Friday, 17 February 2012

Bullah ki Jaana

Ahh… Those were the days! back when mobile phones with FM Radio were slowly penetrating in to the lives of people and feeding their irresistible craving for good music. No one would have ever imagined that a day would come when the world of radio could be explored while jogging in the park, sitting in a bus, working in office or leisurely lying in the bed. 

A couple of years ago it was undoubtedly a luxury to have a mobile phone with radio feature in it. I remember how excited we were when a cell phone cum mobile radio entered in to our life. Since my sister was looking for a job then and she had to provide her contact number to consultancies, my father brought her a very basic model of Nokia mobile with a radio player in it. But no it wasn’t just hers! It as much belonged to us as to her. 

Rahul and I would always grab it for listening to some good Hindi songs and sadly Rashmi would rarely get a chance to fiddle with it. It sounds funny now but at that time it was a serious issue for us that for how many hours each one of us would be carrying it.

For Rashmi it was a necessity but for us it was an absolute luxury. From morning till evening, Rashmi would be the undisputed owner of it (as that was the time she could get job related calls) and in the night it would be our property. Rahul loved checking out the ringtones on it and listening to them zillions of times. 

We would lie down together in bed, share the ear buds, and stay half-awake till wee hours of morning while enjoying the musical bliss. We were completely addicted to it. I was not supposed to change the channels as it was Rahul “the Boss” who would decide, which FM channel should be tuned in. Because of this, we would have serious cat fights involving kicking, slapping, and screeching in the midnight. 

Our choice of music was not that similar but there were couple of songs, which we would savour together to bits. And one of them was “Bullah Ki Jaana Mein Kaun” which not only had floored us with its crisp and catchy tune but everyone across the nation . Released in 2005, “Rabbi” was the debut album of Gurpreet Singh Shergil (aka Rabbi) who became an overnight star and a popular name in music industry. 

With pleasant and heart throbbing songs like “Tere Bin Sanu Soneya” , “Heer”, “Totia Manmotia”, “Jugni”, “Ek Geet Hijar Da”, and of course, “Bullah ki Jaana”( which became the chart topper song of the year 2005), Rabbi gave a new look and feel to Punjabi music, which was way better and  beyond the clich├ęd “ Balle Balle”, “Bhangra Rap”, and Yo Baby numbers. He introduced music connoisseurs to the amazing fusion of Punjabi rock and Sufi music.

The song” Bullah ki Jaana” would be played umpteen times in a day by all the radio stations in Delhi. All our favourite songs had taken a backseat for a long time and Bullah became our best friends in Delhi’s long nights of power cuts, sultry summers and spine chilling winters. Rabbi’s powerful voice, hypnotic fusion music, great lyrics, and an amazing video had made this song an instant hit across the country. 

Most of the songs in “Rabbi” were composed by Rabbi himself except “Bullah ki Jaana, which is based on the kalam of venerated 18th century Muslim Sufi saint, “Baba Bulleh Shah” and “Ishtihar by famous Punjabi poet, late “Shri Shiv Kumar Batalavi”. Owing to its unprecedented popularity, “Bullah ki Jaana” was requested to be included in the movie “Waise bhi Hota Hai”. 

Bullah ki Jaana meaning” Bullah doesn’t know who I am “is one of the most known and sung poems of Bulleh Shah. Famous for his spiritual and metaphysical poetry, Bulleh Shah practiced Sufism. He was a swirling dervish who would go on dancing continuously till he attained the stage of divine ecstasy.  He beautifully expressed the relationship between man and god with his simple everyday language and symbols. 

In this particular composition “Bullah ki Jaana Mein Kaun “he wonders about the origin of mankind and also expresses his doubts about emergence of humans on Earth using himself as a metaphor. He reasons by referring to himself that one can never understand the purposes of existence, the laws of nature and one’s identity and place in this endless Universe. 

Here are the Punjabi and English lyrics to this mind-blowing song. Enjoy!

Bulleh! ki jaana maen kaun
Na maen momin vich maseet aan
Na maen vich kufar diyan reet aan
Na maen paakaan vich paleet aan
Na maen moosa na pharaun.

Bulleh! ki jaana maen kaun

Na maen andar ved kitaab aan,
Na vich bhangaan na sharaab aan
Na vich rindaan masat kharaab aan
Na vich jaagan na vich saun.

Bulleh! ki jaana maen kaun.

Na vich shaadi na ghamnaaki
Na maen vich paleeti paaki
Na maen aabi na maen khaki
Na maen aatish na maen paun

Bulleh!, ki jaana maen kaun

Na maen arabi na lahori
Na maen hindi shehar nagauri
Na hindu na turak peshawri
Na maen rehnda vich nadaun

Bullah, ki jaana maen kaun

Na maen bheth mazhab da paaya
Ne maen aadam havva jaaya
Na maen apna naam dharaaya
Na vich baitthan na vich bhaun

Bulleh , ki jaana maen kaun

Avval aakhir aap nu jaana
Na koi dooja hor pehchaana
Maethon hor na koi siyaana
Bullah! ooh khadda hai kaun

Bullah, ki jaana maen kaun

Meaning in English:

 Not a believer inside the mosque, am I
Nor a pagan disciple of false rites
Not the pure amongst the impure
Neither Moses, nor the Pharoh

Bulleh! to me, I am not known

Not in the holy Vedas, am I
Nor in opium, neither in wine
Not in the drunkard`s craze
Niether awake, nor in a sleeping daze

Bulleh! to me, I am not known

In happiness nor in sorrow, am I
Neither clean, nor a filthy mire
Not from water, nor from earth
Neither fire, nor from air, is my birth

Bulleh! to me, I am not known

Not an Arab, nor Lahori
Neither Hindi, nor Nagauri
Hindu, Turk (Muslim), nor Peshawari
Nor do I live in Nadaun

Bulleh! to me, I am not known

Secrets of religion, I have not known
From Adam and Eve, I am not born
I am not the name I assume
Not in stillness, nor on the move

Bulleh! to me, I am not known

I am the first, I am the last
None other, have I ever known
I am the wisest of them all
Bulleh! do I stand alone?

Bulleh! to me, I am not known


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