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Friday, 29 August 2008

इतना तो ज़िंदगी में.....

किस्मत हमारी गेसू-ए-जाना से कम नहीं, जितना सँवारतें गये उतनी ही बल पड़े।

इतना तो ज़िंदगी में किसी की खलल पड़े हंसने से हो सुकून ना रोने से कल पड़े ।

एक के तुम को फ़िक्र-ए-नशेब-फ़राज़ है, एक हम के चल पड़े तो बहरहाल चल पड़े।

मुद्दत क बाद उस ने जो की लुत्फ़ की निगाह, जी खुश तो हो गया मगर आँसू निकल पड़े।

साकी सभी को है गम-ए-तश्नलाबी मगर, मय है उसी क नाम के जिसकी उबल पड़े।

--- कैफ़ी आजमी

[ गेसू-ए-जाना = Hair locks of beloved, खलल = disturbance, फ़िक्र-ए-नशेब-फ़राज़ = botheration of lows and highs, बहरहाल = without reason, गम-ए-तश्नलाबी = sorrow of thirst, मय = wine]

Thursday, 21 August 2008

O Lal Meri

In last couple of weeks, attribute it to my solitude in Mumbai, I have become addicted. The addiction is of Sufi music. But this addiction is parochial, limited to few songs. And one song which I like the most is in paean of a dervish. The more I listen the more addicted I become .It is intoxicating. More than the music, it’s the rendition and the context in which the song is sung that makes it transcending. Listening to the maestros like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sabri brother, Abida and Aziz mian, put you in trance. Each one of them exhilarating, singing the same song yet very differently. You can see the communion between the Singer and the master. This song is written to eulogies Lal Shahbaaz Qalander, the famous Sufi saint of 12th century AD. Lal Shahbaaz Qalandar is also known as Jhulelal .

Who was Pir Lal Shahbaaz Qalander?
Pir (Saint) Lal Shahbaaz Qalandar was born as Syed Muhammad Usman in 1177 Marwand, Iran. His Father Syed Ibrahim Kabiruudin was a dervish and his mother had a royal lineage. From a very young age boy Usman showed a deep religious inclination. He became a Hafiz (One who has memorized The Holy Koran) by age of seven. He got himself initiated into Qalandria sect of Sufism. ‘Qalandar’ are Sufi who live in indigence and are peripatetic. As a Qalandar he roamed throughout Middle East and came to Sindh.
He befriended three other Sufi saints and henceforth the quartet is known as ‘Chaar Yaar’ (four friends). They became the pioneers of 13th century Sufi movement. The other three friends were Baba Farid Shakar Ganj of Pakpattan [1174-1266] (popularly known as Baba Farid); Jalaluddin Bukhari of Uch- Bahawalpur [1196-1294] and Bahauddin Zakaria of Multan [1170-1267].
He reached Sehwan the seat of learning and culture in Sindh. Sehwan is one of the oldest cities in Sindh. During the reign of Guptas, Sehwan was the capital of a Buddhist ruler who was brother of Chandragupta II (also Known as Vikrmaditya), the third of the Gupta dynasty in the 4th century AD.

As per the folklore, the fakirs in Sehwan sent him a bowl of milk filled to the brim indicating that there was no room for anything more. But surprisingly, he returned the bowl with a beautiful flower floating on the top. This legend spread far and wide by the time of his death in 1274, after living a good span for 97 years. In Sehwan he lived at the outskirt of city inside a tree trunk for 6 years. He disseminated his teachings and preached religious tolerance between Hindus and Muslims.
He was called ‘Lal’ (red) because of his red attire, ‘Shahbaaz’ due to his noble and divine spirit that soared like a falcon higher and higher in the boundless heavens. Also it is said that he saved his friend Farid Shakar Ganj from the gallows by becoming a falcon. ‘Qalandar’ since he belonged to Qalandria order of Sufism and was saintly, exalted and intoxicated with love for eternal being of God.
The Hindus regarded him as the incarnation of Bhartihari, the saintly brother of King Vikramaditya (Whether this Vikrmaditya was same as Chandragupta II, I am not clear), who is believed to have worshipped Shiva at the venue where Lal Shahbaz's shrine is situated with.
Millions of devotees visit his ‘Urs’ (death anniversary) every year to pay their obeisance. It falls on the 18th day of
Sha’ban. During the three day feast Sehwan springs to life and becomes the center of pilgrims from all over Pakistan. A devotional dance known as ‘Dhamal’ is a special ritual that is performed at the rhythmic beat of the Drum, Bells, gongs, cymbals and horns make a thunderous din, and the dervishes, clad in long robes, beads, bracelets and colored head-bands whirl faster and faster in a hypnotic trance, until with a final deafening scream they run wildly through the doors of the shrine to the courtyard beyond.

