Nearly 12 months ago I posted a collection of ghazals. At that time the state where I live in Australia, Victoria, was emerging from several months of Covid lockdown. Here I am again, still in Victoria, and looking forward, again, to an easing of Covid lockdown restrictions this weekend. Though it will be several weeks yet till we who are vaccinated will be set free to roam the streets at will.
What a hellish two years these last 24 months have been. Australia, which prides itself on being a practical, decent and level headed country has completely ballsed-up the response to Covid. Where other countries have managed to start coming out the other end with high rates of vaccinations, we are stuck with a government that is ideological by reflex, corrupt by nature and incompetent in the extreme. Not enough vaccines for our population. Our most vulnerable still not vaccinated. And a country tearing itself apart in a nasty political and conspiratorial hothouse similar to the one unleashed by Herr Trumphf in USA.
So what better time, then, to sink deep into world of ghazalein?
This collection features a selection by artists both popular (Anup Jalota; Jagjit Singh) as well as highly sophisticated (Begum Akhtar; Farida Khanum), men as well as women and, Pakistani as well as Indian.
My favourite in this second volume is the title track, Yeh Arzoo Thi (I Wished) by Haidar Ali ‘Atish‘ and sung by the giant Amanat Ali Khan. The ghazal which was one of the most beloved of his repertoire is full of longing and regret and unrequited desire. The object of the singer’s words is ostensibly his beloved. But as in many such rhymes, the laments and pleadings are addressed also to that higher Love who controls everything and everyone in this world. And it is the following couplet which calls out to that higher Love that resonates most with me, at this time of ugliness and discomfort.
Na pooch *aalam-e-barghashta-taala’i ‘Aatish’
Barasti aag jo *baaraan ki arzoo karte
Don’t even ask about the ill fortune of “Aatish”
It rained fire when he wished for rain.
01 Kisne Meri Qabr Par [Live] (Anup Jalota)
02 Yeh Dil Yeh Pagal Dil (Ghulam Ali)
03 Raat Kya Kya Mujhe (Salamat Ali)
04 Awwal-e-shub Ho (Tahira Syed)
05 Dil ka Muamla Jo (Salamat Ali)
06 Lutf Woh Ishq Mein (Farida Khanum)
07 Loota ke Rah-e-Mohabbat Mein (Anup Jalota)
08 Dil Hi to Hai (Jagjit Singh)
09 Zindagi Kya Hai (Jagjit Singh)
10 Ab ke Tajdeed-e-Wafa. (Mehnaz)
11 Yeh Arzoo Thi. (Amanat Ali Khan)
12 Kaise Kate Din Ratia Balam Bin (Begum Akhtar)
13 Na Kisi ke Aankh ka Noor (Ijaz Hussain Hazarvi)