Ganga Ki Mauj, Jamna Ka Dhara
This article is written by Mr. Anwar-ul-Haque
Urdu literature, specially the Urdu poetry, is very deep and rich; in fact it is one of the richest literatures of our region. Considering that Urdu language is a fairly new comer in comparison of other languages, its richness is astonishing. Look at the other languages of our region: Persian, Sanskrit, Panjabi, Sindhi, Bengali etc. All these languages are very old as compared to Urdu; still Urdu literature is rich enough to compete with the literatures of these languages.
Actually the reason is quite simple; as Urdu is a combination of different languages, it acquired different qualities of these languages. For example, it obtained the deepness and philosophical touch from Persian and on the other hand, it received the sweetness and softness from Sanskrit. Likewise it obtained words from almost all the other languages of this region that too enhanced its depth and richness.
Let us experience, what we have said so far. In the year of 1952, a film known as Baiju Bawra was released and it changed the entire musical scenario of the Indian film industry. All the songs were very classical in nature but melodious enough that they are still popular in our sub-continent despite the elapse of more than half a century. This film contained a song which is known as one of the all time best film songs: O dunya ke rakhwale. However, we are going to discuss another song of this film which is also a block buster and trend setter of its genre.
The situation of this song in the film was that the hero (Bharat Bhoshan) wants to bring back his angry beloved who is going away from him in a boat. The hero is standing at the bank of a river (or lake) and start singing this song to mollify her to return back. Keep this situation in mind and now listen the lyrics of the song.
Tu Ganga ki mauj, main jamna ka dhara
Ho rahe ga milan ye hamara tumhara
Just take a moment and consider the initial verse (sher) in the light of film situation depicted above. The heroine is sailing through a river using a boat; the poet made full use of this situation and provided us an immortal verse. He did not only relate the river shown in the film with two well-known Indian rivers, but also colligated the heroine as mauj and hero as dhara. Now here comes the uniqueness of Urdu. The word mauj is Persian based (originally came from Arabic) whereas dhara is Sanskrit based and Urdu is the only language that has ability to combine these two words, as both these words are not stranger for this language. Therefore, this verse can only be written in Urdu, neither in Persian nor in Sanskrit. Furthermore, the word mauj is feminine and dhara is masculine; hence both these words well fit to the heroine and hero respectively.
Who can conceive and be able to write this classical piece of verse instead of a pupil of legendary Urdu poet Ustad Jigar Muradabadi? Yes! He is none other than Shakil Bedayuni (original name Shakil Ahmed Qadri), who himself is a legendary poet of Indian film industry. He did not stop at initial verse and continued his mastery in next stanzas of this song.
There are well documented properties (figures of speech or crafts) in Urdu poetry through which the beauty of any verse can be checked and measured. These properties are known as Sanatain. One important property (sanat) amongst these is known as Riyat-e-lafzi-o-manvi (or Mara’at-un-Nazeer); which means to use words, idioms or dialect related to the theme of the poetry. Not only the initial verse, but this whole song is the best example of this property. Just check out all the words and idioms used in the song and you will amaze how well Shakil used this property to create a master piece.
Let us see what Shakil said in his lyrics in simplest form (ignoring the idioms used and just taking the meanings of lyrics). In first stanza, he said: “You and I are made for each other. You can’t spend life without me and you can’t reach to your destination without me. Hence, please come towards me.” And in second stanza, he said: “Our relations can’t be broken. If you will hide from me, I will not allow you to do that and will search you anyway. I will change your anger into calmness or tranquility.” This is the loose translation of what Shakil said in two stanzas of the song to appease the heroine for come back. And look how majestically he used well-known idioms and metaphors that consist of words related with water and convey the above-mentioned message in most effective manner. Almost all the words, related to the water, are used by Shakil here: Ganga, Jamna, mauj, dhara, sagar, manjdhaar, kashti, nayya, patwaar, khiwayya, bhanwar, toofan and kinara.
And above all, the overall language used by Shakil is very simple and can be understandable by any common man. This is not an easy job considering the fact that he used a literary property (mentioned above), which has tendency to make the poetry difficult and complex.
The great lyrics require an equally beautiful composition for creation of an immortal song. Actually the biggest hand in popularization of any song is its composition. If composition is melodious and sweet, the song is easily memorized by masses making it popular. For this particular song, the composition is so melodious that this song really became a cliché for these types of songs, despite the fact that it is composed on Raga Bhairween. The composer of this song is, again, none other than the great Naushad. This particular song exactly shows why he was given the title of Mausiqar-e-Azam (the biggest music director or composer).
Naushad did not rely solely on the lyrics of poet in this particular song; he added a complete line before the actual lyrics of the song. This line consists of the words Ho ji ho along with a long taan. This was a unique experience, as it was not envisaged earlier by any composer. This line was very natural considering the song situation; as the hero was trying to bring back his beloved and this line is the initial calling for her. The inclusion of this initial line not only enhanced the effects of beautiful lyrics but it became literally the most popular line ever created by a composer. Now the main face of this song is this line; means whenever you recall this song, the first words or first Sur that will come in your mind will be this classical ho ji ho.
