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Rambling on: baba bullay shah

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

baba bullay shah

I was finally successful downloading the sikh guy who had covered a bullay shah classic "bulla kee jana main kon"....i have already shared my disgust about junoon making a mess of this, so when i first listened to this sikh guy, who is a delhite by the name of rabbi shergill, i was in for a pleasant surprise...the track is actually quite simple, a lot easier on the ears than ali azmat...i just do not get the junoon sufi rock just died its logical death with the band's breakup, brian and salman now back to the US where they will be much happier....ali azmat will get plenty of gigs locally, the paktel jingle, (dil to aik hay) one of the most expensive in pak history being the case in point....

now on with the business of the day contains the kafi in its original

here is a translation i got off the web...

Bulla Ki Jaana Maen Kaun Says Bulla,
who knows who I am!
I am not in the mosque of the believer,
Nor in false rites.
I am not in the pure or the impure.
Neither Moses nor Pharaoh.
Says Bulla, who knows who I am!

I am not in the vedas or holy books,
Not in drug or wine.
Not in the drunkards wasted intoxication,
Not in wakefulness or sleep.
Says Bulla, who knows who I am!

I am not in sorrow nor in joy,
Neither in clean nor unclean.
I am not water, I am not earth,
I am not fire, I am not air.
Says Bulla, who knows who I am!

I am not from Arabia or Lahore,
Nor from India or Nagaur.
Neither a hindu or muslim from Peshawar,
Nor do I live in Nadaun.
Says Bulla, who knows who I am!
I cannot be unearthed in the mysteries of religion.

I was not born of Adam and Eve.
I am not the name I assume.
I am not in stillness, not in movement.
Finally, I only know myself.
I cannot know any other.
Who could be wiser than I?
Bulla asks, who then, stands here?
Says Bulla, who knows who I am!

the track itself is very simple guitar and vocals full of passion

unlike ali azmat who sound like cat paws against a slippery slide.....


Blogger Ejaz Asi said...

Many ppl believed Junoon helped promoting and further developing Sufi poetry into masses which is something God knows how true. I believe if the lyrics didn't use the word "bullheya", there would be only handful people who knew the origin of the words. Another thing I don't understand why and how someone could sacrifice the context and beauty of great piece of poetry at the cost of music, time and may be commercialism? Notice, what Junoon did to Khudi, Saaqi Nama and even Meekal Hasan skipped many important verses from Amrita's "Waris Shah" and suddenly people would start nodding their heads ecstatically but little did they understand the context around the lyrics which Amrita Pareetam wrote on the scenes of 1947 partition.
So, a fine line can be seen there: Commercialism and silent and yet more mature music such as Pathanay Khan, Abida Parveen and so on. Anyone can tell the difference between the difference of qawwalis Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan did in over three decades i.e. commercial nature or non-comm. ones.
Ahemm would you mind sharing the download you referred to in your post :P

5:15 PM  
Blogger Ejaz Asi said...

and btw, I was being shown a recent book on Dargahs of India and sacred tombs of many sufi saints and mosques. The book was commissioned, compiled and produced by some foreign writers, I reckon. Anyone who's been fond of visiting such sacred places can only loathe this hefty 4000/- Rs. priced book which shows faces of "pretenders" rather than followers at such places or still better the actual dargahs.
Can Kamran Khan really cover US suburban and social issues even after a year long research in US? think. HSBC had a tremendously beautiful tagline to its services: Never underestimate the importance of local knowledge. The same happened with Junoon who might have read or heard about Bulleh Shah or Hazrat Iqbal few times before they took that journey into so called sufi-rock genre.

5:20 PM  
Blogger Deevaan said...

ejaz, i can relate to your feelings...look for my blog with link details and other feedback

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been looking for the translation of this great piece. Didn't know it was written by a sufi saint which clearly explains why and how such great stuff. Thanks for sharing the resource.

5:45 PM  
Blogger jaywalker said...

I'd say that unlike other poetry commercialized by the bands, "Iko alf teray darkar" was sung quiet beautifully by Junoon. It's in the same album; yet the masses have hummed "kee jana main kon" but not "ilmo bas karay o yaar, iko alf teray darkar" which proves that it's less commercialized and thus, well treated.

Personally, I don't think that bands are to be blamed for this. They are after all trying to do something different that earns them money and fame. It's the masses who make a thing "a hit" and it's their ignorance that might hurt you.

It should be an open world and we should have choice.

On a side note, I believe that Tina Sani's work on Faiz in one of its kind and it's a treasure for people who like Faiz. You have the right to differ.

