duur tak yaad-e-vatan aaii thi samjhaane ko…

Some five years ago, I wrote this article on rec.music.indian.misc (RMIM) about a poem written by Ram Prasad Bismil. The article was written as The legend of Bhagat Singh and a few other movies on Bhagat Singh were about to be released. Here’s a reproduction of that article for my blog. My main reason to reproduce it here is simply to archive it. The post also has been slightly modified from its original version that appeared in 2002 on the newsgroup RMIM.
—————–

Ram Prasad Bismil. A revolutionary poet, friend to Shaheed Bhagat Singh and leader of the famous Kakori Rail Dacoity Case. He doesn’t need much introduction (if u do need more info, read at: http://www.freeindia.org/biographies/freedomfighters/bismil/). Him and his brave friends contributed in getting us what we cherish in our motherlands: Freedom. Ram Prasad Bismil didn’t only use revolutaniory tactics to resist the British Raj, he also used his pen, writing words that stir the deeply rooted feelings of patriotism in all Indians.

He is most famous for his ghazal:

“Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mei.n hai,
dekhna hai zor kitnaa baazuu-e-qaatil mei.n hai”

a beautiful ghazal expressing a great sentiment. What the young man had in his heart, the maqta of this ghazal says it all:

“ab na agle valvale hai.n, aur na armaano.n kii bhii.D
sirf miT jaane kii hasrat ab dil-e-‘bismil’ mei.n hai”

Can any sentiment ever be greater than the one for your motherland? (a very subjective question of course!)
Here’s a transliteration of a poem attributed to Bismil entitled: “duur tak yaad-e-vatan aaii thii samjhaane ko”.

Before heading towards the nazm, here’s a bit of tid-bits about some songs that have appeared in Hindi Film Industry that perhaps took some sort of inspiration from this nazm by Bismil. A song from the movie Andolan:

“dar-o-deevaar pe hasarat se nazar karate hai.n
Khush raho ahl-e-vatan ham to safar karate hai.n”
(from the movie Andolan, 1975).
The lyrics of this song were fully posted in that thread by Arunaba Shasanka Roy on RMIM several years ago, the lyrics of that song were pretty much all from the poem that follows, penned by Ram Prasad ‘Bismil’. Geet Kosh Volume 5 accurately credits the lyrics to ‘Bismil’ as well.

According to a post from Ashok also on RMIM, there are two other instances where the second misra was succesfully adapted, another example is in the movie Baaz, lyrics Majrooh, song title: mujhe dekho hasarat kii tasaviir huu.N mai.n. The misra in question appears as: “Chalaa mai.n to ahal-e-vatan khush raho tum ”

At the end of the poem, I have given a small glossary which I hope will help people understand the poem.

haif ham jispe ki taiyaar the mar jaane ko
jiite jii hamane chhu.Daayaa usii kaashaane ko
kyaa na thaa aur bahaanaa koii ta.Dapaane ko
aasmaa.n kyaa yahii baaqii thaa sitam Dhaane ko
laake Gurbat mei.n jo rakkhaa hame.n tarsaane ko

phir na gulshan me.n hame.n laayegaa saiyaad kabhii
yaad aayegaa kise yah dil-e-naashaad kabhii
kyo.n sunegaa tuu hamaarii koii fariyaad kabhii
ham bhii is baaGh me.n the qaid se aazaad kabhii
ab to kaahe ko milegii ye havaa khaane ko

dil fidaa karate hai.n qurbaan jigar karate hai.n
paas jo kuchh hai vo maataa kii nazar karate hai.n
Khaanaa viiraan kahaa.n dekhiye ghar karate hai.n
khush raho ahal-e-vatan, ham to safar karate hai.n
jaake aabaad kare.nge kisii viraane ko

na mayassar huaa raahat se kabhii mel hame.n
jaan par khel ke bhaayaa na koii khel hame.n
ek din kaa bhii na ma.nzuur huaa bail hame.n *
yaad aayegaa aliipur ka bahut jel hame.n
log to bhuul gaye ho.nge us afasaane ko

a.nDaman Khaak terii kyo.n na ho dil mei.n naazaa.n
chhake charaNo.n ko jo pi.ngale ke huii hai jiishaa.n **
maratabaa itanaa ba.Dhe terii bhii taqdiir kahaa.n
aate aate jo rahe ‘baal tilak’ bhii mehamaa.n
‘maa.nDale’ ko hii yah a’izaaz milaa paane ko
(Bal Tilak was in a prison named Mandale between 1908-1914)

