The world of writing is marred by strange twists and turns. It’s never easy for a writer, whether established or novice, to keep pace with time in an easy-going manner in world dominated by materialistic principles, which treats nurturing aesthetic pleasures as some sort of waste of time. When selling rose becomes more worthwhile task than to appreciate its scent, it’s quite certain that one would not gain much by falling in love with creative pursuits. I faced extremely tough conditions with humiliating episodes taking place quite frequently, but I always tried not to take them to heart, remembering that great writers of previous eras also received similar treatment. Pain and humiliation do not break a writer ( unless destiny has predestined such a fate) but make him gain more insights, not available to ordinary mortals. The other thing that really kept me going ahead with ease despite huge setbacks was constant support of extremely talented souls, who appeared at various stages of my life as friends and colleagues. Apart from them, I feel really privileged that I also got an opportunity to spent some precious moments with towering figures in world of literature. These very special moments still keep me spirited and cheerful in depressing times even as memories related with those meetings have been clouded by the affairs of time.
I met Ruskin Bond and Gulzar at a time when my bonhomie with the writing world was gaining depth. However, after meeting them, I became certain that being a writer was no crime! I always met people who stupidly asked me( and thereby revealing the actual worth of their grey cells) about my work sphere even as I told them that I write! ” It’s okay that you write but what work you do?” That’s the sort of queries which always chased me. Thank God such queries today neither appear nor they have any relevance left in my life. The sight of Gulzar and Ruskin had left me spellbound, although I had met them separately, but exhibition of feelings remained the same.
I became the fan of Ruskin Bond at the very moment when in one of the boring literature classes of my school, I first came to read his story “The Eyes Have It”. The intensity of emotions expressed in this story fascinated my young heart to great extent. Though my class teacher, the other school mates and the old-fashioned academic standards, compelled me to anticipate the story in a given way, I came to visualize many other things as I read this story. And that’s why I met Ruskin Bond not only as reader but also as a writer! It’s the writings of Ruskin which taught me that how you say is equally important as what you come to say! However, the greatest lesson Ruskin taught me was that great writing is simple writing! Never use bundle of complicated expressions, which make a reader be involved more in picking up a dictionary than being lost in the content of the post! It’s one of the reasons why I avoid reading Arundhati Roy unless I have to sleep early!
Ruskin Bond, the Sahitya Akademi and Padma Shri awards winner, visited Allahabad, circa 2003. He had come here to attend promotional event organised by a leading publisher Rupa & Co. I wasn’t prepared for this meeting, but the moment I heard news of his arrival, I got prepared my manuscript related with my first unpublished anthology- The Petals Of Life. When I met him, I saw him surrounded by his well-wishers. I waited for my turn, and fortunately when my turn came he had some spare moments. He gave a fabulous smile when I introduced myself as a writer and informed him about my literary pursuits. When I handed him my poems, he seemed to be very pleased by this gesture. He patted my back and asked me to keep writing. Though he was tired but he still obliged me by giving me his autograph at number of places. Our conversations lasted for few minutes but the undercurrents still remain alive. And so I refuse to leave the company of pen!
Gulzar- the Oscar Award winner lyricist-also visited Allahabad, at the invitation of same publisher, during the same period. My meeting with him was once again a hurried affair than a pre-planned affair. When I reached the place where he was about to arrive after couple of hours, I was apprehensive about the meeting. However, call it my luck, despite presence of huge crowd, I created space for my meeting with this amazing man. It was hard for my eyes to acknowledge the fact that maker of landmark movies like Aandhi, Ijaazat, Kitaab, Parichay and Achanak, to name a few, was sitting right before my eyes. Like always, this time, too, he was clad in white kurta-pajama. And like always donned his lips a typical smile, which any Gulzar fan would easily recognize had he/she been noticing photographs of him quite sincerely. To be honest, I had not read enough literature penned by him but I had watched his movies and heard his songs with exceptional zeal and abnormal seriousness. And that’s why his “surrealism” permeated in my writings as well. Anyway, he remained seated in relaxed way. When I informed him about my credentials, his faced remained expressionless yet I noticed that he was pretty conscious! And as I finished saying what I had to say, he gave a very deep look at me. A stare that refused to leave me and became part of my being. I left the space after spending couple of minutes with him but as I came out of that place and headed towards my home these particular lines from this immortal song “Aknhon Mein Humne Aapke” kept appearing and disappearing within mind’s chamber-
“नज़रे उठाई आपने तो वक्त रुक गया
ठहरे हुए पलो में जमाने बिताये है “
- When you looked at me, the time stopped
And in those moments I came to live many lives.
Many thanks to these gentlemen who appeared at a very important juncture in my life. I needed some genuine encouragement and their generosity in display of emotions proved to be a tonic for my spirit chased by uncertainties. The uncertainties remain the same but my spirit attained the required evolution and so my writings. And so I am still writing! Pervert critics remain the same and situation remains hopeless like always and yet I am above all these negative concerns. A proof that meeting such enlightened gentlemen did not go in vain.
“I wondered if I would be able to prevent her from discovering that I was blind. Provided I keep to my seat, I thought, it shouldn’t be too difficult.”
“The man who had entered the compartment broke into my reverie.
‘You must be dissapointed,’ he said. ‘I’m not nearly as attractive a traveling companion as the one who just left.’
‘She was an interesting girl,’ I said. ‘Can you tell me – did she keep her hair long or short?’
‘I don’t remember,’ he said, sounding puzzled. ‘It was her eyes I noticed, not her hair. She had beautiful eyes – but they were of no use to her. She was completely blind. Didn’t you notice?’”
Song: Ankhon Mein Humne Aapke..
Movie: Thodi Si Bewafai
Singers: Lata and Kishore
The righteous have always been labelled as this or that. I have never worried about labels; crossed that stage when one is afraid of labels. To feel something terribly and yet not speak out that clearly is some sort of intellectual dishonesty. That’s not my attitude. I respect and admire women a lot but that does not mean I come to overlook the dangerous trend patterns associated with them. We have to warn them in advance, irrespective of the consequences, or else there is no point in shedding tears when something goes wrong because of the same flaws/tendencies. It’s another thing that we react only when the water starts flowing above the danger mark. And neither I wish to shed tears like these misguided souls nor I wish to identify myself with them. That’s why I aggressively protest, right from the nascent stage of crisis. At least, that’s in my hand. It’s fine if you come to support me. If not, I will still aggressively protest all alone. Let them label me as they want.
Sometimes we need to look at things from human angle, from a sensitive mind. The crude thing is that we over intellectualize everything. That’s the problem with the radical feminists advocating the rights of women. Now the women have their so-called rights but they forgot the art to have a natural and intimate relationship with man. That’s why I find simple man and woman enjoying life more than these men and women living complex lives, living dual lives, in the name of personal rights.
P.S.: These words I shared with my close friend Ghanshyam Dasji, Medical Practitioner in United Arab Emirates, on a social networking site.
It really fills my heart with bliss that this part of the world originally hailed as Aryavrata, now known as Bharat (India), has always produced evolved souls, having the capacity to delve deep into the world of mysticism in effortless manner- a reason why this part of the land is viewed with great wonder by people living in the other part of the hemisphere. I often meet yogis/saints, witnessing many such mysterious phenomenon related with world of Yoga, but this feeling saddens me that, back in past, when great saints and spiritually advanced yogis, roamed on this land quite frequently, I wasn’t fortunate enough to be the part of that era! It’s interesting to note that these great souls played different roles as per need of the society. Some roamed in jungles, some lived in caves, some lived as householder, and some became part of mainstream affairs, even as they retained their ascetic robes, to shape the destiny of Bharat-the land of divine principles.
True, many fake Gurus, have turned religion into a most lucrative affair, but it remains ultimate truth that India is intrinsically wedded to yogic principles. This land, in absence of spiritual values, would not be able to survive. May be currents of time sometimes lead to clash of values, but this nation has the capacity to absorb contradictions and conflicts in easygoing way. Like myself, others too, would have not believed the glory of Indian spiritual world, had saints like Swami Vivekananda not appeared in the modern phase of civilization. His presence was certain sign of the fact that supreme consciousness was still in operation. Swami Vivekananda removed my doubt that great yogis were mainly confined to storybooks; that great tales of yogic feats were exaggerated description of imaginative minds. However, after reading life-sketch of, Sri Aurobindo, I became truly confirmed that people in league with extraordinary psychic powers, were not only part of ancient India but they were very much part of modern India as well.
However, today I wish to remain confined to world of Swami Vivekananda, since on this very day, 12 January, 1863, this Avatara of Lord Shiva, manifested on earthly plane. He was an extraordinary person in his lifetime but one who had normal childhood. He involved in naughty pranks like any other child of that age. However, the thing that separated him from others was that he frequently got absorbed in higher form of consciousness. As he grew up and took admission in college life, he was the one who loved to read various philosophies, roped in by great teachers in past. In other words, he remained hooked to intellectual plane alone! That was not the final destination of a great mind like him placed on route to realization. The Updesha Vakyas (Directive Statements) found in Upanishads were yet to culminate into Anubhuti Vakyas or Anubhava Vakyas ( realized truths).
A great truth of the world of spirituality is that a willing seeker or a qualified seeker soon comes to find a Guru (The Master). The same thing happened with Swami Vivekananda, when he met with Sri Ramakrishna. Naturally, that turned out to be life-defining moment for Swami Vivekananda. He soon emerged as a realized soul. In fact, he was always a realized soul and able Guru like Sri Ramakrishna merely ensured that ignorance inside him which made him see himself as ordinary mortal get vanished for forever. It’s interesting to note that in pre-Independence era, we had host of great spiritual souls, who ensured that India’s journey in future as independent nation takes place amid certain special values. The Western world, and we Indians too, remember him mainly because of his great speech at Parliament of the World’s Religions, delivered on 11 September 1893, in Chicago. Not many are aware of the fact that it wasn’t a smooth journey and there was lack of funds to sponsor this visit, and surprisingly, he was not allowed to participate in the conference because of lack of endorsement from a well known organisation. It was only after the intervention of Professor John Henry Wright of Harvard University he got the chance to participate in this conference. Wright was so taken aback that he had to say: “To ask for your credentials is like asking the sun to state its right to shine in the heavens.”