The next technique which was used by Naushad is the enhancement of second line of initial verse according to his composition. This technique was also used by other composers of that era, but Naushad was probably the first to initiate this and he used the same in his many compositions. The best ever example of use of this technique is again in this song. The simple line Ho rahe ga milan ye hamara tumhara expanded according to the composition and became Ho rahe ga milan ye hamara, ho… hamara, tumhara rahe ga, milan ye hamara tumhara. Just listen this line and you will agree that this is the true mastery of this genius musician.
He made the tune both in high and low pitches. There are five lines in each stanza. He made the composition of first two lines and the last line in low notes; whereas the third and fourth lines are in high notes. This unusual arrangement of notes charismatically enhanced the effect of this song, which one can easily feel by carefully listening to the song.
And the orchestra played between mukhda and each antara is also awesome. Just listen it and feel the joy, comfort and pleasure which this immortal music can provide to you. This music has now became classic and you will immediately recognize this song by just listening any little part of its music. This mastery and brilliance is known as Naushad.
The great lyrics and brilliant composition are in your hands; now what is the next? Yes, a suitable voice which can convey the message effectively. But what about a voice that has a special ability to even enhance the effectiveness of the message. There is only one such voice and Naushad used that voice. Actually all the songs of this film were composed by Naushad keeping that voice in the mind. Previously, most of his compositions were in low notes (especially those which were used on heroes); the reason was simple, he had voices which could not sing in high notes well. But now as he had found such voice, he made compositions of this film in high pitches which were also the demand of situations of those songs. And that voice is none other than that of great Muhammad Rafi.
Rafi Sahab put his deep impact right from the start of the song through initial alaap and the starting line of song: Akeli mat jayyo Radhe Jamna ke deer. Can you imagine this alaap and initial line with so much effectiveness in any other voice of that era? Just consider each and every male singer of that time and imagine his voice singing this alaap and that line. You will come to the definite conclusion that no other voice had the ability to sing like Rafi Sahab sang it. Here a special ability of Rafi Sahab’s voice worked; the ability to sing brilliantly and with such ease with minimal music in back ground.
Also listen and feel the internal pain in voice of Rafi Sahab while singing this initial taan and staring line. This pain is somewhat different from the one exists in his other full-fledged sad songs. The pain in this particular song is not a full throttle of sorrow – it is not a huge wave of grief in an ocean, it is like a small and calm whirlpool of unhappiness that produces when one throws a small stone in a lake. Listen how Rafi Sahab sang the word Radhe and you can feel what has been just discussed.
The transitions of Rafi Sahab’s voice from low to high notes and then back to low notes are awesome. As discussed above, the first two lines and the last line of each stanza are in low notes; whereas the third and fourth lines are composed in high notes. Rafi Sahab did not increase his pitch suddenly while singing the third and fourth lines; instead he gradually and steadily boosted his voice which leaves a pleasant impression on the listener. The gradual increase ends at last words of third and fourth lines which are at much higher notes; here Rafi Sahab used his great ability of singing effortlessly in high pitches and sang beautifully. As an example, listen to the last parts of words nayya or khiwayya from third and fourth lines respectively of first stanza. These are just flawless and treat to listen.
Above all, Rafi Sahab sang this song with so much ease that every listener can think that this song is very easy to sing; but as with other tunes of Naushad, this composition too is not so much easy to sing. Actually Rafi Sahab made it look very simple and easy; this is again the greatness of Rafi Sahab. We did not hear the voice of Baiju; but by listening to the songs of Rafi Sahab, we can say that he is the original and actual Baiju (or even Taan Sen) of the music.
There were two most difficult compositions in this film; one was O dunya ke rakhwale and the other was Mann tarhpat Hari darshan ko aaj. The first one was in extreme high notes and the other was in extreme classical style. In the presence of both these block buster songs, the song under discussion could not get attention of critics. All the critics praised the abilities of Rafi Sahab’s voice in those two songs considerably and rightly so, but this song was somewhat ignored by the critics. Even now, when we talk about Baiju Bawra, we consider and present only those two songs as the masterpieces of Rafi Sahab’s singing ability. The reason is quite simple; those two songs were enough extra ordinary that they overshadowed the other songs of the films. If the song under discussion would be part of some other film, it would gain definitely more attention that it got now.
But this song got his due attention from masses and got popular very much, as mentioned earlier in the article. The phrases used by Shakil, Ganga ki mauj and Jamna ka dhara, are themselves now used as idioms; the Ho ji ho crafted by Naushad is a land mark of the film songs and the voice of Rafi Sahab is standing like an unreachable crest in the world of singing. This was the team of three giants of Indian Film Industry; the team who created pure gold and presented irremovable pleasures to all the listeners.