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

Ud jaayegaa hans akela

Posted on: May 3, 2013


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

In the Hindu mythology, Gandharvas are stated to be the male heavenly spirit and in the context of music, the term is used for a highly skilled vocalist. Maharashtra had the privilege of having four ‘Gandharvas’. First, Sawai Gandharva (real name : Rambahu Kundgolkar – 19/01/1886 – 12/09/1952). He was a popular Hindustani classical vocalist and Marathi stage actor-singer. He was the first disciple of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan of Kirana gharana. One of the disciples of Sawai Gandharva was Pandit Bhimsen Joshi who later started the annual Sawai Gandharva Festival at Pune in the memory of his guru.

The second ghandarva was Bal Gandharva ( real name : Narayan Shripat Rajhans – 1888-1967). Though trained in Hindustani classical music, he was mostly associated with Marathi theatre. He was most famous for his roles of female characters. I have seen some of his old photos in female characters and I can vouch that he looked extremely beautiful doing female characters. I have heard from the elders that those days, women folk used to watch his plays not only for his beautiful portray of female characters and singing but also for getting to know about the latest trend in saris he wore. Later that would become a fashion trend.

Third gandharva was Chhota Gandharva (real name : Suadagar Nagnath Gore – 10/03/1918 – 31/12/1997). He was a singer-actor-lyricist and music director mostly in Marathi theatres. The fourth gandharva was Kumar Gandhrva (real name : Shivputra Komkalimath – 08/04/1924 – 12/01/1992 ). He was mainly a Hindustani classical vocalist though he sang a few popular songs and poems of Marathi theatres and poets. I have given the background about ‘Gandharvas’ mainly because during my younger days, I always used to get confused about songs sung by the above four Gandharvas.

While I was aware of first three Gandharvas due to their association with Marathi theatres as singer-actor, I came to know about Kumar Gandharva relatively late. I had heard a Kabir bhajan ‘sunta hai guru gyani’ sung by him in early 70s probably in my friend’s house. I liked it immensely because for the first time I felt that a devotional song had been rendered differently than what I had been listening to in the early morning slots of radio programmes. That the duration of this four dohas (couplets) of Kabir bhajan was over 10 minutes each indicates the variations he brought out while singing. Later I bought a LP of his Kabir Nirgum Bhajans issued sometime in 1978. Since then, I have been a great admirer of Pandit Kumar Gandharva. No wonder that Film Division’s documentary on Pandit Kumar Gandharva was aptly titles ‘Koi Sunta Hai’.

Pandit Kumar Gandharva was born on April 8, 1924 in a village near Belgaum in Karnataka. His father Siddaramappa was the follower of Ustad Abdul Kareem Khan of Kirana gharana. So the young Shivputra grew in the atmosphere of Hindustani classical music. It is said that up to the age of 8 years, he never sang though he used to play tanpura at the private concerts of his family members. The young Shivputra was an avid listener of 78 RPM records of classical music. One day during a private concert, he suddenly left his tanpura and started singing a classical bandish which he had heard from the gramophone record. The audience as well as his family members were pleasantly surprised. Because of his superb rendition of Hindustani classical ragas, the spiritual head of the Lingayat community to which the family belonged, conferred on him a new name, viz. Kumar Gandharva.

This child prodigy got his first opportunity to show his talent in Hindustani classical music festival in 1936 at the age of 12 during which some of the prominent Hindustani classical vocalists were also present. His 30 minutes rendition impressed the audience and other maestros present on the occasion. This marked the beginning of Kumar Gandharva’s musical journey. During 1936-1947, he was with Deodhar School of Music under the direct supervision and training of Professor B R Deodhar who taught him classical music of Gwalior gharana. During the period of his training, Kumar Gandharva also started giving public performances without following the compulsion of any music gharana. During this period he married Bhanumati Kans who was also in Deodhar School of Music and later one of his disciples.

