Monthly Archives: November 2013

pakeezah and dupatta

Inhin logon ne……..

Listen to this wonderful song before reading further.

Inhin logon ne, inhin logon ne, inhi logon ne le leena dupatta mera.

[These very people took away from me my shoulder scarf]


hamri na maano, bajajwa se poochho,

jis ne asharfi gaj deena dupatta mera.

[If you don’t believe me, ask the cloth merchant,

who sold me my shoulder scarf an asharfi a yard. (a gold coin a yard)]


Hamri na maano, rang rajwa se poochho,

Jisne gulabi rang deena dupatta mera.

[If you don’t believe me, ask the dyer

who dyed my shoulder scarf pink].

hamri na maano, sipahiyya se poochho,

jis ne bajaria men chheena dupatta mera

[If you don’t believe me, ask the police man,

who in the market place snatched my shoulder scarf]

This song, like many others, is a window to the Indian world of yesterday, when women used to get their clothes dyed and there were professional dyers. In this song, rangrajwa, seen here listening to the mujra along with sipahiyya and bajajwa, actually dyes her dupatta pink. Even in Karachi as late as 10 years ago, I remember our women used to ask us to take them to the area behind Disco Bakery for dyeing clothes. And remember, it also shows, in no uncertain ways, that the sipahiyya of those days were no different from our ‘petty tulleys’ of today. “Jisne bajaria mein chheena” dupatta mera. (Who grabbed my scarf in the market place). Also these days the cloth merchants have become ready made garments dealers, as hardly any one buys cloth for shirt, or for pair of trousers now.

As far as Rangrajwa is concerned, Amir khusrow, in his shohrah e afaaq nazm “Chhaap tilak sab chheeni re mose naina milayike” uses rangrajwa in a metaphorical manner.

Bal bal jaaon mein toray rang rajwa
Apni see kar leeni ray mosay naina milaikay

Here the rangrajwa is no other than the ‘mehboob’ himself who has ‘dyed’ her (the lover) in his own ‘colour’, Meaning his love has made her forget her own self as it is him she always remembers.


Apart from the three professions mentioned above, there are a number of professionals that have become ghosts of history. They include “bhurji, (who used to roast in hot sand our grains), kunjra (vegetable seller), qalayee gar, the one who used to shine our (copper) utensils with a coat of tin, madaari ( offered a pair of monkeys or a bear perform to small gathering), nut (petty circus people), jugulars (petty magicians) street medicine sellers, lohaar (black smith), kumhaar (potter), sunaar (gold smith), teli (oil squeezer), dhobi (washer man), pansari (beetle leaves seller), baniya (grocery store keeper), mahajan (money lender), Khat navees (letter writer/ reader), badhayi (carpenter), darzi (tailor)
dayee (an old woman, expert in child deliveries in homes) etc……….

Posted by on November 20, 2013 in adab and literature, videos


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Jaun Elia (Urdu: جون ایلیا‎, December 14, 1931 – November 8, 2002)
For a great write up on John Elia, please go to bbc Urdu:

Umar Guzre gi Imtehan mein kya…

Roman Urdu and translation are given after Urdu ghazal.