baat to jab hai ki is baat kii zidde.n Thaane.n
desh ke vaaste qurbaan kare.n ham jaane.n
laakh samjhaaye koii, usakii na harGiz maane.n
bahate hue Khuun me.n apnaa na Garebaa.n saane.n
naasehaa, aag lage is tere samjhaane ko

apnii qismat me.n azal se hii sitam rakkhaa thaa
ra.nj rakkhaa thaa, mehan rakkhaa thaa, Gam rakkhaa thaa
kisko parvaah thii aur kisme.n ye dam rakkhaa thaa
hamne jab vaadi-e-Gurbat me.n qadam rakkhaa thaa
duur tak yaad-e-vatan aaii thii samjhaane ko

ham bhii aaraam uThaa sakte the ghar par rah kar ***
ham bhii maa.n baap ke paale the, ba.De duhkh sah kar
vaqt-e-ruKhsat unhe.n itnaa bhii na aaye kah kar
god me.n aa.nsoo jo Tapke kabhii ruKh se bah kar
tifl unko hii samajh lenaa ji bahlaane ko

desh-sevaa kaa hii bahataa hai lahuu nas-nas me.n
ham to khaa baiThe hai.n chittaur ke ga.Dh kii qasame.n
sarafaroshii kii adaa hotii hai.n yo.n hii rasame.n
bhaale-Kha.njar se gale milate hai.n sab aapas me.n
bahano, taiyaar chitaao.n me.n ho jal jaane ko

ab to ham Daal chuke apne gale me.n jholii
ek hotii hai faqiro.n kii hameshaa bolii
Khuun me.n phaag rachaayegii hamaarii Tolii
jab se ba.ngaal me.n khele hai.n kanhaiyaa holii
koii us din se nahii.n puuchhataa barsaane ko

apanaa kuchh Gam nahii.n par hamako Khayaal aataa hai
maadar-e-hind par kab tak javaal aataa hai
‘haradayaal’ aataa hai ‘yuurop’ se na ‘laal’ aataa hai
desh ke haal pe rah rah malaal aataa hai
muntazir rahte hai.n ham Khaak me.n mil jaane ko

naujavaano.n, jo tabiiyat me.n tumhaarii khaTake
yaad kar lenaa hame.n bhii kabhii bhuul-e-bhaTake
aap ke juzve badan hove**** judaa kaT-kaT ke
aur sad chaak ho maataa ka kalejaa phaTake
par na maathe pe shikan aaye qasam khaane ko

dekhe.n kab tak ye asiiraan-e-musiibat chhuTe.n
maadar-e-hind ke kab bhaag khule.n yaa phuuTe.n
‘gaandhii aafriikaa kii baazaaro.n me.n sa.Dake.n kuuTe.n
aur ham chain se din raat bahaare.n luuTe.n
kyo.n na tarjiih de.n is jiine pe mar jaane ko

koii maataa kii ummido.n pe na Daale paanii
zindagii bhar ko hame.n bhej ke kaale paanii
mu.nh me.n jallaad hue jaate hai.n chhale paanii
aab-e-Kha.njar kaa pilaa karke duaa le paanii
bharne kyo.n jaaye.n kahii.n umr ke paimaane ko

maikadaa kiskaa hai ye jaam-e-subuu kisakaa hai
vaar kiskaa hai javaano.n ye guluu kisakaa hai
jo bahe qaum kii Khaatir vo lahuu kisakaa hai
aasmaa.n saaf bataa de tuu aduu kisakaa hai
kyo.n naye ra.ng badaltaa hai tu ta.Dpaane ko

dardmando.n se musiibat kii halaavat puuchho
marne vaalo.n se zaraa lutf-e-shahaadat puuchho
chashm-e-gustaaKh se kuchh diid kii hasarat puuchho
kushtay-e-naaz se Thokar kii qayaamat puuchho
soz kahte hai.n kise puuchh lo parvaane ko

naujavaano.n yahii mauqaa hai uTho khul khelo
aur sar par jo balaa aaye Khushii se jhelo
qaum ke naam pe sadaqe pe javaanii de do
phir mile.ngii na ye maataa kii duaae.n le lo
dekhe.n kaun aataa hai irshaad bajaa laane ko

Glossary:
haif = alas!
kaashaana = abode
mayassar = available, to get, possible
bail = The english word “Bail = zamaanat”
jel = Jail (english)
naazaa.n = to be proud of (adj.)
pi.ngala = a hindi word: a kind of tree, politics. The following comments were added by UVR sahib in original thread that appeared on RMIM and ALUP alt.language.urdu.poetry):