As Kumar Gandharva was about to settle down in his singing career, tragedy struck him in 1947 when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Since he was asked to shift to a dry place, he chose Dewas in Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh for staying during his illness. It is not known as to why he chose Dewas when he could have shifted to one of the nearby dry places like Talegaon near Pune or Panchgani near Mahabaleshwar where there were formal sanatoriums for T.B. patients. In one of his interviews, Pandit Kumar Gandharva has not given any specific reason for choosing Dewas but he said that he had visited Dewas many times to meet his friends and liked the place. Later in his life, Dewas became his permanent home.

After about 5 years of virtual ‘house arrest’ during which he was almost bed-ridden with hardly any audible voice, he recovered from his illness more due to his sheer will power and alsodue to the care taken by his wife Bhanumati than to the medicine. In some places, it is said that one of his affected lung was surgically removed to prevent the spread of the infection to other parts of the lung, the claim which was denied by the Pandit Kumar Gandharva himself. But the fact remained that his lungs became so weak that doctors had ruled out the possibility of his resumption of singing. It was only after his wound was completely cured that the doctor gave him permission to resume singing. It is stated by a couple of close friends of Pandit Kumar Gandharva that once again, it was his wife Bhanumati’s dedication and perseverance which brought his voice back. She even gave up her singing career to concentrate on reviving his singing prowess. After recovery from his illness, he participated in his first concert in December 1953 for which he received a long applause from the audience.

When his personal and profession career was moving in a smooth manner, another tragedy struck him in 1961 when his wife Bhanumati died during the delivery of their second child. Bhanumati was a source of strength and inspiration to him. Her untimely death was a double whammy for him as apart from his delicate health, he was also required to devote time to look after his young children. It was during this critical period that Vasundara Shrikhande, one of his disciples decided to marry him to become Vasundara Komkalimath. In her interview, she said that even though they were married, their relationship continued to be first that of teacher-disciple then the husband-wife. It is also said that she took good care of her step son and daughter and also accompanied her husband on concerts as a caretaker than an accompanist singer.

During his confinement in Dewas for about 5-years, he got opportunity of learning about the folk music of Malwa region. Many music analysts believe that his later concerts of Hindustani classical music depicted the musical patterns influenced by the folk music of Malwa region. During 1960-70s, he recorded devotional songs in his own characteristic style which became very popular and are still popular. He also recorded some of the songs of Marathi theatres and also the poems of some eminent Marathi poets. I am aware of two of his Marathi theatre songs uthi uthi Gopala and runanubandhachya . The first song is a ‘wake-up call’ for Bal Krishna sung solo by him while the latter song is a duet with Vani Jayaram. Both songs composed by Vasant Desai became very popular and are still popular.

Post recovery, his rendition style had changed drastically into an unorthodox one for a classical singer due to his weak lungs, limiting his tonal range. One can find in any of his recording, be it a bhajan, khayal, tumri, tappa or taranas, his unique style of short burst of singing in high pitch followed by a low voice or silence for few seconds. Over a period of time, this unique style of rendition became his trade mark.

However, his unorthodox style of singing without confining himself to any gharana style came into criticism from the some of the orthodox Hindustani classical vocalist including his own guru Professor B R Deodhar. But he remained unperturbed. This could be one of the reasons that despite his innovativeness in Hindustani classical singing, he could never reach the height in his singing career to the same scale as some of his contemporaries like Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and Pandit Mallikarjun Mansoor. In 1990, he was conferred Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India. He was also the recipient of Sahitya Akademi Award amongst many other awards.

It is a well known fact that as one grows old, the lungs become weak. Not in the best of health with already weak lungs, Pandit Kumar Gandharva, in his later part of the concerts found it difficult to sing continuously. He was assisted by his wife Vasundara and daughter Kalapini in singing whenever he felt pressure on his voice. He left for heavenly abode in Dewas on January 12, 1992, two months after his last concert at the National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai.

[ Note : On the biography of Pandit Kumar Gandharva, I have taken recourse to Film Division’s documentary, audio clips of his interviews in Marathi and some basic information from Wikipedia.]

When somebody asked Pandit Kumar Gandharva about death, he said ‘what is there to talk about death? That is not our world’.