(Shewan Sharif)
The song which I am enchanted with is a Dhamaal which is sung in praise of the saint. The language is Sindhi but the message is universal. It goes as:

O laal meri, pat rakhio bala jhoole laalan, Sindri da Sehvan da, sakhi Shabaaz kalandar, Dama dam mast kalandar, Ali dam dam de andar

(O red Robed,Jhulelal,The sire of Sehwan in Sindh,My friend Shahbaaz Qalandar,You are in my every breath,And every breath is as strong as Ali,Please have your benign protection on me.)

Chaar charaag tere baran hamesha, Panjwa mein baaran aayi bala jhoole laalan
Sindri da Sehvan da, sakhi Shabaaz Qalandar, Dama dam mast Qalandar, Ali dam dam de andar

(O sire of Sehwan in Sindh,Jhulelal,My friend Shahbaaz Qalandar,Your shrine is always lighted with four lamps, And here I come to light a fifth lampYou are in my every breath,And every breath is as strong as Ali,)

Sehwan sharif dian unchiya galiyan heth waghey daryao bala jhulelanSindri da sehvan da sakhi Shabaaz Qalandar, Dama dam mast QalandarAli dam dam de andar
(O sire of Sehwan in Sindh,Jhulelal,friend Shahbaaz QalandarYour abode Shewan sharif has lofty roads,And river flows beneath itYou are in my every breath,And every breath is as strong as Ali)

Ghanan ghanan peera teri naubat vaaje, Naal vaje ghadiyaal bala jhoole laalan,Sindri da Sehvan da sakhi Shabaaz Qalandar, Dama dam mast kalandar, ali dam dam de andar, Dama dam mast Qalandar
(O sire of Sehwan in Sindh,Jhulelal,My friend Shahbaaz Qalandar,Gongs & bells jingle your name, Let the gong ring loud for your glory day and nightYou are in my every breath,And every breath is as strong as Ali)

Har dam peera teri khair hove, Naam-e-ali beda paar laga jhoole laalan,Sindri da sehvan da sakhi Shabaaz Qalandar, Dama dam mast Qalandar, Ali dam dam de andar
(The sire of Sehwan in Sindh,Jhulelal,My friend Shahbaaz Qalandar, O Lord, may you prevail everytime, everywhere, In the name of Ali, I pray to you to help my boat cross (the river of life) in safetyYou are in my every breath,And every breath is as strong as Ali,)

In the song Lal Shahbaaz Qalandar is also referred as Jhulelal. When I did a Google search for Jhulelal I found that Jhulelal is the most prominent god of Sindhis. He too preached the religious tolerance between Hindu and Muslim and equally revered by both religion. He preceded Lal Shahbaaz Qalandar. Why Lal Shahbaaz Qalandar is called Jhulelal I could not find out but I know Why Jhulelal was called Jhulelal.

Story of Lord Jhulelal
Sai (Lord) Jhulelal is the Isht dev (Community God) of Sindhis and is considered as incarnation of Water God Varun. He is depicted as an old man with white beard riding on Pallo fish.

Lord Jhulelal took incarnation in 2nd half of 10th century in Nassarpur near Tatta, Sindh as Uderolal to protect the Hindus from tyrant Muslim ruler Mirkshah and to teach the religious tolerance between two communities.

Not only he saved Sindhis from the hand of Mirkshah but also made Mirkshah his believer.
According to Legend, cradle in which baby Uderolal lied swung automatically hence the name Jhulelal where jhulan means cradle and lal means baby. He was also called Daryashah as he was considered an incarnation of water god. Darya, in Sindhi, means river.
Uderolal started Daryahi panth (Sect). Uderolal wanted to bind the people of the land, both Hindus and Muslims, into a bond of unity and spiritual harmony. He wanted to impress upon his followers the truth that all paths ultimately lead to one destination i.e. oneness of the God and oneness of the devotees
At age of thirteen years Uderolal realized that the purpose for which he had come to the earth was over. He decided to go back to heaven and his soul left his body. His followers took over his body and quarrel started over his cremation. The Muslim followers under the instructions of Mirkhshah wanted to build a “Turbat" and Quba" (a tomb) according to the dictates of Islam. The Hindus resented this stand. They wanted to build a Samadhi according to the Hindu customs. While the debate was going on, heavy rain started pouring in. There came a voice from heavens;
" Behold, make my shrine acceptable to both, Hindus and Muslims; let its one part be like a temple and the other part be like a Dargah (shrine). I belong to all of you".
And so it was. Daryahi Panth worshipping and following of Uderolal predominated the way of life in Sindh for more than 100 years.

Sai Jhulelal and Pir Lal Shabaaz Qalandar
100 years after Jhulelal came another saint and settled in Sehwan in Sindh. He was Lal Shahbaaz Qalandar. He brought with him another philosophy- Sufism which was akin to Daryahi Panth in as much as it also emphasized on brotherhood of mankind. It differed from Daryahi Panth in that it believed in a formless God, who was omnipresent but seen by no one. Probably because of similarity in teachings of Uderolal and Lal Shahbaaz Qalandar he is referred as Jhulelal.
For complete story of Lord Jhule lal please follow the link