Anyway, a soul of his stature, does not appear on earth for attainment of petty goals. He arrived to make supreme consciousness part of this land, which appears to be heart of the universe. If it stops functioning, the other civilizations are bound to collapse one after another. Although if one has a close look at the life of Swami Vivekananda, one would notice that he suffered life-long at the hands of mediocre minds but today when he is now no more in physical form, his own words have come true that real significance of his achievements would manifest after many years of his death. I must say that now when India is struggling hard to keep its ancient identity- the land of spirituality- intact, the words of Swami Vivekananda offer great solace, great strength. In other words, his thoughts and thoughts of other great minds are keeping at bay values antithetical to its spiritual essence. These great souls have now become active at subtle level, considering the way we have begun to realize that their thoughts alone could brighten our lives marred by ills of materialism.
It’s upon us that we either follow their way and emerge as an evolved being or ignore their wisdom to emerge as “dirty picture” of crass values. “All the powers in universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.” (Swami Vivekananda). Isn’t it the right thing to live life in light of these great values? Is there any merit in dying like a retarded lamb when you could have always roared like a lion? Let’s attempt for such huge transformation from this very moment.
Well, for past few days, I was bit taken aback by some sad developments. I wanted to finish the English version of one of my well read posts in Hindi. However, lack of concentration on my part was delaying it. By dint of fortune, I came to participate in conversation on a prominent Radio Forum, Shrota Biradari,dominated by oldies, which was involved in making of document related with Hindi movie songs based on moon. Moon has always appealed to my senses. I am a night watcher since childhood and to gaze at stars and moon has been my favourite past time. Even now in my village, when I am all alone, surrounded by nothing but stillness of night, penetrated by chirping of cricket etc., I sit hours in open to gaze at the moon. Neil Armstrong had to visit moon to end up as philosophical human being but my passion for moon is deep enough that it does not require a trip to moon to admire its beauty.
Anyway, the forum involved in preparation of songs missed some of my favourite songs. I wanted to add these songs to the document but I thought let’s share the same songs for readers and friends, having taste for refined music, narrating my own personal connection with the songs. Don’t forget that popular numbers already got included in that document and these are the ones which are close to my heart, but, sadly, these did not appear in that document. The silver hairs got trapped in age which produced gems like “O Raat Ke Musafir” (Miss Mary), ”NaYe Chand Hoga” ( Shart) and “Ye Raat Ye Chandni Phir Kaha( Jaal), to name a few. So let me include some of the songs they failed to take note of.
“I’ve tried the new moon tilted in the air
Above a hazy tree-and-farmhouse cluster
As you might try a jewel in your hair.
I’ve tried it fine with little breadth of luster,
Alone, or in one ornament combining
With one first-water start almost shining.
I put it shining anywhere I please.
By walking slowly on some evening later,
I’ve pulled it from a crate of crooked trees,
And brought it over glossy water, greater,
And dropped it in, and seen the image wallow,
The color run, all sorts of wonder follow.”
( The Freedom of the Moon by Robert Frost)
That’s a charming song from movie directed by Mahesh Bhatt’s “Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayi”. The best thing about Mahesh Bhatt is that no matter what’s the theme of his movies, he gives brilliant songs. The camera angles employed in his songs make the songs look so terrific. Just remember “Tumhe apana banane ki kasam khayi hai” from Sadak – a well picturized song which depicts the state of mind of woman trapped in world of prostitution, trying to come to terms with new-found freedom. Anyway, this song is also well shot. And like always, the movie involves doomed romance. For me, the songs brings back the memories of 90s and this movie’s almost all the numbers were simply too good. Lyricist Qateel Shifai and musician Annu Malik did a wonderful job. Interestingly, as a student, I had limited access to money, and thus, buying cassettes always meant sacrificing the last few notes found in my pocket. So I had to doubly assure whether or not all the songs were melodious in cassette. That meant taking “panga” (starting a fight) with the shopkeepers as they were often reluctant to make you listen all the numbers in bits and pieces. Anyway, these type of cassettes did full justice to few bucks (paisa vasool) which I managed to save those days.
Amazing song! No wonder R D Burman is hailed as a true genius. Look at the sound employed in the travel song with folk touch. Talking of this sound effect, he told to Gulzar that when he first played this instrument, flanger, it produced a very harsh noise. The people around him were bit skeptical about its effect in ensuring melody. It was not so easy to make use of it. But watch this superbly picturized train song and you would realize that how well R D Burman used this instrument to create rhythm effect produced by train as it travelled through the valley. Hey, the song talks about Dhanno but this Dhanno is totally different from Basanti’s Dhanno! Like always imagery employed by Gulzar mesmerizes us. The song is visual delight as well. Never before train song produced such a romantic appeal. Above all, it’s “Chand Ka Chumma” (Moon’s Kiss) which kills us!
Again R D Burman and Gulzar come together to produce this great number. I like the song because the moment it refers to stealing of moon and love birds spending time behind some building like church, it brings into my mind the great buildings of British period. Although, this song does not feature Church but images of majestic buildings from previous eras appear before the eyes. By the way, tell me how many times have you seen Church being used as a spot to promote romance? But anything was possible if two souls, always out of their minds, Gulzar and R D Burman sat together to compose songs. These two always hailed themselves as crazy souls. Oh yes, crazy souls alone made some sense in world turned into hell by intelligent souls!
This song from movie “Rog” has two versions. One is sung by M M Kreem, the music director who composed this song. Another one is sung by Udit Narayan. However, Kreem’s version is close to my heart. I need to say few words about Kreem. This techie music composer, hugely underrated in Bollywood, is one of the few music composers, who know how to really compose a song using modern instruments, without copying anything from Western world, in name of inspiration. These are some of the hard working musicians who have kept the dignity of Bollywood music world intact. How sad, people talk about A R Rahman but they fail to take note of gems composed by such lesser heard names. I came to hear him first in my college days, when out of curiosity, I came to buy this cassette, seeing new names on the flap of the cassette as unheard names always fascinated me. Now lend ears to this moving number, which talks about pangs of falling in love with beloved belonging to someone else legally! That’s why the song says ” moon is dotted with rough spots yet one cannot resist its beauty”!
For movie version to notice the picturization one can visit this link.
The tragedy with Bollywood is that if movie bombs at the box office, the songs also fail to create impact. I am sure very few movie lovers would have heard the name of this movie released in the middle of the 90s. Mercifully, Jatin Lalit was at its peak in those days. This innovative duo managed to give some beautiful numbers, which managed to find the ears despite movie doing average business. Since this movie is by-product of Bhatt Camp, rest assured that song must be aesthetically shot! I love this song because it takes me to college days, wherein I realized that moon in youth leaves the sky and gets placed in some beautiful face!
Whenever Ghulam Ali came to sing for Indian movies, the song turned out to be defining moment in world of Indian movie music. Be it “Dil Ye Pagal Dil” or ” Chupke Chupke Raat Din”, the songs always managed to stay in the hearts and minds for forever. So it was not unexpected that this song became representative song for broken dreams. What stunning lines the verses have! Just listen to it and you would be bound to play it for more time. Anu Malik was not very popular in those days, but with such movies, he managed to build a position for himself. The bold sequences in the this song have the stamp of Mahesh Bhatt’s vision!
This song is departure from the songs I have mentioned in this post. It’s from a classic produced in 1950 “Bawre Nain”, featuring Raj Kapoor and Geetabali. The song would let you know that how simple and innocent gesture have given way to nothing left for imagination gestures of Sunny Leone. Anyway, this song has remarkable innocent gestures of Geetabali, who is trying to please her moon. I am happy that silver hairs failed to mention this good number, dedicated to moon, sung by Rajkumari, and allowed me to talk about this song..ha..ha..ha. This beautiful singer sang few songs but these few songs have become unforgettable numbers.
This song has a very pleasant tune and some excellent from verses from Maya Govind- a very talented female lyricist from Lucknow. How often we notice female lyricist in Bollywood or elsewhere? My friend Sagar Nahar, who is prominent song collector from Hyderabad, very rightly points out that this Bappi Lahiri’s composition sounds very similar to S D Burman’s composition in Abhiman ” Tere Mere Milan Ki Raina”. Interestingly, both the movies Jhoothi and Abhiman were directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee. And, above all, it’s picturized on stunningly beautiful Rekha! What else can eyes crave for!
For Rekha lovers, here is a clearer video, but unfortunately, the song is incomplete.
9. Kolaveri Di
Well, I need not to say anything about this song. I have already written a post on it, which you can read here. I have to mention this song for one more time because first it belongs to current period, making you all know the changes that have hit the Indian film music, and secondly, it talks about moon in hilarious way. A song meant for heart broken guys but the approach involved is refreshingly unique. Anyway, for me, it means a greater involvement with moon instead of nurturing hatred for distance moon.
