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

Chaah nahin main surbaala ke

Posted on: August 15, 2016

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Talking about Independence day from the comforts of our home six decades after we received it is one thing. Even daring to talk about independence when the country was under British Rule was considered treason and such daring people were severely dealt with by the British at that time .

Here is a tale from the pre independence days to illustrate this point.

There was a political group in Central Province (now MP, Chattisgarh and Vidarbha) called “जिला राजनीति परिषद” (District Politics Council). Its second session was held at Bilaspur (now in Chattisgarh) in 1921.

The meeting was attended by eminent leaders of the society including famous Hindi litterateurs from the province, viz. Makhanlal Chaturvedi, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, her husband Thakur Lakshan Singh Chauhan etc, who were all based at Jabalpur and had arrived from there to attend the session.

Those were the days before electricity. Petromax, Autolux and Colemen Quick lux (all different brands of parrafin lamps) were used at night time for “better” illumination while domestic households would use the modest lantern.

The session was going on at night under the light of petromax and Makhanlal Chaturvedi was addressing the session when the petromax got extinguished. Just as the organisors got busy to arrange for illumination to be restored, Pt Makhanlal Chaturvedi remarked- “just like this light, the light of british empire would soon get extinguished in India.”. The remark was applauded by the participants.

A few moments later, when the light came back, Makhanlal Chaturvedi remarked-“Just like this illumination has come back, the illumination of Independence too will spread all over the nation.” The audience gave him a thunderous ovation.

The British rulers came to know of Makhanlal Chaturvedi’s statements and they took his words seriously. He was arrested and he was tried for sedition in Bilaspur court.

16 june 1921 and 20 june 1921 were the dates for this trial. About two thousands Indians, holding the tricolour and singing patriotic songs arrived at the court, defying prohibitive orders of the administration. Important dignitaries of the region, press reporters from several important newspapers etc had arrived to cover the case. The SP, Mr M Collins was warning the crowd of use of force if they did not restrain themselves.

Makhanlal Chaturvedi was brought to the court in a car escorted by DIG Mr White and an Indian officer. Subhadra Kumari Chauhan garlanded Makhanlal Chaturvedi.

Public prosecutor Mr Pezlie was indisposed so the next date of hearing was fixed on 25 june 1921.

In this case, listed as criminal case number 39, The magistrate Mr Parthi found Makhanlal Chaturvedi, son of Nandlal, resident of Jabalpur, aged 32 years -guilty of sedition under section 124 A. In his judgement, pronounced on 5 july 1921, he sentenced Makhanlal Chaturvedi to rigorous imprisonment of eight months.

The magistrate died a few days later and people opined that he had been punished by the divine forces for his misdeeds.

Makhanlal Chaturvedi was imprisoned in Bilaspur jail and he was identified as prisoner number 1527 there.

He was transferred to Jabalpur jail on 1 march 1922 where he spent the remainder of his sentence.

It was during his stay at Bilaspur jail that Makhanlal Chaturvedi wrote his poem “Pushp ki abhilaasha” in february 1922.

This episode was described in great detail by “Dainik Bhaskar” Bilaspur edition in 2015. I no longer have that paper with me, but I could locate a link online in Hindi that describes the same episode, though in less detail.

Today (15 august 2016), on the occasion of 70th independence day, let us salute Makhanlal Chaturvedi (4 april 1889-30 january 1968). On this occasion, here is a rendition of his immortal poem “Pushp ki abhilaasha”(wish of a flower). The song is sung as well as composed by Sujit Chaudhary.

Song-Chaah nahin main surbaala ke (Sujit Chaudhury NFS)(1996) Singer-Sujit Chaudhury, Lyrics-Makhanlal Chaturvedi, MD-Sujit Chaudhury


Chaah Nahin Main SurBaala Ke
Gehnon Mein Goontha Jaaoon
Chaah Nahin Premi Maala Mein
Pyaari Ko Lalchaaoon

Chaah Nahin Samraaton Ke
Shav Par
Hey Hari Daala Jaaoon
Chaah Nahin Devon Ke Sir Par
Bhaagya Par Ithhlaaoon

Mujhey Tod Lena Banmaali
Us Path mein dena Tum Phenk
Maatri Bhoomi Per Sheesh Chadhaaney,
Jis Path Jaayen Veer Anek
Jis Path Jaayen Veer Anek


7 Responses to "Chaah nahin main surbaala ke"

Wow! I didn’t know this background for this poem. That it was written while in prison, and how that prison sentence came about.

All I knew was that I had learnt this poem in school (maybe 5th std or 6th, not sure). What a beautiful poem it is! Never heard this version before – thanks for this, Atul!

Atul ji,

I knew this poem from my school days and I knew that it was written by Makhanlal Chaturedi. But I did not know the background under which the poem was written.

Thanks for giving us a detailed background.

Happy Independence to all …!!!
many thanks Atul ji for bringing this poem here and the details associated with. I have heard about this poem and have heard people quoting it in TV programmes or in articles in print.
very thoughtful of you to bring it here on the blog.
Our salute to Late Shri.Makhanlal Chaturvedi !!
Jai Hind !!!

As I said all Bangla singers are indistinguishable. All of them sound like Hemantda. Need to investigate; a subject matter for PG thesis.

Is it because all of them have a steady diet of rice, fish and charminar.

Atul ji,

What an emotional reminder. This poem was a real favourite, as a child in school, and especially on the Independence and Republic days. And again, as a small child, I had heard this from many a platform, during the 1965 Indo-Pak conflict and later.

These few lines were enough to bring tears to my eyes today.

Thanks so much


Reminder of school days and books. Heard it sometime back at a poetry recitation programme, and it all came back. It so is short like a Doha.

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