5:03 AM  
Blogger Deevaan said...

hi jaywalker, thanks for dropping by...i agree with you that we have the choice of listening to different artists/bands meting out treatment to each kafi in their style...about Tina Sani she has evolved over a period of time...some of the Faiz tracks she has covered she has done complete justice to are indeed memorable...that she has vocal limitations is another matter...but again it comes down to the matter of choice as correctly highlighted by you....

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dude..i aint to punjabi but i loved the song. dunno what they meant googled and found yr my bliss will be complete if i find an mp3 of the song..oops..i didnt say the song did i..its bulla ki jaana mein kaun..finally a song from the punjabis that doesnt go balle balle..hehe..where do i find the mp3..the link is inactive/doesnt work where u said u found it..

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Delhi in the winter introduced me to Abida - intoxicating... I heard Rabbi Shergill - Bulla ki Jaana...I am hooked on - I googled and ended up here - can anybody give me some links for Sufi poetry / music...and also mysteriously - the mp3 for Bulla ki Jaana has disappeared from all sites I know off...

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rabbi shergill,the sikh guy who sang Bulla ki jana is going to be on zee music today,25 dec 7 pm....

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Junoon has nothing whatsoever to do with Sufism of any persuasion: They have merely created a Sufi masquerade. Anyone singing highly egotistical poetry of Allama Iqbal and passing it off as an example of tasawwuf has to be either remarkably innocent or wilfully ignorant. But then anything goes in the name of Sufism. Moreover the Junoon voices are unmusical (their lack of musical training shows ever so glaringly), their orchestration below par. They have been extremely lucky - that's the most charitable comment one can make about them.

Sukhbir Garewal

10:31 PM  
Blogger Deevaan said...

dear sukhbir, i agree with you...based on my limited reading of iqbal i do feel that the real iqbal has never been allowed to emerge as a popular moderate voice that it is...hence he is a caricature left to the devices of politics...this is why junoon covered the poem that has been used for political reasons to embibe a sense of nationhood based on religion...junoon covering iqbal does not consititute sufi music...junoon doing a below-average job of bullay shah is basically an admission of their lack of me sufi music is best when it is pure and simple...a harmonium and tabla at best...then when you have street wandering performer like pathanay khan singing sufi poetry then you can easily relate to it because the distinction between the artist and art is lost...

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

get the link

Get it while it's there...


12:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

get more info here


12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is the site from where you can dwnld Bulla Ki Jana song :


3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been trying to find out the lyrics (hindi/english)of this beautiful song but havent suceeded so far if ne of u guys knw lemme know plz..

1:37 PM  
Blogger Deevaan said...

hi anonymous...if you notice my blog..i have given the link to the lyrics in punjabi...the english translation also comes from the same apnaorg site...can you advise what it is, that you did not find in my blog...both punjabi and english links are given...infact i stand accused of reproducing a "bad" english you go on google and type bad translation and sadly you get diverted to my blog :)

2:34 PM  
Blogger Wicar Akhtar said...

WOW !!!!

5:56 PM  
Blogger PICASSO said...

I had heard the Junoon version before ofcourse, but hearing the Rabbi version made me look up sufi-ism, sufi poetry, Bulleh-Shah's biography (articles about it), and an explanation of this kafi by Bulleh Shah. I have been overwhelmed! Thanks Rabbi!

If anyone's interested i can share the links to where i've been reading up. Just ask here on Deevan's blog.

Thanks Deevan, I downloaded the mp3, and now i'm hosting it myself also in order to share with my friends.


11:25 PM  
Blogger M.Imran Butt said...

well we are talking about two different versions of expressions. Sufiasam and music. well there is a bridge among these two but be careful try not to mix these two realities. Ali Azmat song is his way of expressing what was written , he left the suspence i guess for listeners to explore more and make him commericailly strong. The Way Ali Azamt and his band fellows are doind in making the bloody money , i guess the world shall see that they shall Go down one day and who knows that it is in the result of twisting the Reality poetry. With Due apology to all concerned.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous borat said...

bulla ki jaana is beautiful..both the poetry by Baba Bulla Shah and music rendered by Shergill..btw for all my subcontinental friends the hindi song "chaiyya chaiyya" has also actually been adapted by Gulzar from a poem by bulla is "Zeehal-e-masti" from Ghulami..ive listened to a lot of sufi qawali by ustad nusrat fateh ali khan..junoon doesnt even come close..forget commercialism, even if junoon were to put all their efforts into coming up with one rendition, it would still be far from authentic..there's a reason why junoon performs at universities in the U.S. but will never be seen at a sufi dargah, unlike any true sufi musicians..
oh and just a side note..isnt' posting the mp3 link on this blog stealing music? go buy the cd if u love it so much, please.