The word “pi.ngale” here refers to one Vishnu Ganesh Pingle, who, along with D. Chenchaiah, Kartar Singh Sarabha and Lala Hardayal, was one of the founders of the Ghadar (Revolutionary) Party. Later, people like Ramprasad ‘Bismil’, Ashfaqullah Khan, Chandrashekhar ‘Azad’, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru, Pandit Sohanlal Pathak, etc. became members of this militant freedom fighters’ party. Many ‘Ghadarites’ were put to death by the British or consigned to the rigors of ‘kaalaa paanii’ at Andaman. Kartar Singh was one of the youngest to be hanged. An interesting side note: Lala Hardayal was a visiting faculty member at Stanford University and Kartar Singh, Chenchaiah and Pingle were students at UC Berkeley at the time! The first issue of the Urdu weekly, “Gadar” [which was to later become the name of the party] was published from San Francisco! Many of the initial members of the Ghadar Party were Sikh ‘immigrants’ in America and Canada!

Several Ghadarites wrote poetry. It was their way of expressing their patriotism and in spreading their manifesto around amongst the hot-blooded young men (which is what most Ghadarites were). A lot of the poetry is in Punjabi, but a significant chunk (such as that by Bismil) is in Urdu. ALL of it uses bloody metaphors, makes frequent references to death (martyrdom) and war. These men didn’t believe that peaceful, non-violent means could lead to Independence.

** = jiishaa.n = the word was transliterated in devanagri as “ja – ii – sh – aa – .n” looked for it in the dictionary, couldn’t find the meaning of it… if any can can help me understand the word as well as the meaning of this line, it would be great.
martabaa = (martabaH) : Rank
a’izaaz = esteem award
naasehaa = (naaseH) Lecturer (someone who preaches, who shows the right way, who tells u whats the right thing to do…)
azal = beginning
mehan = sufferings
Gurbat = being far from one’s country or friends, a traveller in foreign land (also means poverty).
*** = This whole pargaraph, plus the two lines before it were recited by Manoj Kumar (using the background voice of Mahendra Kapoor) in the movie Shaheed (1965). This happens when Madan Puri (the jailor) tries to tell Bhagat Singh that he can put a stop to all the pain, all he has to do is just become the govt. witness. However, one of the lines appeared as follows: “Ham ko bhi maaN baap ne paalaa tha dukh sah-sah kar”. Whether the line in the movie was changed or whether the book from which I took this poem was changed, I can’t confirm either.
vaqt-e-ruKhsat = at the time of leaving
tifl = child
ga.Dh = Chittaur ka ga.Dh (the fort of Chittaur has perhaps witnessed the most bloody sacrifices and fiercest battles in the history of Rajasthan)
sarfaroshi = sacrifice, bravery, death for a good cause
bhaale-Kha.njar = daggers and spears
phaag = holi (Hindu festival of Holi)
malaal = grief, sadness
muntazir = one who waits
juzve badan hona = to be assimilated, to be digested
asiiraan-e-muiibat = I believe it means the problem of being captive
aab = water and also Sharpness of Sword, Brightness…
jaam-e-subuu = jaam aur suraahi
guluu = neck
halaavat = sweetness
lutf-e-shahaadat = the pleasure of martyrdom
chashm-e-gustaaKh = audacious eyes, arrogant, rude eyes..
kushtay-e-naaz = one who is killed by blandishment, lover, the word kushtah also means martyr
soz = burning, heat…. could also mean passion
irshaad = order… command..
Some more information about Pingale posted by Surajit A Bose in the same thread that might be of interest to some reading this poem out there:

As UVR pointed out, “pi.ngale” is Vishnu Ganesh Pingle. Both Kala Pani on Port Blair (where Pingle was incarcerated) and the prison in Mandalay, Burma (where Tilak was incarcerated) were “cellular” prisons, based on a conception of the utilitarian Jeremy Bentham. The prisons were so constructed that the prisoners could be under constant observation. Not that they WERE under constant observation–they just had no way of knowing at any given moment whether or not they were in
fact being observed, which has very interesting effects on their behavior and in some ways exerts more effective control than actual constant observation would do. (George Orwell’s dystopic “Nineteen Eighty-Four” maps out some of those effects, albeit in the frame of fiction.)
Bentham’s idea was that of a “panopticon” pan = everywhere; optic = to see; from the vantage point of their towers, the guards could see into every cell. For a fascinating discussion of Bentham, the panopticon, and prisons, see Michel Foucault’s “Discipline and Punish”. There’s a wonderful book waiting to be written on the implications of the fact that the British adopted such prisons for political prisoners in India, but post-colonial theorists, despite their allegiance to Foucault, don’t
appear to have made the connection.

12 thoughts on “duur tak yaad-e-vatan aaii thi samjhaane ko…

  1. The urdu word ‘jii-shaa-n’ (not ja-ii-sh-aa-n) means “self-conscious” or ‘khuddar’.
    Kindly view my blog KRANT and see the article Pt.Ram Prasad ‘Bismil’-A warrior of Pen and Pistol, where you will get English Translation of some of its stanzas don by me 26 years ago.
    My blog address is: krantmlverma.blogspot.com

  2. The meaning of these 2 lines:
    “The sacred dust paricles of Cellular Jail of Andaman, where B.G.Tilak was kept, has created a self-conscious in the heart of V.G. Pingle who was next to visit this holy place of landlovers.”
    I think now it is clear to you.
    Okay.

  3. The meaning of above 2 lines is:
    “The sacred dust paricles of Cellular Jail of Andaman, where B.G.Tilak was kept, has created a self-conscious in the heart of V.G. Pingle who was next to visit this holy place of landlovers.”
    I think now it is clear to you.
    Okay.

  4. Dr. Verma,

    Thank you for letting me know the meaning of “Jiishaan”. As far as my transliteration goes, “ja-ii- sh-aa-n” does not mean I meant “jaiishaan”, but the “ja” indicated the Hindi letter “ja”. That transliteration was simply meant to illustrate the spelling of the word in Devanagri not to illustrate the pronounciation of the word, which obviously, as I also indicated in my post is “jiishaaN” with a nasal “na” sound at the end to fit the meter.

    Now that I know what “jiishaaN” means, I think your interpretation of the couplet is slightly off.

    I also think there’s an error in the book. The couplet in the book appeared as:

    a.nDaman Khaak terii kyo.n na ho dil mei.n naazaa.n
    chhake charaNo.n ko jo pi.ngale ke huii hai jiishaa.n

    As this is literal transliteration, I think the word “Chhake” should have been “chhuke”

    And hence, the meaning should have been, “Andaman (the prison is being personified here), why shouldn’t your dust be sacred to me, the dust that has become alive (self-conscious does indicate being alive) or “khuddar” (which would mean proud) after touching Pingle’s feet”

    Now this makes more sense as there’s no indication in the couplet that it’s talking about creating pride, self-consciousness in the heart of Pingle, rather the fact that Pingle was incarcerated in that prison has turned the dust of the prison into something sacred, something proud.

    Thanks for commenting

    Amit Malhotra

  5. Mr Mehrotra!
    You are absolutely right. I endorse your interpretation.You have solved the problem by correction in the word ‘chhuke’ more appropriate ‘chhooke’ in stead of ‘chhake’ which was mis-spelled. This is very clear now.
    Thanks a lot for your creativity.
    Yours,
    Krant
    09811851477

  6. Respected Mr Mehrotra!
    In the year 1985 I had translated some famous poems of Pt.Ram Prasad ‘Bismil’ including this one. I was invited in Delhi to attend an International Symposium where I represented India a presented my paper on Bismil.These bilingual verses of Bismil were also produced and recorded in my voice. The notable laureates of the world appraised my work and encouraged me to work on Bismil. You may see these poems on English Wikipedia.
    With warm greetings,
    Sincerely Yours
    Dr.KrantM.L.Verma

  7. Hello Mr. Verma,

    Thanks for pointing me to your poems and translations. I’ll read them as soon as I get a free moment. In the mean time, please take note that my name, as typed in several places above, is Amit “Malhotra” and not “Mehrotra”.

    Thank you

    Amit Malhotra

  8. Respected Mr Amit Malhotra Ji!

    Please excuse me for typing the incorrect version of your esteemed surname. Since so many friends of mine are Mehrotras, hence the mistake occured by the way; in future I shall be ever cautious.

    Regards,

    Krant.

  9. Pingback: अमर शहीद राम प्रसाद ‘बिस्मिल’ की जीवन कथा ॐ . ੴ . اللّٰه . † भारतीय युवा क्रान्तिकारी संगठन (BYKS).... Bharatiya

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code class="" title="" data-url=""> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> <pre class="" title="" data-url=""> <span class="" title="" data-url="">