating and/or satisfying
Presence, of the Other
Mute and/or omniscient
4.
Perceiving Barcelona
Passeig de Gràcia from
street Bonavista
Jardinetes de Gràcia
 and its
Water fountains
Colours, too many colours in
the dresses of the people
Smell of coffee in a typical
Gracia bar
Beauties on bicycles
showing their thighs
wearing gypsy or indian skirts
Good grandfathers walking
with sticks
A woman, homeless, wandering
in the night in the streets of
Eixample
Proud, loving gay couples
Hearing every European language
on La Rambla
Many, many Pakistanis selling beer
in all Barcelona
Disciplined Sardanes dancers
A passionate kiss in a small street of
Raval
Lovely looking poor prostitutes in small streets of
Raval
An almost hundred year old shop selling
underwears at
Plaça Universitat
Lots of happy, drunk tourists
An adolescent girl flirting with a boy
The horchateria at Poble Sec
Trash music at discos
Cocaine selling and savouring
Transvestites, with
curved bodies
Blushing bourgeoisie girls
with their boyfriends
Smart couples on
motorbikes
Spacious, fresh inner courtyards of old buildings
Late afternoon coffees
Lazy evenings
Chinese restaurants
with odd Spanish speaking Chinese girls
Abandoned city, during long week-ends
Sea breezes, showers
And winds
A deep short sleep, in the ocean
Of life
Breathing still water
BARCELONA… EN QUATRE MOVIMENTS
1.
Des dels carrers
flairant el mar
Vistes inesperades
dels edificis, finestres
hotels, botigues, llums
Persones: no
Buida, ciutat buida
Sons, molts
dels cotxes sense ningú
ocells, vents, portes
cançons, contes, etc.
Cap persona, però
en absolut
Camina, camina més
fins al mar, ànims
Fusiona; el flaire et guia
T’hi porta
Esvaniment
malgrats els sons
Expansió, malgrat
el teu cos petit
Tots els músculs
afluixen
Però l’amor continua rutilant
una espurna
en el cos, només una espurna
no pot morir, senzillament, no
La ciutat al teu llit
com una amant
ningú més a la ciutat
en absolut
Ciutat gran
Tota d’una vegada
Com una noia alta i elegant
amb tacons alts, cames
primatxones
Llavis exuberants
2.
Persones, segures/ insegures
a tants bars, cafeteries
Plenes, totalment plenes
Sang bullint, parlant
Sobretot parlant
Ulls tremolosos, vacil•lant
Fent decisions importants
Ardor, fogor: presenciades, sentides
Tactes atrafegats, pells
suaus
Persones mortes, encara caminant
Persones pregant, amb por, honor
i respecte
Cap ordre, feblesses
aparents
Tot plegat, la neurosi
Mort de l’èsser
Buits interiors
ampliant
Comunicació, fallant
Esperança: alçant, alçant
i alçant
Hi ha els condemnats
Respirant mandrosament
a racons
sempre esperant
i esperant
3.
Proximitat, moltíssima proximitat
Destructiva i/o constructiva
Coneixença, de l’Altre
Perillosa i/o beneficiosa
Beutat, moltíssima beutat
Encegadora i/o alliberadora
Obsessió, de l’Altre
Embogidor i/o coral
Naturalitat, moltíssima naturalitat
Cohibidora i/o satisfaent
Presèncoa, de l’Altre
Muda i/o omniscient
4.
Percebre Barcelona
Capissar Passeig de Gràcia
des del carrer Bonavista
Jardinets de Gràcia i les seves
fonts
Colors, molts colors dels
vestits de la gent
Olor de cafè en un típic
bar de Gràcia
Belleses amb bicicletes
exhibint les seves cuixes
portant faldilles gitanes
o indies
Avis trempats caminant
amb bastons
Una dona, sense casa
divagant a la vespre
als carrers de
l’Eixample
Cofois, amorosos, parelles
gais
Sentir cada llengua europea
a La Rambla
Inumerables Pakistanesos
venent birres
en tota Barcelona
Balladors disciplinats de
Sardanes
Un petò apassionat en un
petit carrer de
Raval
Prostitutes boniques, pobres
a petits carrers de
Raval
Una botiga de quasi cent anys
venent calçes
a Plaça Universitat
Molts guiris, satisfets
borraxos i contents
Una noia adolescent
sedüint un noi
La horchataria a Poble Sec
Música basura a les discoteques
Vendes i tasts de cocaina
Transvestis amb cossos
corbats
Noies burgueses ruboroses
amb els seus
novis
Parelles eixerides amb
motos
Patis frescs dels edificis
vells
Els cafès de migdia
Les tardes gandules
Restaurants xinesos, amb
les xineses parlant un
castellà exòtic
La ciutat abandonada
els dies de les ponts
Ones del mar, pluges
i ones de la vent
Una dormideta profunda
en el oceà de la vida
aspirant aïgua tranquil•la

(Translated from Katalan by the author)


BARCELONA… IN FOUR MOVEMENTS
1.
