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

Chupke chupke raat din aansoo bahaana yaad hai

Posted on: May 13, 2015

This article is written by Sadanand Kamath, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a contributor to this blog. This article is meant to be posted in If this article appears in sites like and etc then it is piracy of the copyright content of and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

He was a freedom fighter, a revolutionary, a journalist, a parliamentarian and a poet. He was associated with Indian National Congress, Communist Party of India and later Indian Muslim League. Bal Gangadhar Tilak was his mentor. He was the man behind coining the slogan ‘Inquilab Zindabad’. He was a member of Constituent Assembly for drafting the constitution of independent India. He was a devoutly muslim who made his annual pilgrimage to Mecca. But he also made it a point to visit Mathura on Krishna Janmashtmi day. He described himself as:

darwesh o inquilab maslak hai mera
Sufi Momin hoon and ishtiraaki muslim

(I have chosen a path of asceticism and revolution. I am a Sufi Momin and a socialist Muslim).

He was Maulana Hasrat Mohani.

I first became aware of Hasrat Mohani’s name as a poet in early 80s when one of his ghazals ‘chupke chupke raat din aansoo bahaana yaad hai’ sung by Ghulam Ali became a rage not only among the ghazal lovers but public at large. This ghazal was later used in the Hindi film ‘Nikaah’ (1982). This ghazal established Ghulam Ali as one of the most versatile ghazal singers in the Indian sub-continent. His fame as a ghazal singer had spread across continents. Later this ghazal with the same tune has also been sung by singers like Asha Bhonsle and Hans Raj Hans. It still remains one of the popular ghazals sung by Ghulam Ali. But I am not sure whether a majority of listeners would have known about the poet behind this popular ghazal as it often happens with other poets and lyricists.

Hasrat Mohani (1875-13/05/1951) was born as Syed Fazl-ul-Hasan in Mohan, a small town in Unnao district of present day Uttar Pradesh in a family of small zamindar (landlord). After completion of his matriculation from Fatehpur, he joined Aligarh Muslim University for graduation. It was in his Aligarh days that he was drawn towards the nationalist movements. He had been writing poems from his school days but this hobby got a fillip in Aligarh.

After completing his B.A., Hasrat Mohani preferred to earn his living by editing and publishing a Urdu magazine ‘Urdu-e-Maulla’ rather than relying on the income from his ancestral properties. This vocation gave him the opportunity to take part in the ongoing nationalist movements. He wrote articles in support of ‘sampoorn swarajya’ (complete freedom) from British rule and gave prominence the views expressed by hardliners like Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Aurobindo Ghosh. He was arrested in 1908 for publishing an article in the magazine written by an anonymous writer against the British Government’s policies in Egypt and was awarded a rigourous imprisonment of 2 years. This was the beginning of his jail journeys which he underwent on several occasions for writing and making inflammatory speeches against the British rule in India. Most of his poems were written during his trials and imprisonments.

One of Hasrat’s cherished dreams was to convince the political parties of that time namely Indian National Congress, Muslim League and Communist Party to pass a resolution demanding complete freedom from British rule. However, his attempts failed as the soft liners in these parties were not prepared to take the British Government head on at that time. So he had always at loggerheads with the top leaders of these parties like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohammed Ali Jinna. In 1945, Hasrat was elected as an Indian Muslim League member of Legislative Assembly of United Province (now Uttar Pradesh). By virtue of being a MLA, he was elected as a member of the Constituent Assembly to draft the constitution of Independent India. He was the sole member of Constituent Assembly who did not sign the draft constitution of India as he felt that the Constitution should be adopted by the democratically elected members of parliament of independent India and not by the members of Constituent Assembly who had been communally divided polity under the British Rule. It is also said that he was not happy with the provisions in the Constitution for safeguarding the interest of the minority communities especially Muslims.

One of the pioneering works Hasrat did after his graduation was to prepare and publish a series of books containing the selected ghazals written by lesser known Urdu poets of 18th and 19th centuries. Apart from this work, he also published ‘Sharh-e-Deewan-e-Ghalib’ giving his interpretations of select ghazals of Mirza Ghalib. The collection of his ghazals numbering about 700 was published in ‘Kulliyat-e-Hasrat Mohani’. He had undertaken to translate most of his ghazals in English but could not complete the work due to his frequent imprisonments.

Hasrat Mohani was a maverick in his poetry writing. He wrote and published poems expressing his love for Lord Krishna. He probably started writing such poems during 1923 when he was in Yerwada Jail in Pune. He often visited Mathura on the day of Krishna Janmashtmi (birth day of Lord Krishna). He initially wrote such verses in Urdu but later switched over to local dialect (probably Awadhi, his native dialect). In his first Krishna poem that he wrote in Yerwada Jail, Pune, he seems to be expressing his regret at his inability to visit Mathura on Janmashtmi day (note the last she’r) :

aankhon mein noor-e-jalwaa-e bekaif-o-kam hai khaas
jab se nazar pe unki nigaah-e-karam hai khaas

kuchch ham ko bhi aata ho ki ae hazrat-e-Krishan
iqlim-e-ishq aap ke zar-e-kadam hai khaas

‘Hasrat’ ki bhi qubooli ho Mathura mein haaziri
sunte hain aashiqon pe tumhaara karam hai khaas

[My eyes lit up with a nameless unending vision
When He cast at me a special glance of kindness

O revered Krishna, bestow something on me too
For, under your feet lies the entire realm of love

May you accept the presence of ‘Hasrat’ too at Mathura
For, I have heard you are especially kind to lovers (devotees)].