9:20 AM  
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6:43 AM  
Anonymous Muhammad Farhan said...

I would say that no matter how things are treated ... things written by spritual poet never lose the message and the heart touching attraction in them. I listen to Bulleh by Junoon and it was first time I was introduced by the voice of my own heart. So I would appreciate Junoon's work on this, Although they have not sung the complete Kalam but part of it, dont know the reason.

11:51 PM  
Anonymous Muhammad Usman Ali Abid said...

I Liked the Kalam of Bulla and i read comments about People saying that Junoon(AZMAT ALI) Introduced that but i think they never i heard them but i never knew that it was a Sufi Kalam..I knew it when i heard it on by ABIDA PARVEEN and i loved it and i read Bulla ki Jana mai Kon from the same Website and i m with the Sikh Guy who sang it.. But i think the Thing Common in Both these Bands is this that they both sang these for themselves for there Names for getting famous not for Introducing Sufi Kalam or let me know have they sang any other Sufi Kalam After that????

1:26 AM  
Blogger Murali said...

nice to read the entire song in english. i have listened to another version of the song sung by Wadali brothers. Thats when i understtod the beuty of the song.

PICASSO can you tell me where you got the explanation of the kafi.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to disappoint many of the Bhullay Shah diehards here, but "Bulla Ki jana" is largely plagiarized from the original sufi poet, Rumi's Divan-e-Shams...

Read and compare:


What is to be done, O Muslims? for I do not recognize myself.
I am neither Christian, nor Jew, nor Magian, nor Muslim.
I am not of the East, nor of the West, nor of the land, nor of the sea;
I am not of Nature's mint, nor of the circling heaven.
I am not of earth, nor of water, nor of air, nor of fire;
I am not of the empyrean, nor of the dust, nor of existence, nor of entity.
I am not of India, nor of China, nor of Bulgaria, nor of Saqsin
I am not of the kingdom of 'Iraqian, nor of the country of Khorasan
I am not of the this world, nor of the next, nor of Paradise, nor of Hell
I am not of Adam, nor of Eve, nor of Eden and Rizwan.
My place is the Placeless, my trace is the Traceless

8:23 AM  
Blogger Saif Ali said...

I actually liked Junoon when they came out with their album. but then again, those times I didnt listen with a critical ear.

but this interested me ...
"Anyone who's been fond of visiting such sacred places can only loathe this hefty 4000/- Rs. priced book which shows faces of "pretenders" rather than followers at such places or still better the actual dargahs."

this time when I was back in Delhi and feeling the need to reconnect with my roots freshly back from the first world ... I discovered that the cow pen at the back on Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah was actually the tomb of Mirza Ghalib. I stared open mouthed for a minute before I could believe that. so .. i dont really have a point. just the event speaks for itself.

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Sabeen said...

Okay, this might not have anything to do with music or stuff. But I was just surfing wikipedia about Hazrat Bulleh Shah, and it said k he was a descendent of Prophet Muhammad [pbuh]progeny... Now that's something thats really shook me. Even his face brings tears to the eyes. I swear !

11:45 PM  
Blogger Sufi said...

Well, all Saiyeds, Syeds are decendents of Prophet Muhammad. If you looking closely at Sufi circles, you will notice that they are decendents of Prophet Muhammed.

Naqshbandi, Chisti etc etc. I am a mureed of Shaikh Nazim and he has been a great inspiration and guidance for me in my life.

Check out my Sufi Blog at

9:54 AM  
Anonymous ari said...

here's a thought: can we,without judging junoon or rabbis version of Bulleh Shahs poetry, understand the meaning and depth of what Bulleh Shah tried to preach? and do we really need the help of music to send its message across?
because at the end of the day, if you realise the humanity and the acceptance of different religions,castes etc and the different layers behind the song, i think that surpasses the much argument over who did a better rendition...
''Bulleh Shah's mysticism is the assertion of the soul against the formality of religion, His is the eternal yearning of the human soul to have direct experience of Divine Reality.'' writes ks duggal
(couldnt agreee with him more).
If we come even a little closer to what he felt or how he thought...we have then surely attained a right to be called sufi critics or well whatever that is that we want to call ourselves...

A question: Rabbi's other song called CHhALLA...has anyone heard it?? its a masterpiece too...does anyone know if thats his own lyrics or somebody elses...thank you

12:21 AM  
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