Atul’s Song A Day- A choice collection of Hindi Film & Non-Film Songs

Yoon na reh reh kar hamen tarsaaiye

Posted on: June 16, 2012


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

A ‘raagini’ coming alive – that would be an experience worth paying for with everything in life, including life itself. Imagine the circumstance – a private ‘sangeet sabha’ – musical congregation. The singer singing at the request of and in the honor of his spiritual guru. He renders Raag Jaunpuri, with such intense affection – and after some time a moment comes to pass where the entire gathering is transported into a magical surrealism, and the people present actually envision a very beautiful lady bedecked in fine jewellery and attire, slowly ambling amongst them. It is not an individual experience, but a vision perceived by many who were present. A worried guru motions the singer to slow down, and fade away the singing. But the vision persists. Eventually, the guru directs the singer to render Raag Bhairavi, and slowly the apparition fades away.

The episode was experienced so strongly by those who were present, that it made into the newspaper reports of the local papers. It was the summer of 1941. The place – Kufri, a small hamlet resort near Simla. The spiritiual guru – Sant Nand Singh ji Kelraan waale. And the singer, a young lad, barely having stepped into his teens – Master Madan. A name that the connoisseurs of music must be very familiar with, although the awareness appears to be dissipating with time. A persona and a life that was prodigious – and the essence that remains is an enigma and a treasure forever.

Rewind back about 10 years. 1931 – and another musical congregation. The place is Dharampur in Punjab. A large gathering of musicians, singers, teachers and music lovers. On stage is the surprise presenter of the evening. A child, all of three years old begins to sing the bhajan “Vandan Hey Sharda, Naman Karoon” in Raag Misra Kaafi. The voice, the rendering, the emotional essence, the flow – all came together to present the music in all its splendor and opulence. The audience was in raptures and wanted the child to sing on. He presented a piece in Raag Dhrupad, that cast a spell. This was the first public performance of Master Madan, the amazing child prodigy. Just about a year earlier, he had surprised his own family with his abilities to handle and render complex Ragas with an ease and confidence which is attained by students of music after many years of practice and guidance.

Master Madan was born on 28th December, 1927 in the village Khan-e-Khaana in Punjab, to the parents Sardar Amar Singh and Pooran Devi. His family was very religious and cultured. Sardar Amar Singh was a government official in Delhi. Although not an accomplished or trained musician himself, he had a deep love for music, and arranged for his children to be formally trained in music. As circumstances would have it, their home would become a meeting place for musicians and singers of repute. Pt. Amarnath (elder brother to the music director duo Husnlal-Bhagatram) and Saigal Saab were frequent visitors. Master Madan’s initiation into music and singing happened in such a conducive environment. His first teacher was his own elder sister, Shanti Devi. And in the course of the years that would be termed as infancy for normal children, Master Madan was learning the intricacies of classical Ragas at the feet of such stalwarts as Pt. Amarnath, Asaf Ali, Zaheer Haider, Gosain Bhagwat Kishore, Taalib Hussain, Ramzaan Khan and others.

After his first performance at the age of three, his fame spread like fire and he was invited to sing at musical function in many cities, and even at royal palaces. At the age of eight, he started singing for All India Radio in Delhi. Just about ten or eleven years of age, and a film producer from Bombay approached the family with a proposal for Master Madan to play the role of Sant Kabir’s childhood, in a film being planned on the life of Kabir. The family declined the proposal, with the consideration that the environment of the film world in Bombay would not be conducive for the young lad. May the history may have been different, who knows. There is a reference that one of his musical pieces has been included in a film as a background item, but no specific details have as yet been unearthed.

In 1942, at the age of 14, Master Madan gave a performance in Calcutta, that merits a very special mention. He rendered one musical piece for over 90 minutes. It was the bhajan “Vinti Suno Mori Avadh Ke Basaiyaa” sung in Raag Baageswari. The audience were spell bound, and a huge crowd followed him after the program, to the place where he was staying. Somehow, the people just did not want to go away. One admirer placed 500 rupees at his feet, an amount that would be a king’s ransom in those times.