خاموشی که رہی ہے کان میں کیا

آ رہا ہے مرے گمان میں کیا

عمر  گزرے گی امتحان میں کیا

داغ ہی دینگے مجھکو دان میں کیا

میری ہر بات بے اثر ہی رہی

نقص ہے کچھ میرے بیان میں کیا

ہم کو تو کوئی ٹوکتا بھی نہیں

یہی ہوتا ہے خاندان میں کیا

اپنی محرومیاں چھپاتے ہیں

ہم غریبوں کی آن بان میں ک

خود کو جانا جدا زمانے سے

آ گیا تھا میرے گمان میں کیا

بولتے کیوں نہیں میرے حق میں

آبلے پڑ گئے ہیں  زبان میں کیا

ہے نسیم _ بہار گرد آلود

خاک اڑتی ہے اس مکان میں کیا

وہ ملے تو یہ پوچھنا ہے مجھے

اب بھی  ہوں میں تیری امان میں کیا

یوں جو تکتا ہے ہے آسمان کو تو
کوئی رہتا ہے آسمان میں کیا

یہ مجھے چین کیوں نہیں پڑتا

ایک ہی شخص تھا جہان میں کیا

جوں ایلیا

khamoshi kah rahi hai kaan mein kya
aa raha hai mere gumaan mein kya
[The silence is whispering in my ears something, I am hearing in my ears something (else)]
umar guzregi imtehaan mein kya
daagh hi denge mujh ko daan mein kya
[Am I here to spend entire life facing hurdles?, Are you to give me only the pain?]
meri har baat be asar hi rahi
naqs hai kuch mere bayaan mein kya
[whatever I said wend unheeded, Is there a fault in my speech?]
hum ko to koi tokta bhi nahin
yahi hota hai khandaan mein kya
[No one even corrects me these days, Is that how a family behaves?]
apni mehroomiyan chhupate hain
hum ghareebon ki aan baan mein kya
[We only try to cover up our failings, What is there that we the poor have to show off]
 khud ko jaana juda zammane se
aa gaya tha mere gumaan mein kya
[Thought we were different, what presumptuous was the thought]
bolte kyun nahin mere haq mein
aable paR gaye hain zubaan mein kya
[Why no one speaks in my favour, Is the tongue full of blisters?] 
hai naseem e bahaar gard aalood
khaak uRti hai us makaan mein kya.
[The spring breeze caries an amount of dust, has this world gone to dust?] 

woh mile to yeh poochhna hai mujhe
ab bhi hun main teri amaan mein kya

[I have a question if ever we should meet, Am I still in your protection?]  

yun jo takta hai aasmaan ko tu
koi rehta hai aasmaan mein kya

[I see you staring at the sky always, Is there some one living up there?

yeh mujhe chain kyun nahin parta
aik hi shakhs tha jahan mein kya

[why do I find it hard to have peace of mind, was there only one person in this world?]


{The last sher, yeh mujhe chain kyun nahi paRta…… has the quality found in many ahsaar of Ghalib: That it says a lot more than the words actually used could carry. In my opinion it says that I was in love with some one who have now gone (passed away or taken away by some rival ..) I cannot find peace now. Then he wonders why, there must be some one else who could provide solace to me, was there only that one person in the entire world?} 

[Acknowledgement: Copied from:
I have added two ashaar from Joh Elia’s Doha (1995) Mushayra which were missing here. I have also deleted one sher the meaning of which defied me. “
“dil kay aate hain jis ko dhyaan bohot
khud bhi aata hai apne dhyaan mein kya” ???????
I have also converted the ghazal to Urdu rasmul khat and have attempted to provide translations in English for readers who may find it hard to follow in Urdu. But of course, there are a lot more meaning than the literal translation could offer. One has to ponder and think the meanings that the shayer has intended.]

Posted by on November 9, 2013 in adab and literature


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For more, please see from where I have copied the following. But first listen to it on the YOUTUBE

Chaap Tilak

user img
Chhap tilak sab cheeni ray mosay naina milaikay
Chhap tilak sab cheeni ray mosay naina milaikay
Prem bhatee ka madhva pilaikay
Matvali kar leeni ray mosay naina milaikay
Gori gori bayyan, hari hari churiyan
Bayyan pakar dhar leeni ray mosay naina milaikay
Bal bal jaaon mein toray rang rajwa
Apni see kar leeni ray mosay naina milaikay
Khusrau Nijaam kay bal bal jayyiye
Mohay Suhaagan keeni ray mosay naina milaikay
Chhap tilak sab cheeni ray mosay naina milaikayTranslation
You’ve taken away my looks, my identity, by just a glance.
By making me drink the wine of love-potion,
You’ve intoxicated me by just a glance;
My fair, delicate wrists with green bangles in them,
Have been held tightly by you with just a glance.
I give my life to you, Oh my cloth-dyer,
You’ve dyed me in yourself, by just a glance.
I give my whole life to you Oh, Nijam,
You’ve made me your bride, by just a glance.


Posted by on November 2, 2013 in adab and literature


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