I have chosen for discussion a Kabir bhajan ( rather I should call it a Sufi bhajan) which, more or less, reinforces this view. The bhajan is ‘ud jaayega hans akela’ (C.1970). I have given a rough English translation, more like a transliteration, without much going into interpretations. Almost all bhajans and folk songs sung by Pandit Kumar Gandharva were composed by him. So I take it that this bhajan was also composed by him.

As I said earlier, Pandit Kumar Gandharva’s rendition style was unique and it is reflected in this bhajan also. The music experts say that this bhajan is interwoven in classical ragas with the folk music pattern of Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh. I notice that the second doha of the bhajan has been repeated while singing. Whether it was to emphasize that doha or just to accommodate the extra space (probably in EP) is anybody’s guess. It is said that in one of his concerts, he sang this bhajan for an hour, rendering it in different musical pattern. I will not be surprised if the audience went into a trance. As it is, I found it difficult to leave half way listening to this bhajan.

This philosophical bhajan of Mahatma Kabir has been made divine by a great voice of Pandit Kumar Gandharva. This bhajan is also a reminder to all of us as to how small we are in this world.

Audio link :

Song-Ud jaayega hans akela (Pt Kumar Gandharva NFS)(1970) Singer-Kumar Gandharv, Lyrics-Kabir, MD-Kumar Gandharv

Lyrics

aa aa aaa
aa aa aaa
ud jaayegaa
ud jaayegaa
ud jaayegaa
hans akelaa
ud jaayegaa
hans akelaa
jag darshan kaa melaa
jag darshan kaa melaa
ud jaayegaa
ud jaayegaa
hans akelaa
ud jaayegaa
aaa
ud jaayegaa
hans akelaa
jag darshan kaa melaa
jag darshan kaa melaa

jaise paat gire taruvar ke
jaise paat gire taruvar ke
milna bahut duhela aa
milna bahut duhela aa
naa jaanoon kidhar giregaa
naa jaanoon kidhar giregaa
le gaya pawan kaa relaa
ud jaayegaa
ud jaayegaa aa
ud jaayegaa
hans akelaa
ud jaayegaa
aa aa aa
aa aa aaa
aa aa
aa aa aaa
aa aa
aa aa aa
ud jaayegaa
hans akelaa
jag darshan kaa melaa
jag darshan kaa melaa

jaise paat gire taruvar ke
jaise paat gire taruvar ke
milna bahut duhela aa
milna bahut duhela aa
naa jaanoon kidhar giregaa
naa jaanoon kidhar giregaa
le gaya pawan ka relaa
ud jaayegaa
ud jaayegaa
hans akelaa
hans akelaa
jag darshan ka melaa
jag darshan ka melaa

jab howe umar poori
umar poori ee
jab howe umar poori
jab chhootega hukum huzoori
jab chhootega hukum huzoori
jam ke doot bade majboot
jam ke doot bade majboot
jam se pada jhamelaa
ud jaayegaa
ud jaayegaa
hans akelaa
hans akelaa
jag darshan kaa melaa
jag darshan kaa melaa

das Kabir har ke
das Kabir har ke gun gaawe
gaaawe
das Kabir har ke gun gaawe
waah har ko paaran paawe
waah har ko paaran paawe
guru ki karni guru jaayegaa
guru ki karni guru jaayegaa
chele ki karni chelaa aa
ud jaayegaa
ud jaayegaa
aa aa aa
aa aa aa aa
ud jaayegaa
hans akelaa
ud jaayegaa
hans akelaa
jag darshan kaa melaa
jag darshan kaa melaa
ud jaayegaa aa

———————————-
English translation
———————————-
ud jaayega hans akelaa
jag darshan kaa melaa

The swan will fly away alone
The world is a mere carnival of the spectacle.