Hasrat also wrote passionate poems about Mecca, Madina and Hazrat Sayyad Abdur Razzaq Bansawi, his spiritual mentor.

True to his words, Hasrat Mohani lived a life of a darwesh (ascetic). It was an irony of fate that while he was grinding daily one maund (37.5 kgs) of corn in jail as part of serving rigorous imprisonment terms, his wife had to grind wheat at home for earning a living. Being an educated lady, his wife took upon the additional responsibility of editing and publishing an monthly Urdu magazine started by Hasrat Mohani. As a member of Constituent Assembly, he was entitled to stay in hotel and travel in first class by train. However, he always travelled in third class compartment and stayed in either rented houses or in mosques during the sessions without charging these expenses to the exchequer. When some of his fellow members asked him as to why he was travelling in third class, his reply was ‘because there is no fourth class compartments in trains’. Actually his fellow members were worried about his safety due to the communally charged atmosphere after the partition.

Mualana Hasrat Mohani breathed his last on May 13, 1951 in Lucknow after a short illness. He left behind his only daughter Naeema Mohani who had migrated to Karachi.

[With inputs from (i) (ii) a research article ‘The Maulana Who Loved Krishna’ by Professor C M Naim published in ‘Economic & Political Weekly’, 27/04/2013 and (iii) T V Serial ‘Kahakashan’ (1992) produced by Ali Sardar Jafery].

On the occasion of the 64th death anniversary of Maulana Hasrat Mohani, I have chosen one of his most popular ghazals ‘chupke chupke raat din aansoo bahaana yaad hai’. But the ghazal I have selected is not the one rendered by Ghulam Ali but the one composed and sung by Jagjit Singh which is not as popular as that of Ghulam Ali version. The reason for my selection is that in my view, the pathos in the ghazal have been well captured in a song sequence picturised on Farooque Shaikh (in the role of Hasrat Mohani) and Dipti Naval (in the role of his beloved and later his wife) as a background song in the TV serial ‘Kahakashan’ (1992). And I have always enjoyed watching Farooque Shaikh and Dipti Naval combination in the films.

The full ghazal has 17 she’rs of which only 4 she’rs have been selected for the version in TV Serial ‘Kahakashan’ (1992).It is interesting to note that in this ghazal all the 17 she’rs have the same theme of remembrance of the poet with his beloved during their courtship days. In a classical ghazal, each she’r is independent of others and there is no common theme.

Video Clip from Kahkashan :


Song-Chupke chupke raat din aansoo bahaana yaad hai (Jagjit Singh NFS)(1982) Singer-Jagjit Singh, Lyrics-Maulana Hasrat Mohani, MD-Jagjit Singh


chupke chupke raat din aansoo bahaana yaad hai
chupke chupke raat din aansoo bahaana yaad hai
hamko ab tak aashiqui kaa wo zamaana yaad hai

tujhse kuchh milte hi wo bebaak ho jaana meraa
aur tera daanton mein wo ungli dabaana yaad hai

kheench lena wo mera parde kaa kona daf-e-tan
aur dupatte se tera wo munh chhupaana yaad hai

dopahar ki dhoop mein mere bulaane ke liye
wo teraa kothe pe nange paanv aana yaad hai

chupke chupke raat din aansoo bahaana yaad hai
hamko ab tak aashiqui kaa wo zamaana yaad hai

3 Responses to "Chupke chupke raat din aansoo bahaana yaad hai"

Simply brilliant. I love this version as well. It is sad and sweet.


Unnao is between Kanpur and Lucknow.
Jagjit Singh>>
Aaj (1990)
Prem Geet (1981)
Arth (1983)
Kanoon Ki Awaaz (1989)
Mirza Ghalib (TV Series) (1988)
The Unforgettables (1976)
Rare Moments (1999)
Ae Mere Dil (1983)
Khudai (1994)
Cry For Cry (1995)
Desires (1989)
Marasim (1999)
Billoo Badshah (1989)
Rare Gems
Live With Jagjit Singh (1993)
Ecstasies (1984)
Live At Royal Albert Hall (1983)
Encore (1989)
Aashiana (1986)
Live At Royal Albert Hall (1983)
Best of Sajda
Tera Bayaan Ghalib (2012)
Hey Govind Hey Gopal (2012)
Awaaz (2007)
The Master & His Magic (2012)
Live In Sydney (Album) (2006)


Sir Sadanand ji,
What a brilliant post!
But then surely I am exhibiting my bias, being a Lucknowite.
Kudos to you for highlighting the various facets of multi-talented Maulana Hasrat Mohani, truly a secular being and a patriot in the real sense but today not many may be knowing about his virtues other than poetry.
Those interested in the Devnagari script of this extremely popular ghazal may type the following link in their browser :
Thanks a lot for paying obeisance to him on his death anniversary.
Warm regards,
Avadh Lal


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