On returning from Calcutta, he came to Delhi and stayed with his sister, Shanti Devi for some time. He continued to perform at the All India Radio. During this time, his health started to deteriorate. He had intermittent fever, that continued for months. All treatments were ineffective. After about 4 months of this condition, his family took him back to Simla. His condition continued to worsen, and after some time, his forehead and his joints took on a glossy quality. It was then that the doctors realized that Master Madan was most probably a victim of mercury poisoning. This part of his life story has remained a mystery till date. It has never been ascertained as to when, how and by whom this poison was administered. Speculations all point towards a crime of jealousy, but the person or people behind this ghastly act have never been identified. Seventy years ago, on 5th June, 1942 he breathed his last, still six months short of his 15th birthday.

A child that was born with a divine touch of music, one who expressed his musical capabilities at an age when many children are just starting to speak, one who started giving public performances at an age when most children are still struggling with speech and language constructs, one whose renditions on stage and on record defy the accepted dictum of learning curves and experience. And he left his world at an age, when most other children are still in the process to understand their own capabilities and start making dreams about the future.

He has left behind a wonder of a life story, a mystery surrounding his life, and an enigma in the arena of music – for who he truly was, whither he came from and why did he have to leave so soon. And another aspect that can only be termed as misfortune – despite the fact that he regularly performed at the All India Radio, besides keeping a very busy schedule of public performance, there is not a single recording available of such performances. Not even in the AIR.

Of all his renderings, only 8 melodies have survived in the form of 78 rpm records. Two of these are ghazals (both by Saagar Nizami), and the remaining six are bhajans in classical ragas and songs in Punjabi. By some accounts these recordings were made most probably sometime during the years 1935-37.

This offering is a ghazal penned by Saagar Nizaami. The words express very simply, the state of mind and the desires in the heart of the lover. The composition is by Pt. Amarnath. For this recording, the accompaniment was by Pt. Amarnath himself on harmonium, Shri Heeralal on tabla and Master Mohan, his elder brother, on the violin. Considering the time frame of recording, Master Madan is simply eight or nine years old when this recording was made. Even if you have heard this ghazal before, not listen to this again with his age in your mind. And then, you can make the judgment and the realization, of the hand of divinity behind this voice. The maturity, the finesse, the power of emotion behind the voice simply belies the fact of his age, and one can perceive something more than human at work here. Just click on the link and let your heart simply be swept away by the sound of this voice pleading with the beloved for togetherness. The experience is certainly out of this world.

(NOTE: Our dear Arun ji Deshmukh has requested for the music of Master Madan to be represented on this blog, through his comments in ‘Reader’s Farmaish’, as well as in personal communications. I have been very delinquent in the past few weeks, but now making a effort to be active again here – my favorite place on the internet, and amongst the best friends. 🙂 A lot of personal requests, and other posts that I have started working on, are waiting to fly out – hopefully soon.)

yoon na reh reh kar hamen tarsaaiye
aaiye, aa jaaiye, aa jaaiye

(O my beloved)
Please do not
Continue to torment me so
Again and again
Please, oh please
Do come and be with me
Come, o my dear, come to me

phir wohi daanistaah thokar khaayi’ey
phir meri aagosh mein gir jaaiye

Once again, pretend
That deliberate stumble
Come, once again
Fall into my embrace
(NOTE: ‘daanistaah’ – deliberate, purposeful)

meri duniya muntazir hai aap ki
apni duniya chhod kar aa jaaiye

My being, my whole world
Desires for you
Is waiting for you
Pray, oh pray, desert your world
And come to me
(NOTE: ‘muntazir’ – one who waits)

ye hawaa, saagar, ye halki chaandni
jee mein aata hai yehin mar jaaiye

This time, this place
The shores of the sea and the blowing winds
This soft and flowing moonlight. . .
The heart desires no more
It’s the time to die
It’s the time and place to die


Song-Yoon na reh reh kar hamen tarsaaiye (Master Madan NFS)(1935) Singer-Master Madan, Lyrics-Saagar Nizaami, MD-Pt Amarnath

Lyrics

yoon na reh reh kar hamen tarsaaiye
yoon na reh reh kar hamen tarsaaiye
aaiye, aa jaaiye, aa jaaiye

aaa
phir wohi daanistaah thokar khaayi’ey
phir wohi daanistaah thokar khaayi’ey
phir meri aagosh mein gir jaaiye
phir meri aagosh mein gir jaaiye

meri duniya muntazir hai aap ki
ee ee ee
meri duniya muntazir hai aap ki
ee ee ee
apni duniya chhod kar aa jaaiye
apni duniya chhod kar aa jaaiye

aa aa aa
ye hawaa, saagar, ye halki chaandni
ye hawaa, saagar, ye halki chaandni
jee mein aata hai yehin mar jaaiye
jee mein aata hai yehin mar jaaiye
yoon na reh reh kar hamen tarsaaiye

