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Aseer e gham ka bhala phir kahaan thikaana thhaa

Posted on: March 2, 2013


This article is written by Sadanand Kamath, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a regular contributor to this blog.

A few months back, I came across a non-filmy ghazal ‘asser-e-gham ka bhalaa phir kahaan thikaanaa thhaa’ sung by Kamla Jharia, a classical singer of dadra, thumri, ghazals and devotional songs. She was also an actor-singer and a playback singer mainly in 30s and 40s. I loved this ghazal so much that in token of my appreciation, I decided to write an article on this ghazal for which I was collecting background information on it. During this period, I came across another audio clip of the same ghazal on YT, sung by her. But this time, it was accredited to a Hindi film ‘Struggle’ (1936). So I put my plan to write an article on hold until I solved the puzzle of this ghazal being labelled both as non-filmy as well as a filmy ghazal.

I have listened to both these ghazals many times since then to confirm that both the versions of the ghazal were sung by the same singer. The style and pronunciations of the singer was compared with her other ghazals and naats available on the YT. It was observed during this comparison that there waere some differences in her rendition in the supposedly filmy version in which ‘aalaaps’ were longer and some of the lines of the ‘shers’ repeated in both the versions were different. There were also some differences in the percussion beats used in both the versions. I was now fairly satisfied that both these ghazals were sung by Kamala Jharia.

The next step was to know whether the second ghazal was really from the film as claimed by the uploader of the audio clip. According to http://www.gomolo.com , ‘Struggle’ (1936) was produced under the banner of Madan Theatres Ltd. and directed by Ezra Mir (born as Edwin Mayers). The star cast was Jahanara Kajjan, Akhtar Nawaj, Mahajabeen, Mohammed Hussain Jr. Interestingly, in http://www.earthmusic.net ,the ghazal under discussion is shown against the film ‘Jeewan Sangram’. I presume that this was an alternate title of the film ‘Struggle’. Probably the film could have been a bilingual with two different titles. Still, I am not certain whether this ghazal was in the film. I have no idea whether HFGK has mentioned this ghazal as a part of the film ‘Struggle’ or ‘Jeewan Sangram’.

After a few days of cooling off, I once again got into finding the correct status of this ghazal. I could find a catalogue of 78 RPM records of Kamla Jharia on the internet, included in the Journal of the Society of Indian Record Collectors (SIRC) according to which her record of this ghazal was released on HMV in July 1934 ( Record No. N.6270). Since the film was released in 1936, it became apparent that Kamla Jharia may have first recorded this ghazal as a non-filmy ghazal. The plausible explanation I could think of is that Madan Theatres thought of using this ghazal in Kamala Jharia’s voice afresh for the film and the ghazal was accordingly recorded. Hence one finds differences in the two versions. This is a conjecture requiring confirmation.

The uploader of the audio clip of non-filmy version has mentioned the name of Firaq Gorakhpuri as the writer of this ghazal probably based on the fact that in the ‘maqta’ of the ghazal, the name ‘Firaq’ appears. But ‘firaq’ can also be used as a word meaning ‘separation’ or ‘deprivation’. I have a book on Firaq Gorakhpuri which contains a good number of his ghazals but this ghazal is not included in the book. And my two cents on the subject is that the ghazal under discussion does not appear to have a style of Firaq Gorakhpuri. I am unable to explain it but this ghazal reminds me of ghazals written by poets of 19th century like Ghalib, Zauq, Daagh, Mir Taqi Mir. In the book I referred to above, it is mentioned that in the initial period of his ghazal writing, Firaq Gorakhpuri was greatly influenced by the ghazals of Mir Taqi Mir. It is, therefore, quite possible that Firaq Gorakhpuri may have written this ghazal during the early period of his life. Again, the name of the writer of this ghazal needs to be confirmed.

There is no mention of the name of the composer of this ghazal in both the versions. Since this ghazal was recorded and issued by HMV, I guess that in keeping with the practice of those days of providing HMV’s own musicians when Ustad Zamiruddin Khan was the Chief Trainer in HMV, he may have been involved in the composition of this ghazal. According to an interview given by Kamal Das Gupta, most of the non-filmy ghazals and naats sung by Kamla Jharia (and also by Angurbala and Indubala) were composed by Ustad Zamiruddin Khan. Both Kamla Jharia and Kamal Das Gupta were the disciples of Ustad Zamiruddin Khan.

I request our knowledgeable readers to give some more inputs in knowing the status of this ghazal – whether filmy or non-filmy, the writer and the composer of this ghazal.

I have provided audio links of both the versions of the ghazal for comparison. Since both the versions have same ‘shers’, I have not given lyrics of the filmy version separately.

Enjoy listening to this ghazal rendered in 1930s’ style.

