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

O aasmaan waale

Posted on: July 4, 2012


Hindi movie makers have helped create some long lasting myths that most movie watchers tend to believe firmly by now. For instance, one of the myths created by Hindi movies is that Daakus in India ride horses. If Daakus could really afford horses, then why would they need to become daakus in the first place ? This is a rhetorical question that one real daaku had asked, when a movie reporter asked him about his horses.

Those movie watchers who have grown up watching Mughal e Azam may actually believe that emperor Akbar looked like Prithviraj Kapoor and had a voice like him as well. 🙂

But what about Anarkali ? Did Anarkali looked like Bina Rai or Madhubala ?

If one reads authentic history of the Mughal empire, then there is no mention of Anarkali anywhere in those chronicles. Anarkali may or may not have really existed. The character of Anarkali was created by some writer in one of his articles and then the story of Anarkali became popular thanks to the movies namely “Anarkali” (1953) and “Mughal e Azam” (1960). In reality there may not have been any historical character called Anarkali.

But that has not stopped Hindi movie makers from cashing on this name. 🙂 There have been two hugely popular movies on her in Hindi movies and perhaps a few more less popular movies too. And most movie going janta firmly believe by now that Anarkali not only existed, but hat she also sang lots and lots of great songs in Lata’s voice too.

As many as eight songs from “Anarkali” (1953) have been discussed in the past in the blog. Here is another song from this movie. It is sung by Lata and it is picturised on Bina Rai, of course. This song is written by Hasrat Jaipuri. Music is composed by C Ramchandra.

Lyrics of this song were sent to me by Khyati Bhatt.

Audio

Video

Song-O aasmaanwaale (Anarkali)(1953) Singer-Lata, Lyrics-Hasrat Jaipuri, MD-C Ramchandra

Lyrics(Provided by Khyati Bhatt)

zindagi bebas huyi hai
bekasi ka saath hai
ek hum hain is qafas mein
ya khuda ki zaat hai
o aasmaan waale
shikwa hai zindagi ka
o aasmaan waale
shikwa hai zindagi ka
sun daastaan gham ki
afsaana bebasi ka

tu dekhta rahe aur
duniya humen sazaa de
kya zurm hai muhabbat
itna zara bata de
tu dekhta rahe aur
duniya humen sazaa de
kya zurm hai muhabbat
itna zara bata de
manzil pe kyun luta hai
manzil pe kyun luta hai
har kaarwaan khushi ka
o aasmaan waale
shikwa hai zindagi ka
sun daastaan gham ki
afsana bebasi ka

itni si iltezaa hai
tujh se meri duaa ki
allah sharm rakhna
duniya mein tu wafa ki
itni si iltezaa hai
tujh se meri duaa ki
allah sharm rakhna
duniya mein tu wafa ki
hota hai maut hi to
hota hai maut hi to
anjaam zindagi ka
o aasmaan waale
shikwa hai zindagi ka
sun daastaan gham ki
afsaana bebasi ka

5 Responses to "O aasmaan waale"

Our films have colored our notions of history. Akbar was supposed to be short and stocky, with a mole on his face, neither as imposing as Prithviraj or as beautiful as Hritik. But movies are not about reality, that is what makes them such fun. Jodha Akbar was more like a delicious M&B Novel come to life, that is what made it so watchable.

Even before these two movies came to screen, Salim and Anarkali were sung about in Kissa’s. Madhu once said that there was a mention in historical books about a dancing girl called Anarkali, so who knows, the story may be true.

This song is very sweet, Atul, thanks to you and Khyatiji for posting this.

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Ava ji,
You are right.
The historical movies in India should be called ‘Distortical’ movies,for the kind of cinematic liberties they take in them.
-AD

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Something that happened 500 yrs ago, hard to come up with evidence of things or events, whether they really happened or not. Sometime ago I read that kids in school were being taught that Shivaji Maharaj was a lootera and there was an uproar about it. So its upto the powers to be, what they want to feed to masses thru media and rewrite history.

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You’re right, Ava Suri. Whether Anarkali really existed is debatable. But if she did, she would’ve been a combination of Bina Rai and Madhubala. And both would have had voices so similar to Lata Mangeshkar! 🙂

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Ava ji, Arun ji, Mani ji,

Yes, agreed that the historical documents of that era are silent about Anarkali. Historical opinions vary. The reality of history is only as good as the one who has documented it. As is the general axiom, they say history is always documented by the winner. In case of Akbar, the events and circumstances of his reign are available as writings of his courtiers, especially his close circle of ‘Navratan’ intellectuals. ‘Akbar Namah’ by Abul Fazal, accounts recorded by Jesuit missionaries at the Mughal court, and other such documents form the basis of history of his times. And it is very much possible that these documents could / would have been written/censored/updated at the behest of the emperors – Akbar and / or Jehangir themselves.

It is documented as part of history that Salim once rebelled against his emperor father. The reasons behind this rebellion are attributed by historians to a struggle for succession. Apparently Akbar was unhappy with the habits and behavior of his son. It is known that Jehangir was addicted to opium and alcohol, and that he had a penchant for female companions. In his later years, Akbar had in his mind to install his grandson, Khusrau Mirza, eldest son of Prince Salim, as his successor. This would have cut out the option for Prince Salim. During one of the travels of Akbar away from Agra, Prince Salim rebelled and made a move to ascend the throne. Akbar came to know of this development and returned to Agra forthwith. The rebellion was quashed, but the differences between father and son became an affair of open hostility.