9 Responses to "Yoon na reh reh kar hamen tarsaaiye"

Just Devine! What a pathetic end of a prodigy!
Hiren Patel

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I am very familiar with MM name and his songs.
But I didn’t know how he was died.
This reminds me of movie Amadeus (1984) This movie was nominated for 53 awards and it won 40.
The story of Mozart and Antonio Salieri. When Mozart died, nobody knew that he died from the poison. But many years later doctors speculated that he could have died of mercury poisoning, Than Salieri made deathbed confession of his involvement.
Five years after Salieri died, Russian poet and author Alexander Pushkin, wrote a drama called “Mozart and Salieri” (1830).
From that story this movie was made.

(2) Another recent story in 1960/61 Lata was poisoned too, and it’s still a mystery!

Some history with mystery:)

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ye hawaa, “saagar”*, ye halki chaandni
ye hawaa, “saagar”*, ye halki chaandni
jee mein aata hai yehin mar jaaiye
jee mein aata hai yehin mar jaaiye
yoon na reh reh kar hamen tarsaaiye

*Here the word Saagar is the signure of the name of lyricist, who was Saagar Nizaami.

Like

Sudhir ji,
Thanks for posting this melodious Gazal from the Unique Master Madan.You have written,as usual,a fantastic note on the unfortunate singer,giving all possible details of the tiny life history of Master Madan.
I heard Master Madan first in or around 1950,when his records were bought by my father and played them on the “handy” Gramophone.From then on,I have been hearing him on and off.I felt that such a jewel needs exposure to our younger readers on this blog.His Photo would have added some glamour.
Thanks.
Thanks also for coming back on the blog after a long gap.
-AD

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This is Nirmala Arun’s voice mother of Govinda. Please correct me if I am wrong

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Nitin ji,
I am surprised that you made such a comment.
After Sudhir ji has painstakingly written so much about Master Madan,how can you say such a thing ?
The Gazal is very much in the voice of MASTER MADAN.
A total of 8 songs in the original voice of MASTER MADAN are available on the Internet.I have given details of his songs in “Readers’ Farmaish” column in this blog some time back.
To listen to all 8 songs and to read the bio of MASTER MADAN, please search the Internet.
-AD

Like

Impossible to believe that it comes from a eight, nine year old boy, out of the world!

Like

Dear friends,

Thanks for writing in with your comments.

Aparna ji, Hiren Bhai, Derubala ji,
Yes, the tragedy that was the passing away of this young lad at the age of fourteen, was the talk of the music industry in India for decades. The speculations about who could have been behind this ghastly act, really ran wild. Master Madan’s passing away in such tragic circumstances had a great effect on his fans, especially the people who had attended his live performances. They simply could not believe, nor get over this news, in some cases, for years. And what to say about the family – it was as if struck by a disaster.

And as I mention in the write up, the most unfortunate part is the paucity of recordings available. Over the decades, only 8 recordings on 78 RPM records have been identified, and are blissfully available on the internet. Sometimes in the 70s/80s there was a flurry that another record, i.e. two more songs/ghazals by Master Madan have been discovered. But after some painstaking research, it was categorically established that the songs on the said record were rendered by Madan Mohan, the music director, in his early years, and not by Master Madan.

Derubala ji,
Thanks for bringing in the analogy with another such tragedy from the west, i.e. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Apparently no field in life is devoid of such perverse jealousy, leading to such ultimate actions. And yes, also thanks for highlighting the use of the word ‘saagar’ – it definitely is the ‘takhallus’ of the poet, finding its place in the last couplet.

Arun ji,
I must thank you for continuing to putting in newer ideas for bringing in important and hitherto unrepresented material to this blog, and in that way, being instrumental brining in the much needed attention and awareness to some of the lesser known, lesser familiar artists and their contributions. As in this case, a very important one indeed.

Nitin ji,
I hope you have been able to ascertain more information about Master Madan, as suggested by Arun ji.

Regards all,
Sudhir

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Dear All,
A lot has been written above about Master Madan but no one has taken the trouble of identifying the ragas in which his two ghazals ‘Yun na reh reh kar….’ and ‘Hairat se….’ have been composed by Pt. Amarnath. Will someone be kind enough to oblige me by answering my query?

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