Vidya Shah

Vidya Shah
Discussing Faiz on RSTV

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Mohe Apne Hi Rang Mein

Spring is that time of the year in North India when the yellow of the mustard flower and the red of the gulmohar fill lives with a sense of fragrance, joy, and celebration. Spanning a little over a month, the season is dotted with big and small festivals. The biggest is Holi, the festival of colour. Music is very much a part of this celebration of spring.Celebrate the colors of spring with the beautiful poetry of Amir Khusro in my composition Mohe Apne Hi Rang Mein.
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Rahul Banerjee said...

the synthesis of hindu and muslim culture is at its best in the poetry of amir khusro. however due to global warming and climate change the spring this year has vanished and after a shiveringly cold winter we have summer on us now! so this soothing piece of music should help cool our seared hearts and bodies.

vidyashah said...

YOur so right about the synthesis of religions around Basant. In fact one of my favourite stories is about Basant at the Chishti Dargah

North India's spring festival, Basant Panchami, is celebrated by many Muslims, especially at the tombs of most Chishti saints. The legend goes that Delhi's Chishti Saint Nizamuddin Aulia once so grieved because of the passing away of his young nephew Taqiuddin Nooh, that he withdrew himself completely from the world for a couple of months, either locked inside his room or sitting near his nephew's grave. His close friend, disciple and famous court poet, Amir Khusro, could not bear with his pir's absence any longer, and started thinking of ways to brighten him up.

One day Khusro met a few women on the road who were dressed up beautifully, singing and carrying colourful flowers. He asked them what they were up to, and the women told him it is Basant Panchmi today. They were taking the offering of Basant to their god. Khusro found this very fascinating, and smiling he said, "Well, my god needs an offering of Basant too". Soon, he dressed himself up like those women, took some mustard flowers and singing the same songs, started walking towards the graveyard where his pir would be sitting alone. Nizamuddin Aulia noticed some women coming towards him - he could not recognize Khusro. On close inspection, he realized what was going on, and smiled. They had all been waiting for him to smile for two months. Amir Khusrau, other Sufis and disciples started singing Persian couplets in praise of spring, and symbolically the mustard flowers were offered to the grave of Nooh.

The impact of this incident was such that the celebration of Basant became an annual affair in the Khaneqah (monastery) of Nizamuddin Aulia, and subsequently in other centres of Chishti order all over the country.

Rahul Banerjee said...

what a lovely story. actually these were people who believed in the sanctity of human relations over commerce and money. communion with friends and relatives was equivalent to communion with God. when one loves and respects fellow human beings then one forgets one own self and that is what transcendence is all about.

vidyashah said...

Today is women's day -which actually brings me to another point in the context of what we are talking about; the way some of these poets interpreted spirituality. one simple reality of the Indian subcontinent: that, centuries before Dan Brown, the ‘sacred feminine’ existed in the Indian psyche, art and cultural expression in a beautiful weave. Values which are considered distinctly ‘female’ can be heard in the song and viewed in the art of simple and sincere voices across the subcontinent.

Rahul Banerjee said...

the respect for the feminine as opposed to the masculine has been an integral part of indian art it is true but it has tended to elide over the gruesome reality of gender based violence in real life. after all women in india across cultures, castes and classes have been terribly oppressed throughout history and continue to be so today. thus there is also the need for a new music which voices the fears, protests and hopes of the women of india.

parasu K said...

Nice rendition n very nice background info,,,,

Can someone help me with the meaning of the lyrics. Google doesnt seem to have an answer for me.

Thanks in advance