A grey area in history is the antecedents of Noor Jehan herself. History identifies Mirza Gyas Beg, a traveler from Persia, as her father. Gyas Beg was traveling to South Asia from Tehran. It is stated that the convoy he was traveling with, was attacked by dacoits, and he lost almost everything in that raid. The decimated convoy reached Kandhar. Now some accounts say that Mehr-un-Nisaa, future empress of India, was born to Mirza Gyas Beg’s wife in Kandhar. Other accounts say that the child girl was found abandoned by Mirza Gyas Beg, either at Kandhar or earlier during the raid by dacoits, and he adopted her as his own daughter.

On reaching Agra, Mirza Gyas Beg presented himself at the court of Akbar, and in due course, became one of the respected noblemen at the court. Further accounts say that Mehr-un-Nisaa was married to Sher Afghan, the governor of eastern provinces, based in Burdwan (in Bengal). After Akbar’s passing away in 1605, there are some records that indicate Prince Salim (now emperor Jenahgir) asked Sher Afghan to ‘give’ Mehr-un-Nisaa to him. These records are uncertain, but one event is certain. Two years after Akbar’s death, and ascension of Prince Salim to the throne, Sher Afghan was killed under mysterious circumstances. After his death, Mehr-un-Nisaa moved back to Agra, and became one of the ladies at the court. She was given the title Noor Mahal (Light of the Palace). Then four years later, she and the emperor were formally married. Mehr-un-Nisaa was given the title Noor Jehan (Light of the World). As a king, Jehangir was a much married person, and Noor Jehan, his queen, was the first amongst many.

These piecemeal passages from history do not preclude the possibility that the events and records were glossed over, to cover a possible true story of romance and intrigues in Akbar’s household. Let us remember that Jodhabai, the Rajput princess, was not the only wife of Akbar. He had many wives too, and this alliance was more in the shape of a strategy for political and regional ends. Akbar had two more sons (twins) from his first wife, who did not survive for long. Providentially, Salim, the son of a Rajput princess, became the only heir to the throne.

An alternate course of events can be surmised, accounting for the above facts. Let us consider the following. Prince Salim did indeed fall in love with a lady in the court, one who was of a real low standing in the society. The reaction of Akbar and Jodhabai would have been anger and refusal. The counter reaction by Prince Salim would have been of adamancy and insistence on having his own way. That may be the time that Akbar started considering alternate successor to himself, in his quest to ensure that the Mughal lineage was not mixed with a commoner’s genes. Keeping in view the adamancy of Prince Salim, it is possible that some compromises were made, either with the knowledge and blessing of Akbar, or maybe planned in defiance, and with respect for his parents, by Prince Salim himself. The lady in question was made to disappear, and was later made to reappear as the daughter of Mirza Gyas Beg, thereby enhancing her status by association with nobility. I do not have credible evidence from historical references to back this speculation, but it is a highly probable course of events. I present two circumstantial anecdotes for this. In the last scene of ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ (1960), Akbar secretly releases Anarkali, and instructs her mother to take her far away from the Mughal kingdom. The second anecdote is from another stage play on this subject that I remember seeing many years ago in Delhi. In the last scene, as Anarkali is being banished from the kingdom, her last words are that she will have her dues from the Mughal empire and will return one day as the empress of India.

After returning as the daughter of Mirza Gyas Beg, this lady joins the court of Akbar. But then she is married off to Sher Afghan. One possibility is that Akbar and Jodha were still not reconciled that a commoner should become the next queen. With that mindset, they arranged for her to get married to another nobleman, and sent her away from Agra. But history does record that Prince Salim still pursued her and even asked Sher Afghan to ‘give her back’ to him. But when that did not happen, and after Akbar passed away, Sher Afghan was eliminated under unknown circumstances, and the lady in question was brought back to the court at Agra. It is possible that this delay and this course of contrived events was simply a vow on part of Akbar that while he was alive, he would not see Prince Salim married to a common lady. After that, Jehangir took her as his twentieth wife, and elevated her to the highest rank.

This is probably the most notable point in this saga – that after so many years, being aware of the lady’s uncertain lineage, and the fact that she was a widow already, she still was made the empress, ahead of the nineteen wives that Jehangir already had. It is recorded in history that Noor Jehan was the driving force behind Jehangir’s administrative machinery. She shared the throne with her husband, and held her own private court with the ministers and officers of the administrative machinery.

There is possibly yet another extension to this compromise. Akbar and Jodhabai may have agreed for this alliance to happen on a condition that the lineage of the Mughal empire would not be mixed with a commoner’s genes. Noor Jehan, although enjoyed the status of the empress, did not have any children from her marriage with Jehangir. From her first marriage with Sher Afghan, she only had one daughter, who is also named Mehr-un-Nisaa as per historical records. Khurram, later to be crowned as emperor Shah Jehan, was the son of Jehangir from another wife, Rani Maanmati, who was also a Rajput princess.

And hence, reading between the lines of history, it is very probable that the love story of Salim and Anarkali is a reality, and that the true story was played out behind the curtained doorways of the Mughal royalty, and away from the eyes of the chroniclers of historical record. The love and the commitment these two had for each other must have been really intense. The two lovers went through so many tribulations and separations across passages of years, before being finally united. And that too under the shadow of so many significant compromises, deceptions and even possibly the tampering of historical records. But then, isn’t that what true love is all about?

As stated earlier, I cannot present real evidence from history to support the above speculations. But as they say, there is never any smoke without fire. The historians may not formally record or accept this love story, but there must have been something there that eventually created this legend. And the legend and its evidence must be strong enough for so many intellectuals and poets and yes, filmmakers to expend their energies to glorify this love story. If one takes to believe the alternative premises, it circumstantially fits into the recorded course of events.

Food for thought.

Rgds
Sudhir

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This blog discusses Bollywood songs of yesteryears. Every song has a brief description, followed by a video link, and complete lyrics of the song.

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