My previous article created sound and fury of unprecedented type and a serious attempt to understand the alienation of Muslim society and its inability to mix with the other societies in homogeneous way was labeled as propaganda, sponsored by CIA and Mossad. However, such knee and jerk reaction proves one thing quite well: Muslim societies prefer to remain frogs in the well. At the very outset, I wish to make it very clear that I am neither interested in hurting the religious sentiments of Muslims nor interested in painting them in wrong colour. However, here arrives the mother of all questions: Why the attempt to understand the elements involved in the making of Muslim mind creates so much anxiety within the Muslim world? Why an outsider is always prevented to understand them in free flowing manner and his/her efforts are viewed with suspicion? Why such efforts are perceived as an attempt to desecrate Islam? This exhibition of flawed hypersensitivity on part of Muslim minds, wherein efforts to understand them ultimately gets reduced to Jews/Christian vs Muslims thing of sort has left this author aghast. This narrow-mindedness is quite baffling in modern world, leading to another important consideration: Is Islamic ideology inherently flawed, which does not believe in expansion of societies based on other religions, and to prevent their expansion it’s not hesitant enough to give way to violent means? We need to travel back in the history to understand the Muslim mindset and for this very reason episodes from the Medieval Indian history are being presented to establish that Islamic ideology is not about harmonious living; it’s all about dominance of Islam.
It’s pretty interesting that forget outsiders, even the attempts of conscious minds, belonging to the Muslim world, like Salman Rushdie and Tasleema Nasrin face great resistance from rigid minds-the hardliners within the Muslim circles. Very recently, when Rushdie tried to attend a meeting organized in Jaipur, he was forced to cancel his visit at the last moment under pressure from various Muslim organizations. Ironically, they have no problem in hearing the lectures delivered by the likes of Dr.Zakir Naik, who has nothing to offer but brutal suppression of facts and twisted logic, which ultimately upholds supremacy of Allah. One also finds hard to ignore that they are in conflict with original inhabitants right from Spain to China. China, which kept itself above from nuisance created by the elements operating within the dangerous Muslim world, is now struggling hard to curb the negative Muslim forces. The recent violent demonstrations in Central Sydney, Australia, brings back in our memories the words of John Howard, former Australian PM, who had explicitly stated that”jihad and extreme attitudes towards women were two problems unique to Muslims that previous intakes of migrants from Europe did not have’. He had to make an appeal that Muslims have to abide by Australian mainstream values. “It is not a problem that we have ever faced with other immigrant communities who become easily absorbed by Australia’s mainstream.”
The Muslim world offers unique logic that it’s a small percentage of misguided people, who have given way to extremist philosophy.What they fail to explain or conveniently ignore is that these so-called small percentage has hugely bothered peaceful democratic nations across the globe,leading to formation of tough laws to keep Jihadi elements out of their society. For example, India is comprised of minorities which include people belonging to Buddhist and Parsi community but they never come in conflict with Indian mainstream society. However, when it comes to Muslim society, even the so-called liberal mind, Poet Iqbal, the composer of Saare Jahan Se Achha Hindustan Hamara (India is best in the world), played an active role in formation of Pakistan with help of Jinnah! The Indian historians like Romila Thapar, belonging to secular group, never fail to refer to Ganga-Jamuni Tehjeeb (merger of opposite cultures) but what they never bothered to explain why the same balanced approach, which talked of peaceful co-existence, did not prevent Jinnah from declaring that:”To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built up for the government of such a state.”
Well, it would be difficult to understand such a flawed mindset which refuses to honour the values prevalent in other societies, and instead tries to influence or topple it, unless we make a serious study of the Medieval History. The author is presenting episodes in Indian context only but that would be suffice to make any conscious reader gain perfect insight.
The Magnitude of Muslim Atrocities
(Ghazanavi to Amir Timur)
The world famous historian, Will Durant has written in his Story of Civilisation that “the Mohammedan conquest of India was probably the bloodiest story in history”.
India before the advent of Islamic imperialism was not exactly a zone of peace. There were plenty of wars fought by Hindu princes. But in all their wars, the Hindus had observed some time-honoured conventions sanctioned by the Sastras. The Brahmins and the Bhikshus were never molested. The cows were never killed. The temples were never touched. The chastity of women was never violated. The non-combatants were never killed or captured. A human habitation was never attacked unless it was a fort. The civil population was never plundered. War booty was an unknown item in the calculations of conquerors. The martial classes who clashed, mostly in open spaces, had a code of honor. Sacrifice of honor for victory or material gain was deemed as worse than death.
Islamic imperialism came with a different code–the Sunnah of the Prophet. It required its warriors to fall upon the helpless civil population after a decisive victory had been won on the battlefield. It required them to sack and burn down villages and towns after the defenders had died fighting or had fled. The cows, the Brahmins, and the Bhikshus invited their special attention in mass murders of non-combatants. The temples and monasteries were their special targets in an orgy of pillage and arson. Those whom they did not kill, they captured and sold as slaves. The magnitude of the booty looted even from the bodies of the dead, was a measure of the success of a military mission. And they did all this as mujahids (holy warriors) and ghazls (kafir-killers) in the service of Allah and his Last Prophet.
Hindus found it very hard to understand the psychology of this new invader. For the first time in their history, Hindus were witnessing a scene which was described by Kanhadade Prabandha (1456 AD) in the following words:
“The conquering army burnt villages, devastated the land, plundered people’s wealth, took Brahmins and children and women of all classes captive, flogged with thongs of raw hide, carried a moving prison with it, and converted the prisoners into obsequious Turks.”
That was written in remembrance of Alauddin Khalji’s invasion of Gujarat in the year l298 AD. But the gruesome game had started three centuries earlier when Mahmud Ghaznavi had vowed to invade India every year in order to destroy idolatry, kill the kafirs, capture prisoners of war, and plunder vast wealth for which India was well-known.
MAHMUD AND MASOOD GHAZNAVI
In 1000 AD Mahmud defeated Raja Jaipal, a scion of the Hindu Shahiya dynasty of Kabul. This dynasty had been for long the doorkeeper of India in the Northwest. Mahmud collected 250,000 dinars as indemnity. That perhaps was normal business of an empire builder. But in 1004 AD he stormed Bhatiya and plundered the place. He stayed there for some time to convert the Hindus to Islam with the help of mullahs he had brought with him.
In 1008 AD he captured Nagarkot (Kangra). The loot amounted to 70,000,000 dirhams in coins and 700,400 mans of gold and silver, besides plenty of precious stones and embroidered cloths. In 1011 AD he plundered Thanesar which was undefended, destroyed many temples, and broke a large number of idols. The chief idol, that of Chakraswamin, was taken to Ghazni and thrown into the public square for defilement under the feet of the faithful. According to Tarikh-i-Yamini of Utbi, Mahmud’s secretary,
“The blood of the infidels flowed so copiously [at Thanesar] that the stream was discolored, notwithstanding its purity, and people were unable to drink it. The Sultan returned with plunder which is impossible to count. Praise he to Allah for the honor he bestows on Islam and Muslims.”
In 1013 AD Mahmud advanced against Nandana where the Shahiya king, Anandapal, had established his new capital. The Hindus fought very hard but lost. Again, the temples were destroyed, and innocent citizens slaughtered. Utbi provides an account of the plunder and the prisoners of war:
“The Sultan returned in the rear of immense booty, and slaves were so plentiful that they became very cheap and men of respectability in their native land were degraded by becoming slaves of common shopkeepers. But this is the goodness of Allah, who bestows honor on his own religion and degrades infidelity.”
The road was now clear for an assault on the heartland of Hindustan. In December 1018 AD Mahmud crossed the Yamuna, collected 1,000,000 dirhams from Baran (Bulandshahar), and marched to Mahaban in Mathura district. Utbi records:
“The infidels…deserted the fort and tried to cross the foaming river…but many of them were slain, taken or drowned… Nearly fifty thousand men were killed.”
Mathura was the next victim. Mahmud seized five gold idols weighing 89,300 missals and 200 silver idols. According to Utbi, “The Sultan gave orders that all the temples should be burnt with naptha and fire, and levelled with the ground.” The pillage of the city continued for 20 days. Mahmud now turned towards Kanauj which had been the seat of several Hindu dynasties. Utbi continues: “In Kanauj there were nearly ten thousand temples… Many of the inhabitants of the place fled in consequence of witnessing the fate of their deaf and dumb idols. Those who did not fly were put to death. The Sultan gave his soldiers leave to plunder and take prisoners.”
The Brahmins of Munj, which was attacked next, fought to the last man after throwing their wives and children into fire. The fate of Asi was sealed when its ruler took fright and fled. According to Utbi, “…. the Sultan ordered that his five forts should be demolished from their foundations, the inhabitants buried in their ruins, and the soldiers of the garrison plundered, slain and captured”.
Shrawa, the next important place to be invaded, met the same fate. Utbi concludes:
“The Muslims paid no regard to the booty till they had satiated themselves with the slaughter of the infidels and worshipers of sun and fire. The friends of Allah searched the bodies of the slain for three days in order to obtain booty…The booty amounted in gold and silver, rubies and pearls nearly to three hundred thousand dirhams, and the number of prisoners may be conceived from the fact that each was sold for two to ten dirhams. These were afterwards taken to Ghazni and merchants came from distant cities to purchase them, so that the countries of Mawaraun-Nahr, Iraq and Khurasan were filled with them, and the fair and the dark, the rich and the poor, were commingled in one common slavery.”
Mahmud’s sack of Somnath is too well-known to be retold here. What needs emphasizing is that the fragments of the famous Sivalinga were carried to Ghazni. Some of them were turned into steps of the Jama Masjid in that city. The rest were sent to Mecca, Medina, and Baghdad to be desecrated in the same manner.
Mahmud’s son Masud tried to follow in the footsteps of his father. In 1037 AD he succeeded in sacking the fort of Hansi which was defended very bravely by the Hindus. The Tarikh-us-Subuktigin records: “The Brahmins and other high ranking men were slain, and their women and children were carried away captive, and all the treasure which was found was distributed among the army.”
Masud could not repeat the performance due to his preoccupations elsewhere.
MUHAMMAD GHORI AND HIS LEUTENANTS
Invasion of India by Islamic imperialism was renewed by Muhmmad Ghori in the last quarter of the 12th century. After Prithiviraj Chauhan had been defeated in 1192 AD, Ghori took Ajmer by assault.
According the Taj-ul-Ma’sir of Hasan Nizami, “While the Sultan remained at Ajmer, he destroyed the pillars and foundations of the idol temples and built in their stead mosques and colleges and precepts of Islam, and the customs of the law were divulged and established.”
Next year he defeated Jayachandra of Kanauj. A general massacre, rapine, and pillage followed. The Gahadvad treasuries at Asni and Varanasi were plundered. Hasan Nizami rejoices that “in Benares which is the centre of the country of Hind, they destroyed one thousand temples and raised mosques on their foundations”.
According to Kamil-ut-Tawarikh of Ibn Asir, “The slaughter of Hindus (at Varanasi) was immense; none were spared except women and children, and the carnage of men went on until the earth was weary.”
The women and children were spared so that they could be enslaved and sold all over the Islamic world. It may be added that the Buddhist complex at Sarnath was sacked at this time, and the Bhikshus were slaughtered.
Ghori’s lieutenant Qutbuddin Aibak was also busy meanwhile. Hasan Nizami writes that after the suppression of a Hindu revolt at Kol (modern day Aligarh) in 1193 AD, Aibak raised “three bastions as high as heaven with their heads, and their carcases became food for beasts of prey. The tract was freed from idols and idol worship and the foundations of infidelism were destroyed.”
In 1194 AD Aibak destroyed 27 Hindu temples at Delhi and built the Quwwat-ul-lslam mosque with their debris. According to Nizami, Aibak “adorned it with the stones and gold obtained from the temples which had been demolished by elephants”.
In 1195 AD the Mher tribe of Ajmer rose in revolt, and the Chaulukyas of Gujarat came to their assistance. Aibak had to invite reinforcements from Ghazni before he could meet the challenge. In 1196 AD he advanced against Anahilwar Patan, the capital of Gujarat. Nizami writes that after Raja Karan was defeated and forced to flee, “fifty thousand infidels were dispatched to hell by the sword” and “more than twenty thousand slaves, and cattle beyond all calculation fell into the hands of the victors”.
The city was sacked, its temples demolished, and its palaces plundered. On his return to Ajmer, Aibak destroyed the Sanskrit College of Visaladeva, and laid the foundations of a mosque which came to be known as ‘Adhai Din ka Jhompada’.
Conquest of Kalinjar in 1202 AD was Aibak’s crowning achievement. Nizami concludes: “The temples were converted into mosques… Fifty thousand men came under the collar of slavery and the plain became black as pitch with Hindus.”
A free-lance adventurer, Muhammad Bakhtyar Khalji, was moving further east. In 1200 AD he sacked the undefended university town of Odantpuri in Bihar and massacred the Buddhist monks in the monasteries. In 1202 AD he took Nadiya by surprise. Badauni records in his Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh that “property and booty beyond computation fell into the hands of the Muslims and Muhammad Bakhtyar having destroyed the places of worship and idol temples of the infidels founded mosques and Khanqahs”.
THE SLAVE (MAMLUK) SULTANS
Shamsuddin Iltutmish who succeeded Aibak at Delhi invaded Malwa in 1234 AD. He destroyed an ancient temple at Vidisha. Badauni reports in his ‘Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh’:
“Having destroyed the idol temple of Ujjain which had been built six hundred years previously, and was called Mahakal, he levelled it to its foundations, and threw down the image of Rai Vikramajit from whom the Hindus reckon their era, and brought certain images of cast molten brass and placed them on the ground in front of the doors of mosques of old Delhi, and ordered the people of trample them under foot.”
Muslim power in India suffered a serious setback after Iltutmish. Balkan had to battle against a revival of Hindu power. The Katehar Rajputs of what came to be known as Rohilkhand in later history, had so far refused to submit to Islamic imperialism. Balkan led an expedition across the Ganges in 1254 AD. According to Badauni,
“In two days after leaving Delhi, he arrived in the midst of the territory of Katihar and put to death every male, even those of eight years of age, and bound the women.”
But in spite of such wanton cruelty, Muslim power continued to decline till the Khaljis revived it after 1290 AD.
Jalaluddin Khalji led an expedition to Ranthambhor in 1291 AD. On the way he destroyed Hindu temples at Chain. The broken idols were sent to Delhi to be spread before the gates of the Jama Masjid. His nephew Alauddin led an expedition to Vidisha in 1292 AD. According to Badauni in Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh, Alauddin “brought much booty to the Sultan and the idol which was the object of worship of the Hindus, he caused to be cast in front of the Badaun gate to be trampled upon by the people. The services of Alauddin were highly appreciated, the jagir of Oudh (or Avadh – Central U.P.) also was added to his other estates.”
Alauddin became Sultan in 1296 AD after murdering his uncle and father-in-law, Jalaluddin. In 1298 AD he equipped an expedition to Gujarat under his generals Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan. The invaders plundered the ports of Surat and Cambay. The temple of Somnath, which had been rebuilt by the Hindus, was plundered and the idol taken to Delhi for being trodden upon by the Muslims. The whole region was subjected to fire and sword, and Hindus were slaughtered en masse. Kampala Devi, the queen of Gujarat, was captured along with the royal treasury, brought to Delhi and forced into Alauddin’s harem. The doings of the Malik Naib during his expedition to South India in 1310-1311 AD have already mentioned in earlier parts.
Muslim power again suffered a setback after the death of Alauddin Khalji in 1316 AD. But it was soon revived by the Tughlaqs. By now most of the famous temples over the length and breadth of the Islamic occupation in India had been demolished, except in Orissa and Rajasthan which had retained their independence. By now most of the rich treasuries had been plundered and shared between the Islamic state and its swordsmen. Firuz Shah Tughlaq led an expedition to Orissa in 1360 AD. He destroyed the temple of Jagannath at Puri, and desecrated many other Hindu shrines. According to ‘Sirat-i-Firoz Shahi’ which he himself wrote or dictated,
“Allah who is the only true God and has no other emanation, endowed the king of Islam with the strength to destroy this ancient shrine on the eastern sea-coast and to plunge it into the sea, and after its destruction he ordered the image of Jagannath to be perforated, and disgraced it by casting it down on the ground. They dug out other idols which were worshipped by the polytheists in the kingdom of Jajnagar and overthrew them as they did the image of Jagannath, for being laid in front of the mosques along the path of the Sunnis and the way of the ‘musallis’ (Muslim congregation for namaz) and stretched them in front of the portals of every mosque, so that the body and sides of the images might be trampled at the time of ascent and descent, entrance and exit, by the shoes on the feet of the Muslims.”
After the sack of the temples in Orissa, Firoz Shah Tughlaq attacked an island on the sea-coast where “nearly 100,000 men of Jajnagar had taken refuge with their women, children, kinsmen and relations”. The swordsmen of Islam turned “the island into a basin of blood by the massacre of the unbelievers”.
A worse fate overtook the Hindu women. Sirat-i-Firuz Shahs records: “Women with babies and pregnant ladies were haltered, manacled, fettered and enchained, and pressed as slaves into service in the house of every soldier.”
Still more horrible scenes were enacted by Firuz Shah Tughlaq at Nagarkot (Kangra) where he sacked the shrine of Jvalamukhi. Firishta records that the Sultan “broke the idols of Jvalamukhi, mixed their fragments with the flesh of cows and hung them in nose bags round the necks of Brahmins. He sent the principal idol as trophy to Medina.”
THE PROVINCIAL MUSLIM SATRAPS
In 1391 AD the Muslims of Gujarat complained to Nasiruddin Muhammad, the Tughlaq Sultan of Delhi, that the local governor, Kurhat-ul-Mulk, was practising tolerance towards the Hindus. The Sultan immediately appointed Muzzaffar Khan as the new Governor. He became independent after the death of the Delhi Sultan and assumed the title of Muzzaffar Shah in 1392 AD. Next year he led an expidition to Somnath and sacked the temple which the Hindus had built once again. He killed many Hindus to chastise them for this “impudence,” and raised a mosque on the site of the ancient temple. The Hindus, however, restarted restoring the temple soon after. In 1401 AD Muzaffar came back with a huge army. He again killed many Hindus, demolished the temple once more, and erected another mosque.
Muzaffar was succeeded by his grandson, Ahmad Shah, in 1411 AD. Three years later Ahmad appointed a special darogah to destroy all temples throughout Gujarat. In 1415 AD Ahmad invaded Sidhpur where he destroyed the images in Rudramahalaya, and converted the grand temple into a mosque. Sidhpur was renamed Sayyadpur.
Mahmud Begrha who became the Sultan of Gujarat in 1458 AD was the worst fanatic of this dynasty. One of his vassals was the Mandalika of Junagadh who had never withheld the regular tribute. Yet in 1469 AD Mahmud invaded Junagadh. In reply to the Mandalika’s protests, Mahmud said that he was not interested in money as much as in the spread of Islam. The Mandalika was forcibly converted to Islam and Junagadh was renamed Mustafabad. In 1472 AD Mahmud attacked Dwarka, destroyed the local temples, and plundered the city. Raja Jaya Singh, the ruler of Champaner, and his minister were murdered by Mahmud in cold blood for refusing to embrace Islam after they had been defeated and their country pillaged and plundered. Champaner was renamed Mahmudabad.
Mahmud Khalji of Malwa (1436-69 AD) also destroyed Hindu temples and built mosques on their sites. He heaped many more insults on the Hindus. Ilyas Shah of Bengal (1339-1379 AD) invaded Nepal and destroyed the temple of Svayambhunath at Kathmandu. He also invaded Orissa, demolished many temples, and plundered many places. The Bahmani sultans of Gulbarga and Bidar considered it meritorious to kill a hundred thousand Hindu men, women, and children every year. They demolished and desecrated temples all over South India.
The climax came during the invasion of Timur in 1399 AD. He starts by quoting the Quran in his Tuzk-i-Timuri: “O Prophet, make war upon the infidels and unbelievers, and treat them severely.”
He continues: “My great object in invading Hindustan had been to wage a religious war against the infidel Hindus…[so that] the army of Islam might gain something by plundering the wealth and valuables of the Hindus.” To start with he stormed the fort of Kator on the border of Kashmir. He ordered his soldiers “to kill all the men, to make prisoners of women and children, and to plunder and lay waste all their property”. Next, he “directed towers to be built on the mountain of the skulls of those obstinate unbelievers”. Soon after, he laid siege to Bhatnir defended by Rajputs. They surrendered after some fight, and were pardoned. But Islam did not bind Timur to keep his word given to the “unbelievers”. His Tuzk-i-Timuri records:
“In a short space of time all the people in the fort were put to the sword, and in the course of one hour the heads of 10,000 infidels were cut off. The sword of Islam was washed in the blood of the infidels, and all the goods and effects, the treasure and the grain which for many a long year had been stored in the fort became the spoil of my soldiers. They set fire to the houses and reduced them to ashes, and they razed the buildings and the fort to the ground.”
At Sarsuti, the next city to be sacked, “all these infidel Hindus were slain, their wives and children were made prisoners and their property and goods became the spoil of the victors”. Timur was now moving through (modern day) Haryana, the land of the Jats. He directed his soldiers to “plunder and destroy and kill every one whom they met”. And so the soldiers “plundered every village, killed the men, and carried a number of Hindu prisoners, both male and female”.
Loni which was captured before he arrived at Delhi was predominantly a Hindu town. But some Muslim inhabitants were also taken prisoners. Timur ordered that “the Musulman prisoners should be separated and saved, but the infidels should all be dispatched to hell with the proselytizing sword”.
By now Timur had captured 100,000 Hindus. As he prepared for battle against the Tughlaq army after crossing the Yamuna, his Amirs advised him “that on the great day of battle these 100,000 prisoners could not be left with the baggage, and that it would be entirely opposed to the rules of war to set these idolators and enemies of Islam at liberty”. Therefore, “no other course remained but that of making them all food for the sword”.
“I proclaimed throughout the camp that every man who had infidel prisoners should put them to death, and whoever neglected to do so should himself be executed and his property given to the informer. When this order became known to the ghazis of Islam, they drew their swords and put their prisoners to death. One hundred thousand infidels, impious idolators, were on that day slain. Maulana Nasiruddin Umar, a counselor and man of learning, who, in all his life, had never killed a sparrow, now, in execution of my order, slew with his sword fifteen idolatrous Hindus, who were his captives.”
The Tughlaq army was defeated in the battle that ensued next day. Timur entered Delhi and learnt that a “great number of Hindus with their wives and children, and goods and valuables, had come into the city from all the country round”.
He directed his soldiers to seize these Hindus and their property. Tuzk-i-Timuri concludes:
“Many of them (Hindus) drew their swords and resisted…The flames of strife were thus lighted and spread through the whole city from Jahanpanah and Siri to Old Delhi, burning up all it reached. The Hindus set fire to their houses with their own hands, burned their wives and children in them and rushed into the fight and were killed…On that day, Thursday, and all the night of Friday, nearly 15,000 Turks were engaged in slaying, plundering and destroying. When morning broke on Friday, all my army …went off to the city and thought of nothing but killing, plundering and making prisoners….The following day, Saturday the 17th, all passed in the same way, and the spoil was so great.that each man secured from fifty to a hundred prisoners, men, women, and children. There was no man who took less than twenty. The other booty was immense in rubies, diamonds, garnets, pearls, and other gems and jewels; ashrafis, tankas of gold and silver of the celebrated Alai coinage: vessels of gold and silver; and brocades and silks of great value. Gold and silver ornaments of Hindu women were obtained in such quantities as to exceed all account. Excepting the quarter of the Saiyids, the Ulama and the other Musulmans, the whole city was sacked.”
Carvind, belonged to the world of naughtiest kids. This image of innocence, a pure-hearted spirit, was always found involved in some sort of mess by his parents, who were quite a character in themselves. Naturally, Carvind was natural ally for all disturbing elements. One day, the Lord appeared in his dreams at an unusual hour and said:” My son, I want to visit earth to see how it fares in Kali Age.” “Lord I have heard that you give darshana (appear) at auspicious hours and so I am really surprised to find you at such an odd hour,” said Carvind.
Carvind had slept late in the night. “Vatsa (my dear son), what can I do! You people have given way to strange habits, which defy my system. I waited for you to sleep at proper time but you never did so,” answered the Lord. Carvind felt really embarrassed. “My son, I would come tomorrow and be visible only to you. Though you have often entered in nuisance of all sorts and defied my mode of life as mentioned in the scriptures, it’s quite pleasing to see the temple of innocence prevailing in your heart. I am glad that you find time to remember me.”
Carvind was now fully awake after being in that trance like state. He started recollecting the episodes. How beautiful Lord appeared! The one infinite blue-bodied Narayana was clothed in his “yellow garb”. In his four hands, he carried the conch, the discus, the mace and the lotus. A soft but impressive golden light environed the Lord. He soon became sad as he failed to greet Lord with folded hands and also did not bother to touch his feet.
Carvind decided to rectify his mistake. This morning he extended the duration of his pooja, performing it with greater concentration. He planned to greet Him methodically on His arrival. Carvind got involved in preparations to receive Him and the day soon gave way to evening. He went to bed soon but since he never slept that early, the sleep remained elusive. Anyway, his mind was full of excitement-something that kept sleep at safe distance from the eyes.
He woke up at 3 am. It was dark outside and others were still in deep slumber. Carvind had his bath, which created noise sufficient enough to awaken his mother from deep sleep. She saw Carvind shivering and lost her cool. “So it was not cat but you who were producing such strange sounds in the middle of the night!” “You have become the agent of problems for us” she said before marching towards her bedroom.
Carvind ignored her wrath and sat down for meditation. Today, he attained the divine state very soon. The various zones of his brain got filled with divine consciousness.” Now I have attained a perfect state of mind to receive Him” spoke Carvind to himself as he waited for the Lord’s arrival. He was becoming quite impatient. “Has the Lord forgotten his promise? By now He should have arrived.” Then under the impact of past tendencies, his mind got focused on beautiful girl, whom he had seen at magazine shop near his home.
“Dear son! Please regain your sense. It’s time to break your sahaj yoga (spontaneous attunement), “a familiar voice hit the ear drums of Carvind. The Lord was standing in front of Carvind and His smile said all! Carvind, for a while said nothing, just the way a child gets caught by the mother stealing food from the kitchen. He bent down and touched His Lotus feet, offered some flowers which he had stolen from the garden of his neighbor guarded by a dangerous Doberman, and then washed his feet with holy water, which her mother had warned not to use at all; after all, she had brought it from quite a distance.
The fragrance of His body left him spell bound, rejuvenating his dull senses. “Will Lord, tell me the name of the perfume He uses? If I get hold of this brand of perfume, it would make him instant hit amid his boring girlfriends, always complaining about his choice of clothes and perfume.”
“ Won’t we move out, little angel?” asked the Lord in pleasing voice. “Oh! Definitely Lord” said Carvind, once again found caught on the wrong foot by the Lord. They were now on the road to Sangam(Confluence of three rivers at Allahabad: the Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati). The tempo in which they were sitting was nearly chock-a-block with passengers. The record player was on and devotional songs, based on latest chart-busters echoed inside the tempo. “If I am not wrong, these songs in some way seem to be connected with me,” remarked the Lord with displeasure. “Lord, very few people in the world remember you in the ways prescribed by you in ancient times. Human beings of modern times have attained new means of attaining intimacy with you. They are no longer interested in going by your likes and dislikes.”
“My son, I find iron rods on every roof top, connected to strange Chakra (discus) like round object. What purpose do they serve? Are they some sort of safety device, which prevent you people from dangers?” “No Lord! They do not save human beings from dangers; instead, they drown them deeper into ocean of heinous crimes and problems. This is known as dish antenna, which is connected with a device called Television, watched by human beings the way Yogis fix attention on your form during meditation!”
They were now on the banks of the Ganges. The unhygienic condition that prevailed there left Lord in bitter mood. Dead bodies, bones and waste material were floating on the water. “Whom are you trying to locate?” asked Carvind. “Vatsa, in my previous incarnations I always found people meditating and performing tapas at the banks of Ganges. I am really surprised that nobody is engaged in such pious activity. Where have these people disappeared?” “Lord, they are all sleeping. They are all lost in deep sleep after having watched late night movies, and people like my father and mother, who usually work till late hours of the night, and then go to sleep, just cannot leave bed too early.”
The Lord was pleased to find a Shiva temple. They entered inside the temple and found dogs roaming there. One of them was busy in searching leftovers there; another one was comfortably sleeping over the Shivalinga. I looked at the face of Lord to notice His reaction but He seemed to be lost in some different world.
“Lord, it is not the fault of these dogs. These hungry dogs arrived here in search of food, and entered inside the temple” The compassionate Lord produced food and offered them to the hungry dogs. Carvind’s attitude towards animals had please the Lord. After performing pooja there, they moved out of the temple. In the way, they met some cows. The Lord rushed towards them. He was visibly very happy on seeing them. “Do you love cows?” asked the Lord. “Yes, since they remind me of my mother. She has cow like eyes and when she is angry I also notice same pointed thorns on her head as I come to notice in these cows.” These cows had very little fat on their bodies and most of them looked quite weak.
“Don’t you people take care of creatures? Have I not provided you enough resources and, in some cases, more than enough? In fact, the case is that you people have become greedy and do not believe in charity at all.” The cows standing there suddenly vanished. The Lord sent them to unknown destination, having grass and safe water in abundance. The Lord had suggested Carvind to take him to the needy people. They moved towards slums located close to the rail tracks. The Lord was eager to cross these tracks to reach to the other side but Carvind prevented him from doing so.
“But why?“ asked the Lord. “The signal lights are bright green and so let’s wait. Let the train pass.” He thanked Carvind for providing such valuable life-giving information. The train passed and they moved to the other side. Carvind was amazed at the simplicity of the Lord. The Lord was moved to see the bare bodies of the starving children. The labourers living there were getting ready to leave in search of work. It was a noisy scene. The pungent smell of garbage, scattered around us, entered inside our nostrils, which forced us to leave the spot.
The Lord seemed to be lost in some thoughts after witnessing such a scene. “Lord, that‘s the condition which prevails in the whole nation. The wealth has been distributed in an unequal manner. The rich people have got everything; the poor people have been left at the mercy of fate. The poor person always finds himself in all sorts of troubles. Lord, you sound right that greed is cause of sufferings. “Is nobody working for the cause of poor people?” inquired Lord. “Lord, nobody is working sincerely for their cause. Some organizations, which in the beginning worked in whole-hearted manner, became political in their approach, and thus, deviated away from the cause of the poor people.
They had now arrived near a school. God wished to see the activities inside the school. Unfortunately, it was a government-run school. The teachers were nowhere in sight. The blackboard was barren like a dead river. Some senior students were busy in discussion revolving around good and bad points of latest movies running in the theaters of city. The junior ones were seriously trying to make their paper aircraft attain the maximum height, and also attain the perfect aerial route! Some girls have already opened their Tiffin boxes and were in great hurry to finish the lunch! We found one section of boys getting ready for cricket match and so heated discussion regarding the format of the match was in full flow.
They had moved out of the school and now walking on the road in leisurely way. They came to anticipate a large gathering of people and they turned towards it. It was a meeting organized by the rationalists to create awareness in society and motivate people to develop scientific spirit. The chief speaker asked loudly, “Has anyone of us seen God? No. Then why do we believe in His existence? My friend, you people should not waste time in adoring abstractions by strengthening faith in Lord. I request you all to be more realistic by giving way to scientific explanations.”
For a while they listened to him with great attention but they soon gave way to peals of derisive laughter. They said enough is enough and made sure, as they moved away from that spot, that his words fail to hit their ear drums. Carvind was now feeling hungry as he had not eaten anything since morning. The sun was now shining above their heads. Carvind brought two cups of tea and some pieces of bread from nearby tea stall.
“Vatsa, I find its taste unique. I wasn’t offered this flavor during my previous arrivals on earth. I need nothing, and, therefore, I come to taste this drink, sheer out of grace, as an offering on part of little Bhakta (devotee) like you” said the Lord in a hilarious tone.
“Lord, please forgive me! I am ruled by my desires. That‘s why I dared to offer you tea. However, Lord, if tea vanished from our lives, millions of people across the globe would never get out of their beds! We have become slaves of very things we have discovered!”
They did not drink the tea even as the Lord was eager to empty the cup totally. They arrived at a juice corner and sat there on a bench in a relaxed manner. The staff at the juice corner was asked to serve the juice. The person, who was told to serve the juice, was surprised that I needed one extra glass even as I was all alone! At a close distance was a busy bus stand. Some college going girls had been waiting for the arrival of buses. Like previous days, arrived some youths and started making obscene gestures at them. There were many people present at the bus stand but they preferred to remain mute spectator. But toady something unusual happened. Some men in uniform appeared from nowhere and beat these youths black and blue. They were arrested and taken to police station. The girls and others were quite taken aback as they never found men in uniform intervening in such a timely manner. They like, filmy cops, were used to arrive only after the criminals have left the crime scene.
Carvind stared at the face of Lord and a big smile appeared on his cute face. He realized why the cops had appeared all of a sudden. “Lord, these grown up modern youths do not believe in living life based on values and principles. At next corner, you would find girls and boys consuming cigarette and beer. The cut throat competition has murdered their sensitivity.”
“ My son, every age has got its own peculiar tendencies. The cycle of good and bad actions never stops and as it rotates, it unleashes various effects. You are an enlightened soul, Carvind! You must be aware that Gunas(attributes) constitute character of a human being. When Sattva increases, it brings peace and knowledge. The increase in Rajas creates desires, leading to hectic activities and rise of Tamas creates ignorance, bringing pain and misery. One should always try to increase ones sattva portion in the personality. That also ensures peace and stability in the external world. The change is inevitable and so one should not worry too much about particular condition or happening.”
“Vatsa, now I wish to return back to my abode but before I disappear I would love to meet a real devotee. Carvind took him to home of man in late 40s. He had a wife and three daughters. Though he wanted to have a male child, he had only daughters. He had no source of income and yet he and his family were always found smiling. The girls went to government run school and were talented in many ways. Since the person had gone outside, Carvind and Lord were welcomed by his wife and daughters. His wife was always delighted to find Carvind at his door step and sudden visit has surprised them all. Lord had a close look the home. It lacked many articles required for sophisticated living yet the home looked complete. It had traces of bliss in the atmosphere. Meanwhile, his wife told Carvind that his husband is retarded in terms of worldly understanding. He has no idea what it means to live life in practical terms. The people around him treat him to be a fool but it appears he doesn’t feel bad about it. Meanwhile his youngest daughter, Gauri, interrupting the monologue of her mother, sang for us a beautiful devotional song. Her amazing voice left all of us spellbound. What Carvind really liked about her was that she never said no to singing, even in front of strangers. However, she disliked film music unless it had classical base or really sweet melody. His father has now arrived and seeing Carvind became really happy.
Carvind told him that Gauri had just now sung a beautiful bhajan for us. His father seemed to be pleased but said that she was least interested in refining her voice through regular practice sessions. He stated that Lord has given him enough and though he cannot manage all, he is always in a relaxed state of mind. He never felt he is the actual doer. Lord is driving this body and he noticed that instead of me, Lord has taken better care of his family. Lord’s effort brings greater results than his own individual effort. And so whenever he has to leave home all of a sudden for a long distance journey, he leaves leaving everything on Lord’s shoulder and when he returns he finds home in lesser mess. At that point, his wife informed him that, like always, person acting as in-charge of their fields has cheated them by giving less share of the produce! He received the news with smile. At that point, Carvind and Lord left his room after seeking permission from his family. However, before leaving, this man didn’t forget to compliment Carvind about his eyes and smile and told him that today he found him unusually attractive! “My mother called me this morning son of monkey,” said Carvind. Hearing that not even Lord could prevent himself from giving way to loud laughter! Others were naturally in grip of incredulous laughter.
“Before leaving do teach fitting lesson to my mother. No time for me and not even for herself. She all the time works and just works. And my father! He is like you in a sense that he is always lost in some thoughts. When he is not thinking that way, he is always writing something. They are always pretty conscious about my monkey business. Is it a crime to steal guavas from someone’s trees? If I do not steal them, they soon fall on ground and become unfit for eating. I am preventing the fruits from getting wasted and they all perceive it as a monkey business and give me a bad name.”
Lord heard the tale of Carvind with great attention. He noticed that Carvind has become extremely sad on hearing that he was about to leave. “Do not lose heart. I promise to reside in your heart forever. I would always remain one with you. I know everything, and, therefore, such visits do not mean anything to Me. I come on earth to meet extremely cute children like you-monkeys with sensibility found in cows! So promise me that you would not act as monkey with a razor not only for this world but also for your parents!”
“ I had to say something to you. You would never drop me from your memory and your heart as you come to live a life based on virtues. In nutshell, move in this world freely with an unbroken remembrance of mine” said Lord as He embraced Carvind in His divine arms.
Carvind bent down to touch his Lotus feet and soon forgot everything. Carvind regained normalcy after few hours. Carvind desperately looked for Him but in vain. Lord had returned to His abode. As he closed his eyes, Carvind, felt deep peace within his mind and heart. It was sign of His eternal presence. He had vanished to become one with Carvind!
Pic Two (Internet)
(Today we are celebrating the birthday of Shri Radhaji. I am posting this article, an ode to female power, to mark the occasion. The article has been previously published in Northern India Patrika, 2001; Soham, bilingual International magazine, 2005; British edition of Indowaves)
Radha holds a special place in the hearts of Radha-Krishna devotees. Krishna without Radha can never be meditated upon, and that explains why Janmashtmi is incomplete without Radhashtmi’s celebrations in full fervour. On this day devotees plunge into a state of euphoria in Vraja where it is celebrated with grandeur. Radharani, daughter of Brishabhanu and Kalawati, was born in Barsaane fifteen days after Krishna’s birth in Mathura. Radha being ‘hladinishakti’ (the power of bliss) of Shri Krishna always remains in unison with him. Radhashtmi, her appearance day, is viewed by the devotees as a day that leads an aspirant on to the path of bhakti and bliss—a step closer towards absolute merging of the lover in the beloved. Radha’s grace alone provide as supreme Bhakti (devotion) and it is she who makes a seeker’s union with Krishna a reality.
According to Padma Purana, Gopis (cow-herd girls) were Rishis of Dandakarnya who had expressed their desire to be in intimate service of Lord Rama. Lord Rama had then told them to wait till his next incarnation as Krishna takes place in Dvapar age. Upanishads, too, appeared in the form of Gopis to participate in Leelas (divine gestures) of Krishna. Gopis who embraced the lotus feet of Lord Krishna have been classified into several categories due to difference in attitude and service. Some are sadhna –oriented i.e. they have attained Gopi bhava because of austerities performed in their earlier births whereas some are in service of Krishna from beginning (Nitya-priya). It is said that a jeeva( worldly soul) attains Gopi bhava through intense tapas. Radha, Chandraravali Visakha, Lalita, Shyama and Padma were prominent Gopis. Shri Radharani is of Mahabhava Swaroopa and, therefore, she stands apart from others as the Chief Gopika.
Raadhika possesses infinite qualities prominent among them being twenty five, which includes chief among Krishna-priyas, soft-spoken, clever, and adept in classical form of music, Rasaswaroopa kind-hearted, owner of pious smile and unusual depth within. Her actions are borne out of desire to serve and please Govinda.
Surdas gives a loving detail of the first meeting of Radha and Krishna. One day Shri Krishna while engaged in the Bal Leela (childhood gesture) happens to reach the bank of Yamuna. He is surprised, as well as delighted, to find there a new face which was glowing with supreme beauty. Krishna, left dumb struck by such a beauty could not resist himself from asking her name, “I have never seen you before in Brija.Who are you?” he asked. “Why should I come to ever come to Brija, I have too many friends to play with at my place. I have come to know that Nanda’s son is a big trouble-maker who excels in the art of stealing,” she shot back. Krishna, determined to get her company said, “What do you possess that I am going to steal from you and which you fear to lose? Come let’s play together. We would form an excellent pair.” Poor Radha she didn’t realize that what she was going to lose—heart the most valuable possession of any woman.
The conjugal relationship between Radha and Krishna is pinnacle of Madhurya Bhava (the bliss oriented state). At this point it is necessary to mention that Parmatma (Supreme Self) is one-without-a-second! Therefore no leela (divine act) is possible in this state. In the madhurya bhava, Nirguna Parabrahman is supposed to have a form with which a bhakta can establish a relationship. Gradually moving through five principle bhavas a stage comes when a bhakta cares little for worldly obligations and principles. This is the peak point popularly known as “Kanta Bhava’in Vaishnava literature. Something that separates Rasa leela from ordinary leelas is whereas the former takes place at yoga maya level, the latter is performed at Mahamaya level (highest plane of consciousness). Surdas considers total surrendering and forgetfulness of body consciousness essential for maturity of Madhurya Bhava. Bhagvan Ramakrishna said, “I have spent a few days in Radha Bhava. On those occasions I use to dress like woman. It is indeed impossible to sing the glory of Radha who is embodiment of refined virtue and supreme love.”
Gross mundane realities prevent us from having a glimpse of Rasa leela of Radha and Krishna but bhaktas like Surdas are always absorbed in their Madhurya. Explaining the reason of deep love between Radha and Krishna Surdas cites chidhod fancies. He feels a bond of friendship formed in the childhood contains in it the seeds of deep love, which under favourable circumstances get converted into life-long commitment. Gaudiya cult provides an absolutely a different explanation. Here love already exists in their hearts and its growth is not dependant on outside influences. Similarly Radha conceived by Chandidas is too sensitive whose heart aches on hearing the name of Madhava.
Perhaps differences in their outlook are the result of bhava that captivated their hearts, which is in each case unique. So Radha of Surdas has egocentric tendencies. She not only humiliates Krishna but even rebukes him on trivial issues. So what if in isolation she weeps for Krishna, her heart always aching for intimate moments. It is this duality in her behavior and paradoxical approach that keeps Krishna guessing whenever He meets her. On the other hand, Vidyapati’s Radha too has ego but it subsides when she faces Krishna. Radha perceived by Chandidas is completely devoid of ego. She neither reacts nor retaliates but remains absorbed in His thoughts.
Vaishnavaas have carved unique image of Radha, which has no parallel. It is so because Vaishnavas don’t consider Bhakti to be bhava, Bahakti is ‘Rasa’ to them. Though Radha does not figure in clearly in Bhagavat Purana, she is the prime character of Brahma Vaivarta and Padma Purana. Jaideva’s appearance on the scene in 12th century makes Radharani comes into limelight. It is believed that these two Puranas and Geeta Govinda of Jayadeva established her as paragon of love and virtue. But it was Nimbakacharya who first revealed philosophical aspects of Shri Radha’s various dimensions. Lord has two powers namely Kriyashakti (power to perform) and Gyanaskati (power to seek knowledge). Satyabhama (Bhudevi) represents the former while the Rukamani(Sridevi) stands for the latter. In Radha, these two powers get unified and she thus becomes Parashakti (supreme power) of the Lod. In this form these two powers attain a non –dual relationship with the Lord but in their individual state retain their particular relationship. Thus, exists a distinction when one fails to identify with Sri Radha. Sri Nimabakacharya provides a much elevated status to Radha. She becomes Bhakti or Brahman Vidya (Knowledge of self) which liberates jeeva from bondage of Maya. In other words, she becomes a Supreme Master.
Shri Krishna, who always remains one with her, is called “Atma Rama”. Krishna states in Padma Purana: ‘Know Radhika to be best of teachers of the Highest Knowledge—Knowledge of Brahman.’ Let us pray that she appears on the earth again and again. If Radha arrives how can Krishna remain far behind? May we get devotion for her so that our hearts get purified to receive her grace. And, thus, we become one of the participants of ever happening grand ‘Rasa leela of Radha and Krishna ’.
Some Popular Bhajans Associated With Her:
The messages of Krishna offer great solace to us in present times marred by confusion and disorder of worst types. I know it’s one of the easiest tasks to read the great words. It’s proper reflection and subsequent action plans that really matters in the long run. However, such shortcomings on part of human beings do not make these words lose relevance. Even a casual approach on our part while dealing with these pearls of wisdom proves to be a meaningful gesture.
A beginning is something that really matters. It’s better to be part of the journey than remain always trapped in a statue mode. In most cases, the beginning is often in the form of casual interactions with words spoken by enlightened souls. Have you noticed that when we are journeying we often read great messages posted on walls of railway stations? You are in great hurry but even then these words manage to catch your attention. From that very moment a reflection takes place birth inside your mind which if given conscious direction on part of us could lead to miraculous transformation.
So on this occasion when the world is celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna, let’s try to reconnect with Him for one more time via his messages. In lighter vein, Lord Krishna is representative of Absolute Self that’s above birth and death, and still we celebrate his birth with great fanfare. But is it that easy to keep the great charmer Krishna away from one’s life whose very name means the one who has power to attract us-the attractive one?
In the end, I wish to quote the words of Sri Aurobindo Ghosh to make us aware of the worth of messages spread in The Bhagavad Gita. According to Sri Aurobindo Ghosh one should always remember Krishna’s teaching because it ensures “perfection of action. It makes man great. It gives him the utter strength, the utter bliss which is the goal of life in the world.
na tyajyam karyam eva tat
yajno danam tapas caiva
-Bhagavad Gita 18.5
“Acts of sacrifice, charity and penance are not to be given up; they must be performed. Indeed, sacrifice, charity and penance purify even the great souls.”
kascid yatati siddhaye
yatatam api siddhanam
kascin mam vetti tattvatah
- Bhagavad Gita 7.3
“Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.”
gatir bharta prabhuh saksi
nivasah saranam suhrt
prabhavah pralayah sthanam
nidhanam bijam avyayam
- Bhagavad Gita 9.18
“I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the witness, the abode, the refuge, and the most dear friend. I am the creation and the annihilation, the basis of everything, the resting place and the eternal seed.”
ananyas cintayanto mam
ye janah paryupasate
yoga-ksemam vahamy aham
- Bhagavad Gita 9.22
“But those who always worship Me with exclusive devotion, meditating on My transcendental form—to them I carry what they lack, and I preserve what they have.”
tvam aksharam paramam veditavyam
tvam asya vishvasya param nidhanam
tvam avyayah sasvata-dharma-gopta
sanatanas tvam purusho mato me
- Bhagavad Gita 11.18
“You are the supreme primal objective. You are the ultimate resting place of this entire universe. You are inexhaustible, and You are the oldest. You are the maintainer of the eternal religion, the Personality of Godhead. This is my opinion.”
yam hi na vyathayanty ete
so ’mrtatvaya kalpate
-Bhagavad Gita 2.15
“O best among men [Arjuna], the person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and is steady in both is certainly eligible for liberation.”
daivi hy esa guna-mayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te
- Bhagavad Gita 7.14
“This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.”
tam eva saranam gaccha
tat-prasadat param shantim
sthanam prapsyasi sasvatam
- Bhagavad Gita 18.62
“O scion of Bharata, surrender unto Him utterly. By His grace you will attain transcendental peace and the supreme and eternal abode.”
The lovers of this singer, like always, would pay customary tribute to this multifaceted singer Kishore Kumar on his birth anniversary, which falls on August 4. It’s really strange that people ignored in their own life times or, for that matter, people who get subjected to humiliation of all sorts while they are alive, attain exalted position after death. It’s pretty hard to analyze the behaviour of worldly souls. Kishore Kumar, attained legendary status during his life time. Nothing strange, after all, he was actor, singer, producer and director par excellence. He did full justice to the various roles he came to play. Let me state that I am not much impressed by folks working in world of cinema but then how can I ignore some real good souls, who provided this fascinating medium a great height? Above all, I feel it’s need of the hour to resurrect the images of people grossly misunderstood in their own life times. That’s the most ideal way to pay tribute to these great souls.
Kishore Kumar was fully aware of nuisance created in his name. That’s why he openly confessed that “world hails me as mad but I feel that world has gone mad. I wish to make it clear that I am not that mad as assumed by some sections of the society.” He was really hurt by the gossip stories, shared by the pervert minds behind his back. He always wondered what made people enter in falsehood and cheap stories about a person whom they knew nothing much other than that he was a good singer? Anyway, I must say that such gossips and stories tell less about him but revealed lot about the mindset of persons involved in them. “When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.” (Wayne Dyer)
This theory that he was mad was circulated by one lady journalist, who had come to take his interview, living alone at that time. To prove his point that he was not all alone, Kishore introduced this lady journalist to trees and flowers, whom he treated as best friends. This lady presented this gesture in all wrong way suggesting that he spent long evenings with his arms entwined around them! One can imagine how simple facts get twisted to create bizarre stories about this very simple and honest person, trapped in the deceptive world of cinema. He always cursed himself that he became part of this medium, which survived on cosmetic gestures. It’s amazing that many know him as money crazy soul, forgetting the cruel gestures of producers who made him sing the song but never bothered to pay in time. When he introduced tough measures to ensure timely payment he was declared money crazy. That’s so nasty, isn’t it?
He was in many circles accused of not taking enough care of Madhubala. Well, very few knew that he was not only fully aware of her fatal disease when he came to marry Madhubala but also spent 9 long years with a bed ridden wife, taking her care in all the ways possible. All this he did amid many professional obligations, which in crazy world of movies, had to be fulfilled in time. Talking about cause of his separation with one of his wives, actor Shammi Kapoor, revealed that Kishore was not entirely wrong in divorcing his wife. After all, if the wife remained away all the time, on one pretext or another, is there any point in staying with that wife?
Let’s acknowledge his singing abilities. He was so humble could be gauged from the fact that he had no shame in accepting that he knew nothing about singing and thing like classical singing was beyond his singing ability! Contrast this remark with remark of R D Burman who said that “Kishore’s voice was the best voice for songs having classical touch”. When he was asked to sing “Mere Naina Sawan Bhado” he had refused to sing it, stating that it was a very tough song not on par with his vocal chords. Anyway, he made Lata to sing it first and then came to sing it just the way sung by Lata after rehearsing her version for many days. The famous Ghazal Singer Pankaj Udhas, throwing light on Kishore’s sense and sensibility, said,” We know Kishore as man capable of singing fun-filled songs in great style. However, Kishore also sang some very serious numbers. That’s ample proof of the fact that inside his child like heart, there were traces of deep seated sadness.” The celebrated Bhajan singer Anoop Jalota feels that such a great singer appear once every 500 years. According to him, a singer should be a good actor to do full justice to any movie song. That’s the reason why Kishore not only sang well songs picturized on him but also sang to such perfection songs picturized on other actors that it appeared as if actor himself was singing the song. The unusual range of his vocal chords could be known from the very fact that on one hand, he sang “Ek Chatur Naar“; on the other hand, we find him singing “Koi humdum na raha” with such sadness that it fills our heart with deep pain.
In the end, it would not be out of tune to say that let’s stop judging the worth of creative souls via our limited perceptions. These creative souls are often very sensitive souls, who reside on higher plane of thoughts. Our limited understanding of them and their works often leaves such soul in great pain. Instead of highlighting our ignorance, it’s better we truly honour them by taking care of their great works in a genuine way. I can hear Kishor Da singing “Hum Laut Aaayenge Tum Yun Hi Bulate Rahana” (I would surely return..Just keep on calling me back). So do you hear my calls, Kishore Da?
The passing away of Rajesh Khanna makes all sensitive souls very sad. He should have lived for some more years on this planet. In India, they say people used to live for more than 100 years in ancient times. The people are dying at a very young age nowadays. We have been witnessing the passing away of creative souls at frequent intervals since last year- Jagjit Singh, Shahryar, Ravi, Shri Lal Shukla, Shammi Kapoor, Hanuman of modern times Dara Singh and now Rajesh Khanna. It appears that heaven badly needs creative artists to entertain its own residents, and thus, be it a singer, writer or actor, all are slowly getting placed in heaven one by one. Anyway, the death of Rajesh Khanna makes me realize that death is really the great leveler. It leaves none. It cares a damn for stature.
Rajesh Khanna provided death a new meaning in his timeless classic movie “Anand”. The movie highlighted the theme that death is an insignificant drama. However, today when he has passed away, it’s pretty hard to keep emotions in check. The Hindi movie landscape’s first superstar has now become a sweet memory as the presence now gets limited to magazines, books and movies. I really don’t know what are the elements involved in the making of a superstar but I am aware of the fact that his charishma in 70s left both young and old spellbound. Male newborns got named Rajesh, a new hair style came into existence and the frenziness found in every woman’s heart attained new height. The arrival of angry young man Amitabh Bachchan soon eclipsed the magic of Rajesh Khanna, but by then Rajesh Khanna image has attained some sort of immortality.
The early phase of all great actors had been a roller coaster ride. Rajesh Khanna proved to be no exception. The leading actresses of those days refused to work with him and well known directors failed to take note of him. His early movies did not create a desired effect. When Shakti Samanta narrated him the story of Aradhana, he noticed that Rajesh Khanna did not seem to be much impressed. After all, it was a female oriented movie, in which the hero died during the middle of the movie. It was no less a herculean task for Shakit Da to make Rajesh Khanna see light at the end of the tunnel. However, very few can predict the course of destiny. The movie, which in eyes of Rajesh Khanna, offered no better prospects not only proved to be a milestone in history of Indian movies but also gave Hindi movie world its first superstar. That’s the only logic which governs Bollywood- success appears like appearance of cascade in barren land. It defies all established rules. A female oriented movie gave Indian movie landscape its first male superstar!
Interestingly, the other dominant trend which defines Bollywood is that superstars rarely know real acting or, for that matter, are rarely offered roles that involve some real shades of acting. That’s so evident if one has witnessed acting skills of present “Khan Brigade”. They develop some lovable styles but they rarely come to act. The only superstar that can act a bit, Amitabh Bachchan, too feels that he never got an opportunity to reveal interesting shades of acting. All the time he remained engaged in “dhishum dhishum” (fight scenes)! Anyway, destiny smiled on Rajesh Khanna once again when he got opportunity to show his acting skills in some movies having substantial plots. It’s really curious coincidence that it was Hrishikesh Mukherjee, known for his simplistic take on serious issues, who came to provide both Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan some good opportunities to strike a bonhomie with various shades of acting. In fact, they both came to work together under his direction in Anand and Namak Haraam. Anand turned out to be a huge success. In fact, the character played by Amitabh, Babu Moshay, became a household name. The plot of Anand revolved around the philosophy found in the Upanishads that there is no such thing as death. Death is not an end but a new beginning. In other words, it taught the art of living, reminding us that laughter is the best medicine. After all, we rarely come to live life in a proper way. The movie made it clear that death is final drama, which paves the way for soul’s fresh journey with new set of cloth in form of a new body! Rajesh Khanna depicted this art of living in an unforgettable way.
However, let’s not forget the role which Kishore Kumar, Mukesh, R D Burman, Salil Choudhary, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Anand Bakshi, Laxmikant Pyarelaal, Hemant Kumar, Sahir and Khaiyyam played in shaping the course of success for Rajesh Khanna. It’s an undisputed fact that Kishore Kumar played the most significant role in making Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan careers attain starry heights. It’s also a proven fact that both of them lost their star appeal, when Kishore Kumar stopped singing for them in last stage of his singing career, due to health reasons. The romanticism demonstrated by Rajesh Khanna and machoism exhibited by Amitabh were heavily dependent on voice of Kishore Kumar! His voice acted as most suitable medium for them, which earlier provided new heights to Dev Anand. I am sure had Kishore been missing, Rajesh Khann would have failed to locate “Mere sapno ki Rani“. Tanuja would have maintained safe distance from Rajesh Khanna had Kishore not turned out to be “Dil ke Chain“. This song “Ye Jo Public Hai Ye Sab Jaanti Hai” became the most popular idiom to make a remark on the shady affairs in the world of politics and business. Another song from the same movie Roti “Gore Range Pe Na Itna Gumaan Kar” transcended generations to influence the fate of every fair skinned Indian girl.
May his soul rest in peace. The people who have moved ahead in this eternal journey, never travel backwards. They simply live inside our heart and minds as sweet memories. This line which forms the part of song picturized on him expresses this sentiment so well: “Kuch Log Jo Ek Roj Bichud Jaate Hai Wo Hazaro Ke Aane Se Milte Nahi“. Anand never dies. He always manages to be back on earth’s playground to play the game of life with a new face.That realization is bound to make one smile even as the eyes remained moist with tears. It makes reunion with Rajesh Khanna-a good soul-a great possibility. By the way, let’s not forget Rajesh Khanna’s words said to Pushpa In Amar Prem: ” Pushpa, I hate tears”.
1. Mere Naina Saawan Bhado ( Mehbooba )
2. Kuch To Log Kahenge (Amar Prem)
3. Zindagi Pyar Ka Geet Hai (Souten)
4. Hazaar Rahe Mud Ke Dekhi (Thodi Se Bewafai)
5. Vada Tera Vada (Dushman)
6.Sajna Saath Nibhana (Doli)
7. Pyaar Deewana Hota Hai (Kati Patang)
8. Ye Reshmi Zulfein (Do Raastein)
9. Jeevan Se Bhari Teri Aankhein (Safar)
10. Zubaan Pe Dard Bhari Daastan( Maryaada)
11. Wo Shaam Kuch Ajeeb Thi (Khamoshi)
12. Yun Hi Tum Mujhse Baat Karti Ho (Sachha Jhootha)
13. Mere Dil Me Aaaj Kya Hai (Daag)
14. Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaayein (Anand)
15. Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana (Andaaz)
A lot depends on how the song is picturized. I love this song not only for beautiful verses by Majrooh Sultanpuri, excellent composition by R D Burman, terrific singing by Kishore Kumar, but also for its mesmeric picturization. Absolutely stunning romantic song picturized in a perfect setting. A meaningful one as well. The verses are not only talking about romance in some absurd way like “Tum mujhko chand laake do” (get the moon for me) but they are having a take on it in a balanced way. The movie was full of typical Bollywood elements ( and that’s why I don’t like this movie) but the songs stand apart.