Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Sufi Music

I was seventeen when a black and white tv was added to our home in Abohar. Those were the days of Wimbeldon  watching with our revered father who himself was a great Tennis player. But Doordarshan would hardly oblige despite shaking of 20ft high antenna to varied directions.

It was Lahore TV which we were generally glued to watching Tariq Aziz anchored Neelam Ghar in which for the first time I chanced to listen to Ibne Insha's 'inshaaji utho, ab  kooch karo/is shahar  mein jee  ko lagana  kya' and it was heart rending to see one of the participant bursting out crying loudly!  Sometime later in the night I would watch Abida Parveen and though what she sang made little sense to me but I fondly recall her singing: 'ik Allah kolon main dardi/ik moula kolon main dardi..aha aha.'.or when she sang Amir Khusrou's : 'Khusrou's nizam ke bal bal bal bal jaeeye...and there was something about it which mesmerised me. Abida's body language made me shiver to feel as to how could one sing so passionately!  I didn't know the term sufi music then nor understood what it meant but with repeated Allah Allah I could make out it was addressed to God. And it sounded quite interesting to feel the singer addressing Allah as a friend, complaining to Him, confessing intense feelings for Him!

 In 1990s I listened and listened so much of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Warsi Brothers, Abida Parveen's penchant for the Sufi that the ghazals I had always loved so much took the back seat. Nusrat's 'Allah hoo Allah hoo Allah hoo' and 'Saanson  ki  mala mein Simroon main unka naam'  I could listen to umpteen times! 

But the real power of Sufi music was revealed to me when I was seas away from the homeland to the distant UK. Just before leaving I had had an opportunity of listening to Abida Live in Humayun's tomb ate time of release of Muzzaffar Ali composed Raqs -e -Bismil. And another compilation was gifted to me by my younger sister Rashmi Hussain's Abida just before I was to leave . Both the CDs I don't remember ever having to rewind or forward. 

I realised how cathartic listening to music could be, how intensely moving, how elating, how very profoundly relaxing! From 'ishq mein tere koh-e-gham/sar pe liya jo ho so ho/ jaam-e-fana-e bekhudi, ab to peeya jo ho so ho' to 'Zahid ne mera haasil-e-iman nahi dekh a /rukh par teri zulfon ko pareeshan nahi dekha' and the ultimate of Shah Hussain's :'mera sohna sajan ghar aaya ee/tuseen ral mil deyo mubarkan'. I have never danced nor ever learned to do so but I do feel the Sufi music has the power to make you sing, cry and dance-all in one go!

 Blessed are those who have the power, the talent to sing soulfully; blessed geniuses are the composers of music who lend rhythm to the sounds of the soul of the Sufis like Bulle Shah, Farid, Shah Husaain, Ibne Insha, Amir Khusrou. My knowledge is limited nor I have read much except what was taught when we were in school by our Panjabi teacher Ms Tejinder Kaur when she would get lost reciting Bulle Shah or Amrita's sequel to Heer Waris Shah 'ajj aakhan Waris Shah noo....'