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

Gham e zindagi ka yaa rab na mila koi kinaara

Posted on: December 22, 2018

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 other sites without the knowledge and consent of the web administrator of, then it is piracy of the copyright content of and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

Blog Day : 3809 Post No. : 14805

I am presenting a non-filmi ghazal recorded sometime in the early 1940s which I had heard a few years back. But after a long gap, this ghazal resurfaced when I was looking for information on the music director Chitta Roy in the context of one of the songs, aayi jawaani aayi aayi composed by him. The ghazal is ‘gham-e-zindagi kaa yaa rab na milaa koi kinaaraa’ (1940) sung by Talat Mehmood. Chitta Roy composed the music for this ghazal. The shaayar of this ghazal has been mentioned as I A Minai or Idris A Minai, a name I heard for the first time.

Despite searching extensively on the internet, I could not get even the basic information about Idris A Minai. A Google search on him gave information mostly about Ameer Minai, a well-known classical Urdu poet of the 19th century whom the current generation of fans of ghazals identify with his popular ghazals like ‘sarakati jaaye re rukh se naqaab aahista aahsta’ and ‘jab se bulbul tu ne do tinke liye’. There was, however, one name ‘Khalid Minai’ which appeared on a Google search as a Facebook page. A surprise was in store for me when I opened the page. Khalid Minai was none other than Idris A Minai who had adopted ‘Khalid’ as his nom de plume. The Facebook page, started by his son on the occasion of his 100th birth anniversary has a detailed biography of Idris A Minai. I have majorly edited his biography from the Facebook page – Khalid Minai, to make it concise. The edited version follows as under:

Idris Ahmad ‘Khalid’ Minai (29/08/1916 – 08/02/2008) was the grandson of the great Urdu poet and scholar, Ameer Minai (1827 – 1900) and the son of Mohammad Ahmad Minai and Raees Fatima. He was born in the “Purani Khandsar” quarter of the State of Rampur, (now in Uttar Pradesh) where both Ameer Minai and his son Mohammad Ahmad Minai served as high officials of the State of Rampur. The family who had settled in Rampur since 1858, moved to Hyderabad (India) in 1937 shortly after the death of his father, Mohammad Ahmad Minai.

Idris Minai completed his BA from Allahabad University in 1937, and MA in Economics from Osmania University, Hyderabad, in 1940. After a stint as a journalist for the paper “Payaam”, edited by Qazi Abdul Ghaffar, Idris Minai joined the Hyderabad State Bank (now State Bank of Hyderabad) in 1941, serving as the branch chief in Aurangabad (now in Maharashtra).

After Partition, Idris Minai was the first of the seven Minai brothers to move to Pakistan in 1948. After working in the State Bank of Pakistan for 2 years, he moved to the then newly formed National Bank of Pakistan – Pakistan’s first official commercial bank. Over the next twenty years, he served the bank in various capacities – both in West and the then East Pakistan (now Bangla Desh). He retired from the National Bank of Pakistan as Deputy Managing Director in 1971.

Literature and poetry were a major part of the environment in which Idris Minai grew up. His grandfather, Ameer Minai, was regarded as one of the major poets in the history of Urdu literature, and had succeeded the great poet, Ghalib, as the poetic mentor of the Nawab of Rampur. His father, Mohammad Ahmad Minai, was also a prolific poet, though he gave up the pursuit later in life. It was, therefore, natural for him to express himself in poetry, and, following the common practice, he chose a nom de plume, ‘Khalid’ (meaning, ‘eternal’).

Most of his poetic training occurred informally through interaction with his peers and elders which included Jaleel Manakpuri, the famous Urdu poet and the student of Ameer Minai, Fani Badayuni, Jigar Muradabadi, Hasrat Mohani, Hairat Badayuni, and Qazi Abdul Ghaffar, who gave him his first job. He developed close personal friendships with poets such as Sikandar Ali Vajd, Mahirul Qadri, Saeed Shaheedi, and several others. A notable influence for him was his eldest brother, Ismail Ahmad “Tasneem” Minai, who was himself a distinguished poet and writer. He was also influenced by Allama Iqbal for his universal vision which went beyond the classical poetry.

One of Idris Minai’s early works is an ode on the River Ganga which he wrote based on his experience while he was staying in Allahabad for his graduation. A collection of Idris Minai’s works is in the preparatory stage. In addition to poetry, he also wrote Urdu prose pieces in a language that recalled Oscar Wilde in its stylish beauty

Throughout his active life, Idris Minai participated in literary activities, beginning with mushairas in Allahabad, Hyderabad, Bombay (Mumbai), and elsewhere. After moving to Pakistan, the Minai siblings organised regular poetic events in Karachi and Lahore featuring the leading poets of the time.

Idris Ahmad ‘Khalid’ Minai breathed his last on February 8, 2008 in Karachi.

The ghazal under discussion has two versions. Talat Mehmood sang the original version in 1940 as per the uploader of the video. I could not get information on the internet as to when the original record was released. If the uploader is correct, then this ghazal precedes Talat Mehmood’s first recorded song sab din ek samaan nahin thha (1941). Talat Mehmood re-recorded this ghazal in almost identical orchestration sometime in 1960. I have given videos of both the versions for comparison purpose. My preference is the original version because Talat Mehmood voice was fresh without much of quiver as against the 1960 version.

Audio Clip :

(Original recorded in 1940)
Audio Clip :
(Re-recorded in 1960)
Song-Gham e zindagi ka ya rab na milaa koi kinaara (Talat Mehmood NFS)(1940) Singer-Talat Mehmood, Lyrics-Idrees A Minai, MD-Chitta Roy

Lyrics (based on Original recording)

gham-e-zindagi kaa yaa rab
na milaa koi kinaaraa
gham-e-zindagi kaa yaa rab
na milaa koi kinaaraa
meri fikr-e-bekaraan ne
do jahaan ko chhaan maaraa
meri fikr-e-bekaraan ne

meri aarzoo ko bakhshi
teri har nazar ne rafat
meri aarzoo ko bakhshi
teri har nazar ne rafat
usse bekaraan karegaa
mere shauq kaa sharaaraa
usse bekaraan karegaa

main kabhi ravaan davaan thhaa
kahin dasht-e-bekhudi mein
kisi door ki sadaa ne
mujhe pyaar se pukaaraa
kisi door ki sadaa ne

meraa zarf ye ki lekar
gham-e-bekaraan main chup hoon
meraa zarf ye ki lekar
gham-e-bekaraan main chup hoon
na sukhan se raaz paidaa
na jabeen se aashkaaraa
gham-e-zindagi kaa yaa rab
na milaa koi kinaaraa
gham-e-zindagi ee ee ee ee eee

Meaning of some Urdu words

Yaa rab= Oh God

Fikr-e-bekaraan= Limitless anxiety

Rafat= Elevation

Shararaa= Spark, Flash

Ravaan= Moving

Davaan= Running

Dasht-e-bekhudi= Wilderness of intoxication

Sadaa= Call

Zarf= Capability

Sukhan= Words, News

Jabeen= Forehead

Aashkaaraa= Clear, Visible

2 Responses to "Gham e zindagi ka yaa rab na mila koi kinaara"

Excellent research work, Sadanandji.


Pratap ji,
Thanks for your appreciation.


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