From the streets
smelling sea
sudden visions
of buildings, windows, hotels, shops,
lights; not people
Empty, empty city
Sounds, yes, all over, of
cars without drivers,
birds, winds, doors
songs, stories, etc.
But no people, no one
Walk on, and on
towards the sea, go on
merge, the smell takes you
Disappearance
despite the sounds
Expansion, despite your
small body
All muscles relax
But love keeps glowing
A spark
in the body, just a spark
Cannot die, it just can’t
The city on your bed
like a lover
no one else in the
city
No one
Big city
all at once
like a tall stylish woman
with high heels, thin legs
and full lips
2.
People, secure/insecure
Many bars, cafeterias
full of people, totally full
Strong blooded, talking
above all, talking
Eyes flickering, decisions made
Heat, seen and felt
Busy touches, smooth
skins
People dead, yet walking
People praying, with fear
and respecting
Order missing, weakness
surfacing
All in all, a neurosis
Death of being
Vacuums inside, expanding
Communication failing
Hope: rising, rising
and rising
The condemned are here
Breathing slowly
in corners
Waiting
always waiting
3.
Nearness, too much nearness
Destructive and/or constructive
Knowledge, of the Other
Dangerous and/or beneficial
Beauty, too much beauty
Blinding and/or liberating
Obsession, of the Other
maddening and/or heartening
Naturalness, too much naturalness
Intimidating and/or satisfying
Presence, of the Other
Mute and/or omniscient
4.
Perceiving Barcelona
Passeig de Gràcia from
street Bonavista
Jardinetes de Gràcia
 and its
Water fountains
Colours, too many colours in
the dresses of the people
Smell of coffee in a typical
Gracia bar
Beauties on bicycles
showing their thighs
wearing gypsy or indian skirts
Good grandfathers walking
with sticks
A woman, homeless, wandering
in the night in the streets of
Eixample
Proud, loving gay couples
Hearing every European language
on La Rambla
Many, many Pakistanis selling beer
in all Barcelona
Disciplined Sardanes dancers
A passionate kiss in a small street of
Raval
Lovely looking poor prostitutes in small streets of
Raval
An almost hundred year old shop selling
underwears at
Plaça Universitat
Lots of happy, drunk tourists
An adolescent girl flirting with a boy
The horchateria at Poble Sec
Trash music at discos
Cocaine selling and savouring
Transvestites, with
curved bodies
Blushing bourgeoisie girls
with their boyfriends
Smart couples on
motorbikes
Spacious, fresh inner courtyards of old buildings
Late afternoon coffees
Lazy evenings
Chinese restaurants
with odd Spanish speaking Chinese girls
Abandoned city, during long week-ends
Sea breezes, showers
And winds
A deep short sleep, in the ocean
Of life
Breathing still water
बार्सेलोना चार गतों में
1.
सागर की महक में डूबी
सड़कों में
अचानक दिखते
भवन, खिड़कियाँ
होटल, दुकानें, अलग-अलग किस्म की रौशनियाँ
लोग: नहीं
खाली, खाली शहर
आवाज़ें, हाँ, बहुत
बिना ड्राइवरों की गाड़ियों
पक्षियों, हवायों, दरवाज़ों
गीतों, कहानियों वगैरह की
पर कोई आदमी नहीं
बिल्कुल नहीं
चलो, आगे चलो
सागर तक, बढ़े चलो
मिल जाओ, महक दिखाएगी
रास्ता, ले जाएगी
विलयन
इतनी आवाज़ों के बावजूद
फैलाव, अपने छोटे
शरीर के बावजूद
सारी मांसपेशियाँ शिथिल
पर प्यार जलता रहता है
देह में, एक चिंगारी की तरह
नहीं ख़त्म हो सकता, कभी भी
शहर तुम्हारी प्रीति की चारपाई पर
प्रेमिका की तरह
शहर में और कोई नहीं
बिल्कुल नहीं
विशाल शहर
एक ही सांस में
एक लंबी, शालीन
ऊंची एड़ी के जूते पहने
पतली टांगों,
भरे होंठ वाली
स्त्री की तरह
2.