[Kabir has used the word ‘hans’ also in his another doha. I think, he used the word ‘hans’ to mean a ‘soul’. Here the context is that after death while body remains, soul goes alone. Another interpretation could be that we all take birth to have a ‘darshan’ of this world after which the ‘soul’ goes alone]

jaise paat gire taruvar ke milna bahut duhelaa
na jaanu kidhar girega le gaya pawan ka relaa

It is difficult for a fallen leaf to rejoin the tree
Who knows where it will fall or where it will be caught in the gusty wind.

jab howe umar poori jab chootega hukum huzoori
jum ke doot bade majboot jum se pada jhamelaa

When the life span is complete, the orders comes. Yama’s mighty messengers come and one will get entangled with Yama.

das Kabir har ke gun gaawe wah har ko paran paawe
guru ki karni guru jaayega chele ki karni chela

Kabirdas sings in praise of the Lord and will find Him
Teacher will go according to his deeds so the disciple according to his.

15 Responses to "Ud jaayegaa hans akela"

this is simply Great, Sir !!! that is what I can say now about the article… i have yet to listen this today’s song, which will be possible for me in night, and i am sure after that i will be short of words to express the feelings. And both the Marathi songs as mentioned are my personal favorites and i remember them since my childhood, they use to be frequently played on loud speakers in those days (now we enjoy them on CDs). The joy of listening these gems can not be expressed in words, they are ‘divine’ .
Thanks !!

Like

I am happy that you liked this bhajan as well as two of his Marathi songs referred to in the article.

Like

Superb, both the song and the write-up on Kumarji. Thank you very much, Sadanandji.

Like

Thanks for your appreciation.

Like

It is a great pleasure to listen to such a rendition, by a great vocalist, for the first time , in my case, and than read the details of the personality. I had heard the name of Kumar Gandharva and now heard him singing, for the first time, consciously. I was curious about him, had asked a friend about him too some time back.

Thanks,

Like

Glad to know that you were curious about Kumar Gandharva.

Like

If you like to know about him….a great documentary by Shabnam Virmani

http://www.cultureunplugged.com/play/2833#videoDetail

Like

Thanks for the link.
In the article, I have referred to the Films Division’s documentary on Kumar Gandharva which is the same as in the link you have given.

Like

Sorry for a mix up. I was referring to the Films Division’s documentary on Kumar Gnadharva titled ‘Hans Akela’, directed by Dr. Jabbar Patel. Shabnam Virmani’s documentary is titled ‘Koi Sunta Hai’

Like

I forgot to give the link to the Films Division’s documentary I referred to in my Note in the article. Here it is :

Like

Dewas is just 30 km from Indore which is 500 metres MSL which is same as Pune. It is as salubrious and bracing a climate as Pune. Winters are at times even 4 deg C. Although it tends to get hot in the summer which also happens in Pune. Both are equally dry with low humidity. Further the very sparse population must have tilted the scales in favour of Dewas which has a beautiful hillock.

Like

Apart from what you have mentioned, I came to know later that his spiritual guru was from Dewas.

Like

Sadanandji namaskar.
I liked your write up and the song.
I have heard Kumar Gandharv earlier and also this Bhajan. Soul awakening spiritual rendition.
But many of the information in your article were new to me.Thanks once again for the details on the Gandharvas, Kumar Gandharv’s life and his music.

Like

Nice post, thank you Kamath ji. IMHO a small correction is required, I suppose Bal Gandharva was was praised as such by Lokmanya Tilak as then he was only 10-12 years old & hence Bal. Moreover Sawai means better in Marathi.

Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

What is this blog all about

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

This is a labour of love, where “new” songs are added every day, and that has been the case for over TWELVE years. This blog has over 16200 song posts by now.

This blog is active and online for over 4000 days since its beginning on 19 july 2008.

Important Announcement

(© 2008 - 2021) atulsongaday.me The content of this site is copyrighted and it may not be reproduced elsewhere without prior consent from the site/ author of the content.

Total number of songs posts discussed

16237

Number of movies covered in the blog

Movies with all their songs covered =1252
Total Number of movies covered =4410

Total visits so far

  • 14,224,873 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,934 other followers

Bookmark

Bookmark and Share

Category of songs

Current Visitors

Historical dates

Blog Start date: 19 july 2008

Active for more than 4000 days.

Archives

Stumble

visitors whereabouts

blogadda

blogcatalog

Music Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory
%d bloggers like this: