Category Archives: Rashid Khan

Yaad Piya Ki Aaye

Oh memories of my beloved haunt me! Alas, I cannot bear this grief! I am yet young but my bed is forlorn; my youth is passing by – Alas! The cuckoo, my enemy, coos his song. Bereft of my beloved, my heart burns. Yes, I am kept awake all night without my beloved! Alas!

GriefDoes grief bring forth song? The answer is yes, it can and does! Laments and dirges are expressions of grief in many societies. These are old ways from time immemorial; the bible refers to laments, as do the Vedas and ancient Greek books like the Iliad and Odyssey. I have read some death poetry of the Japanese, almost surreal and other-worldly. I have heard haunting Irish laments. I have heard Scottish dirges played on mournful bagpipes; a sound which makes the hair at the back of my neck stand! In India too, death can lead to song. In some Tamil communities, they (used to?) sing Oppari lamenting the dead. Do you remember the Hindi film Rudaali? That too featured a story of the professional mourners of Rajasthan who cried and sang laments for the dead. So yes, indeed, grief can bring forth song.

Today I present just such a song. It is  a Thumri but in essence, it is a lament.  Written by the great Maestro Bade Ghulam Ali Khan on the death of his wife who passed in 1932, it has certainly stood the test of time!  This is in the Punjabi  Thumri style, which is faster paced and sounds generally ‘lighter’ than traditional Thumris. Translated with a bit of artistic license, he says  ‘Oh memories of my beloved haunt me! Alas, I cannot bear this grief!’. He was only 30 when his wife died. ‘I am yet young but my bed is forlorn! Alas, my youth is passing by!’. Was he crying for himself or his wife? A bit of both, I think. ‘Bereft of my wife, my heart burns’ he says. See footnote for lyrics and translation. The song is set to the Hindustani raag Bhinna Shadaj. For those interested in the intricacies of this raga, there is an excellent article here.

Let us first hear the great Maestro himself who was and will always remain an iconic presence in the world of Hindustani Classical music. As the uploaded does not allow embedding, listen from 3:32 in the following link.

I was reminded of this song today by a live performance by Ustad Rashid Khan that I happened to watch on youtube recently. He has such an amazing voice! For me, this is the perfect classical male voice – rich and resonant, full-bodied with the undertones of a certain kharash, a certain texture. I could listen to him all day!

And lastly a very ‘light’ sounding version by another Ustad whom I have featured before, an Ustad who enchants me with his magical control over his voice. Here is Ajoy Chakrabarty with almost a playful rendition of this lament (listen to him cooing!) Note how beautifully he weaves in Basant Bahar towards the end. [Edit – Sigh, this video has disappeared from YouTube, I am saving this paragraph in the hope of finding it again] 

Footnote (Lyrics) :

Composer : Bade Ghulam Ali Khan
Raga : Bhinna Shadaj
Language : Hindi

याद पिया की आये
यह दुःख सहा ना जाये- हाये राम

बाली उमरिया सूनी रे  (alt: री ) सजरिया
जोबन बीतो  (alt: बीता) जाये- हाये राम

बैरी कोयलिया कूक  सुनावे (alt: सुनाये  )
मुझ बिरहन का जियरा जलावे (alt: जलाये )
हाँ पी बिन रैन जगाये (alt : पी बिन रहा ना जाये) – हाये राम


yAd piyA kI AyE
yeh dukh sahA na jAyE – hAyE rAm

bAlI umariyA sUnI rI sajariyA
jOban bItO / bItA jAyE – hAyE rAm

bairI koyaliyA kUk sunAyE
mujh birhan kA jiyarA jalAyE
hA.n – pI bin rain jagAyE (alt: rahA nA jAyE ) – hAyE rAm


Oh memories (yAd) of my beloved (piyA kI) haunt me (AyE = come)! Alas (hAyE rAm), I cannot bear (sahA na jAyE) this grief (dukh)!

I am yet young (bAlI umariyA) but my bed (sajariyA) is forlorn (sUnI);
my youth (jOban) is passing by (bItO jAyE) – Alas (hAyE rAm)!

The cuckoo (koyaliyA), my enemy (bairI), coos (kUk sunAyE) his song (implied).
and burns (jalayE) the heart (jiyarA) of (kA) me (mujh), the bereft (birhan).
Yes (hA.n)  – I am kept awake (jagAyE) all night (rain) without (bin) my beloved (pI) ! Alas (hAyE rAm)!
(Alt: I cannot bear to be without my beloved!)


Filed under Ajoy Chakrabarty, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Hindustani Classical Music, Rashid Khan



It is the night before the great battle. Brother was going to be pitted against brother, disciples against their gurus, sons against their fathers. On such a night, Lord Krishna, the divine charioteer, advices Arjuna, our hero, to pray to Goddess Durga to achieve victory over his enemies (Bhishma Parva, Section XXIII of Mahabharata).

Arjuna creates this beautiful hymn, the third verse of which is –

कात्यायनि महा-भागे, करालि विजये जये,
शिखि पिच्छ-ध्वज-धरे, नानाभरण-भूषिते।।

O Durga! Great Being, fierce bestower of victory! O Personification of victory! You who bear a banner of peacock plumes, you who are bedecked with every kind of ornament!

The fourth and fifth verses are given below. Bombay Jayashri has sung them in her album Salokyam with slight differences.

अट्टशूलप्रहरणे  खड्ग-खेटक-धारिणे,
गोपेन्द्रस्यानुजे ज्येष्ठे नन्द-गोप-कुलोद्भवे||

She who wields a lofty spear, the holder of sword and shield, born as the younger sister of the chief of cow-herds (Lord Krishna), eldest child of the family of the cowherd Nanda.

महिषासृक्-प्रिये नित्यं कौशिकि पीत-वासिनि
अट्टहासे कोक-मुखे, नमस्तेऽस्तु रण-प्रिये||

She who is fond of buffalo’s blood, born of Kushika’s clan, draped in yellow garments. She who laughs aloud, is wolf-faced (legend of killing of asuras in the form of a wolf). I bow to you who are fond of battle.

The Goddess grants Arjuna a vision and blesses him. A beautiful and powerful sloka, it is a prayer to Shakti (power and potency).

I normally do not like my classical music to be messed with; I like its purity, its ageless quality so I don’t take to fusion music. Yet the music I have selected today falls into that category. It is a beautiful combination of two Voices (capital intended) which stroke every sensory input that you could have as a human. The song is titled Katyaayani and it is by Bombay Jayashri in Raga Durga and Ustad Rashid Khan in Raga Charukeshi. To learn more about the raga Durga, click here. To learn more about Charukesi, click here.

Bombay Jayashri’s album Salokyam has her singing Katyaayani Maha Bhage with more traditional accompaniments. Listen to track 5  here to appreciate her beautiful voice.


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Filed under Bombay Jayashri, Carnatic Music, Compositions in Sanskrit, Hindustani Classical Music, Rashid Khan

Listening to: Jab We Met (2007)

I am a pushover for Romcoms. There, I’ve said it! I would rather see a nice romcom than an intellectually enlightening or thrillingly action-packed or deeply moving film. Yeah, I’m low-brow, and happily so! It’s true that in the hope of finding a ‘Notting Hill’ or  a ‘For Weddings and a Funeral’, I sit through hours of trashy films. Especially trashy Hindi films as Bollywood churns out many films in this genre. When I do come upon a well-made romcom, its such a thrill !

Jab We Met is one such film. There is a good story line, the lead pair are young and good looking, they act their parts convincingly, the supporting cast is equally good, there are many humourous moments and a few touching ones. And most importantly, there is very good music and a couple of excellent song-and-dance routines. Shahid Kapoor is no doubt one of the best dancers in the business, its a pleasure to watch him move and Kareena is a natural in front of the camera.

The music by Pritam is young and energetic, in keeping with the spirit of the movie. The guest track by Sandeep Shandilya (Aoge Jab Tum) is actually my favourite track in the film, given my weakness for classical music and a deep admiration for Rashid Khan’s voice. The lyrics by Irshad Ali meet the demands of the songs quite adequately.

  • Hum jo chalne lage – Shaan. A lilting tune and Shaan’s gentle voice makes this very pleasant to listen to. Smile
  • Nagada Nagada – Sonu Nigam. A Bhangra number, I start bouncing up and down in my seat every time I listen to it and smile remembering Shahid’s much nicer dance moves. Thank you song for cheering me up every time! Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Yeh Ishq Hai – Shreya Ghoshal. Perfectly suited for the character portrayed in the film, the music is good and Shreya sings fabulously. I like the lyrics too.Open-mouthed smile
  • Aoge Jab Tum – Rashid Khan. I was seriously addicted to this song for a while. I think it is fabulous. Rashid Khan’s voice is glorious. I am a Fan!  Lyrics are lovely too. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Tum Se Hi – Mohit Chauhan. Again, the director has chosen the right voice for this song. I am not a Mohit fan but he does sing this well.  Smile
  • Mauja Hi Mauja – Mika Singh. Another Bhangra number, it will have you tapping your feet in no time. Open-mouthed smile

So today I present two songs : Nagada Nagada Baja by Sonu Nigam for the wonderful dancing by Shahid and Kareena and the sheer exuberance of of it all!

And the second song Aoge Jab Tum by Rashid Khan because I love it. See Kareena’s expression at 0:45 secs+ when it changes from pleasurable anticipation, to confusion and bewilderment, to sadness. This young woman has acted very well indeed!


Filed under Bollywood 00's Music, Rashid Khan, Sonu Nigam