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Rambling on: Searching for God

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Searching for God

Thanks to some websearch, I have chanced upon a Punjabi poem by Faiz on Youtube (performed & improvised by Atif Aslam) and on Mr Kidvai’s blog (performed by Tina Sani). It is called Rabba Sacheya (My True God)

Naqsh-e-fareeyaadi includes Faiz’s Punjabi poems & the chronological order is right in line with the comment on that Faiz only wrote in Punjabi after 1971.

Previous to Rabba Sacheya, I was only aware of “kidray na paindeeyan dasan, vay pardaysee-ya tarayee-aan” thanks to Arshad Mehmood & Nayyara Noor’s collaboration in the 70s. Also a bit of “Punjabi Kisaan kay Leeyay” [Uth utaan noon jatta, marda kyon jaeen] a theme common in Rabba Sacheya

Despite the fact that this book has not left my bed side bookshelf for last 20 years, I missed to recognize the beauty of Rabba. Perhaps my handicap that Punjabi is not my mother tongue and that I belong to a generation that has come to appreciate poetry only after it is sung & recorded by an artist of repute

Why Faiz did not produce more poems in Punjabi beats me. There is a earthy texture that can only be felt when the poet articulates the feelings in his native language

Rabba Sachiya too tay Akhiya si
Ja Oye Bandiya Jug Da Shah hai.n Too.n
Sadia.n Naimta.n teria.n Dolta.n Nai.n
Sada Naib tay Alijah hai.n Too.nm

Aes Larey Tay Tor Kud Puchiya Iy
Kee Iss Nimanay tey bitiya.n nay.n
Kadi Sarwi layi O Rab Sayi.n
Teray Shah Nal Jag ki Kitiya.n
Kithay Dhons Polis Sarkar di
Kithay Dhandli Patwar Di
Enwai.n Hudda.n ich Kalpay Ja.n meri
Jeewa.n Phahi ich Koonj Kurlaondi Ay
Changa Shah Bnaya ei Rab Sayia.n
Polay khandiya.n War na Ayo.ndi ay Shahi nai Chah-e-di Rab meray
Mai.n tay Izzat da tukkar mangna ha.n
Menu Tahng nai, mehla.n maria.n di
Mai.n tay Jeewa.n di Nukkar Mangna ha.n

Meri Mannai.n tay tairia.n mai.n manna.n
Teri Soh.n Jay ik wi gal mora.n
Jey Ayeh nai Pujdi ta.n Rabba
Fair mai.n Jawa.n Rab koi Hor Lorra.n

For a larger view of the poem in arabic script, readers can refer to

Thanks to the brilliant people at who would have us know that
“of all his Punjabi poems, Rabba sachya is the best example of poetry with a purpose. It is a complaint quite different from the one Allama Iqbal made to God. The poem evokes a strange feeling and passion wherever it is recited:
Rabba sachya toon tay akhya si
Ja oay bandya jug da shah ain toon
Sadian naimtaan tairian daultan nay
Sada naib tay alijah ain toon Ais laaray tay tore kad puchhyai
Keeh ais namaanay tay beetian nay

(O God the Truthful you had said
Go O Man, you have been made king of the world
My bounties are your treasures
You are my deputy and viceroy
After sending me with this promise have you ever asked
What has transpired with this poor thing?)

Then he enumerated in the poem the problems of immediate concern to a Punjabi peasant:

Kithay dhauns police sarkar di ay
Kithay dhaandli maal patwaar di ay
Anvain haddan wich kalpay jaan mairi
Jeeven phahi wich koonj kurlandi ay
Changa shah banayai rab saiyaan
paulay khandyan vaar na aundi ay

(Somewhere there is the terror of police people
Somewhere there is fraud in the revenue department
My soul is shackled in my bones
like a squeaking lark caught in a net.
Dear God what a king you made out of me
I can't count the number of beatings that are given to me)
Then in a fit of frustration he concluded that "if You can't look after me then I should search for another God for myself."

Tina Sani’s version is brilliant as she performs without instruments and it must have been recorded by Mr. Kidvai at The Second Floor in Karachi. This is Tina at her very best

What can I say about Atif Aslam. Any popular artist who covers Faiz’s Rabba Sacheya and Shah Hussain’s Maee Nee Main Kinoon Aakhan deserves credit for courage

Atif’s version takes a departure from the original. I wonder if the lines that he has added are his own or some other poet


Blogger Raza Rumi said...

9:09 PM  
Blogger TS said...

I was probably going to leave some deep, thoughtful comments; but, having failed the word verification several times, I have now forgotten it all. All I can remember is this
"He was a hard-headed man, he was brutally handsome
And she was terminally pretty"

7:42 AM  
Blogger Deevaan said...

yes, i hate this word verification thingie too; please don't remind me of songs in which there are terminally pretty dames holding up handsome dudes for ransom in the fast lane. Coming back to the track Rabba Sacheya, what is interesting is the use of punjabi words like izzat da tukar [a morsel of dignity if you may] or mainoo shahee naeen chaeedee which a realistic way of looking at things....

11:52 PM  
Blogger TS said...

"izzat da tukar [a morsel of dignity if you may]" - well I interpret that as (a morsel of) food earned/gained with dignity; Same meaning as 'izzat di roti' - what do you think?
And now the struggle with the verification.

6:05 AM  
Blogger Deevaan said...

You are spot on. BTW, I am posting this response from T2F, network at office not working and this place is 10minute drive from work. You would like this place

3:01 PM  
Blogger Manpreet said...

THanks for sharing it in such a beautiful way Naveed. I loved the last line the best,
"Fair mai.n Jawa.n Rab koi Hor Lorra.n"
The defiance suddenly turns the tables on the smooth humility that has developed till this line.
I salute your effort to bring it out for us.

10:51 PM  

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