Audio(non-filmy version)

Audio(filmy version)

Song-Aseer e gham ka bhala phir kahaan thikaana thha (Kamla Jharia NFS )(1934) Singer-Kamla Jharia, Lyrics-Firaq Gorakhpuri, MD-Ustad Zamiruddin Khan

Lyrics ( on the basis of the audio clip of non-filmy version)

Lyrics

aaa aa
aa aa aa
aseer-e-gham kaa bhalaa phir kahaan thikaanaa thhaa
aa aa aaa
aseer-e-gham kaa bhalaa

naseeb mein to kafas hi kaa aab-o-daaaanaa thhaa
aseer-e-gham ka bhalaa

kiyaa thhaa is liye
ae ae ae ae
uzr-e-hina shab-e-waada
aa aa aa aa aa
ke meri hasrat o armaan ka khoon bahaana thhaa aa
ke meri hasrat o armaan ka khoon bahaana thhaa aa
aseer-e-gham kaa bhalaa

kafas pe barf giri ee ee
ee ee ee
aashiyaan ke dhokhe mein
falak ke teer kaa
kyaa bekhataa nishaanaa thhaa
falak ke teer kaa
kyaa bekhataa nishaanaa thhaa
aseer-e-gham ka bhalaa

kabhi Firaq ke sadme sahe na thhe
ae ae ae dil
aa aa aa
aa aa aa
wo benayaaz mohabbat bhi kyaa thhikaana thhaa
wo benayaaz mohabbat bhi kyaa thhikaana thhaa
aseer-e-gham ka bhalaa phir kahaan thikaanaa thhaa aa
aseer-e-gham ka bhalaa

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7 Responses to "Aseer e gham ka bhala phir kahaan thikaana thhaa"

Sir,

The words are clearer is the movie version.

aseer-e-gham kaa bhalaa phir kahaan thikaanaa thhaa
naseeb mein to ‘ qafas ‘ hi kaa aab-o-daaaanaa thhaa

‘ qafas ‘ pe barf giri aashiyaan ke dhoke mein
falak ke teer kaa kyaa bekhataa nishaanaa thhaa

kabhi Firaq ke sadme sahe na thhe ae dil
wo ‘ benayaaz ‘ mohabbat bhi kyaa ‘ zamaana ‘ thhaa

The word is ‘qafas’ which means a birds cage. ‘ qafas ‘ and ‘aashiyaan’ are opposites in poetic sense, as aashiyan is the nest.

Thanks for the corrections.

But as far as the last stanza is concerned, the line is
mohabbat bhi kyaa ‘ zamaana ‘ thhaa , in movie version and
mohabbat bhi kyaa ‘ thikaana ‘ thhaa , in the NFS version.

I was about to write my comments on my impression about ‘zamaana’ in film version and ‘thikaana’ in non-filmy version.

Thanks nahm for the corrections.

yeh kehnaa be-had mushkil hai k yeh Ghazal kis shaa’ir ki kahii hu’ii hai. mere paas kalaam-e-Firaaq ke 6 maj’muuey maujood haiN magar afsos k yeh Ghazal un meiN kaheeN bhi naheeN milii.

rahi baat aNdaaz-e-bayaaN ko to yeh kehna aasaan naheeN hai k yeh aNdaaz Firaaq saahib ke saath milta julta hai yaa naheeN — kyooN-k aise savaalaat yooN naheeN suljhaaye jaate!

ba-har-haal, aaKhiri she’r meiN, lafz “zamaana’ hi mauzooN hai jo k is she’r ko baa-ma’ani banaataa hai; lafz “Thikaanaa” se to yeh she’r sar-aa-sar be-ma’aani ho jaata hai!

aaKhiri baat yeh k, teesre she’r meiN, saheeh lafz “barq” hai, na k “barf”.
“barq” ke ma’ani haiN — bijli.
ab dekhiye is she’r ke tevar, especially the satire embedded in the phrase “be-Khataa nishaana”!
At least, this style, in my opinion, is very much Firaaq-esque!

Raj Kumar ‘Qais’

Dear Raj Kumar ‘Qais’,
Thanks for your inputs on this ghazal.

aek chhoTi si baat aur, Kamath saahib, — voh yeh k aap ke is mazmoon meiN Urdu ke aek mash_hoor shaa’ir ka naam do baar “Taqi Mir Taqi” kahaa gayaa hai, jab-k un ka saheeh naam hai — “Mir Taqi Mir”!

Please make this correction — not only for the present but also for the future!

du’aa-go,
Raj Kumar “Qais”

Dear Raj Kumar ‘Qais’,
Thank you for pointing out the mistake. ye chhoti galti nahin balki badi galti hai,
Of course, the correct name is ‘Mir Taqi Mir’. which has since been corrected by dear Atul.

,

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