लोग सुरक्षित/असुरक्षित
बहुत से बार, कैफै, भरे
पूरे भरे
लोगों से
दमदार लोग, बोलते हुए
हाँ, और कुछ नहीं सिर्फ़
बोलते हुए
आँखें फिरकती हुईं, फ़ैसले लेती हुईं
गरमी, देखी व
महसूस की गई
व्यस्त छुअन, मुलायम
खालें
मरे लोग, फिर भी चलते हुए
पूजा करते लोग, डर
व सम्मान से
कोई भी लय नहीं, कमज़ोरियाँ
दिखती हुईं
सब कुछ मिलाकर, मनोविकार
आत्म का अंत
अंदर कुछ नहीं, खालीपन बढ़ता हुआ
समझ, घटती हुई
आशा, चढ़ती, चढ़ती और
चढ़ती हुई
यहाँ अछूत हैं
हौले-हौले सांस लेते हुए
कोनों में
इंतज़ार करते हुए
हमेशा
इंतज़ार
3.
नज़दीकी, अत्यधिक नज़दीकी
विनाशकारी और/या सृजनकारी
समझ, दूसरे की
ख़तरनाक और/या फ़ायदेमंद
सुंदरता, अत्यधिक सुंदरता
अंधा बनाने वाली और/या मोक्ष देने वाली
पीछा, दूसरे का
पागल करने वाला और/या हार्दिक
सहजता, अत्यधिक सहजता
डराने वाली और/ या संतोष देने वाली
उपस्थिति, दूसरे की
गूंगी और/या सर्व-व्यापी
4.
बार्सेलोना देखना
गोचर करना
पासेच दे ग्रासिया का
बोनाविस्ता सड़क से
जारदिनेत्स दे ग्रासिया व उसके
पानी के फव्वारे
रंग, असीम रंग
लोगों के कपड़ों के
ग्रासिया के एक साधारण बार में
कॉफी की खुश्बू
सुंदरियाँ सायकिलों पर
अपनी जांघे दिखाती हुईं
पहने बंजारों वाले या मूल-अमरीकियों वाले घाघरे
अच्छे, सभ्य बुजुर्ग चलते हुए
लाठियों के सहारे
एक औरत, बिना घर के
रात को, भटकते हुए
एशाम्प्ल की सड़कों पर
प्रेमरत, गौरवमय समलिंगी जोड़े
ला रांबला में सुनना हरेक यूरोपीय भाषा
का
अंतहीन पाकिस्तानी बीयर बेचते हुए सारे
बार्सेलोना में
सारदाना के अनुशासित
नर्तक
रावाल की एक छोटी गली में एक
आवेग भरा चुंबन
रावाल की छोटी गलियों में बहुत सी
सुंदर, गरीब वेश्याएँ
एक लगभग सौ साल पुरानी जांघिये बेचने वाली दुकान
प्लाज़ा उनिवेर्सितात में
बहुत सैलानी, ख़ुश
पिए हुए व मस्त
एक छोटी जवान लड़की एक
लड़के को प्यार के मोहजाल में डालते
हुए
पोब्ल सेक की होरचाता बेचने वाली
दुकान
डिस्को का कूड़ा संगीत
कोकेन का बेचना व सूंघना
लचकीली भरी-पूरी देह वाले
ट्रांस्वेस्टाइट
बुर्जुआ शर्मीली लड़कियाँ अपने
प्रेमियों के साथ
होशियार जोड़े अपनी
मोटरसायकिलों पर
पुराने घरों के ठंडे, प्रकाश से खेलते हुए आंगन
दोपहर की कॉफियाँ
आलसी शामें
अजीब सी स्पेनी बोलती चीनी रैस्टोरेंटों की
चीनी लड़कियाँ
लंबे सप्ताहांत पर त्याग दिया गया
शहर
सागर की लहरें, बारिशें
हवा की लहरें
एक गहरी झपकी
ज़िंदगी के महासागर में
शांत पानी की सांस लेते
हुए

(केटलन से हिन्दी अनुवाद स्वयं लेखक द्वारा)