Asha sang to suit different moods

THIS refers to M. L. Dhawan’s “Evergreen Asha” (Spectrum, September 10). Asha Bhosle has been a versatile singer who has reinvented and moulded her voice to suit different moods and situations. Besides the songs mentioned, one can never forget the everlasting appeal of the waltzing number Aage bhi jane na tu, peechhe bhi jane na tu she sang under music director Ravi from Waqt.

Similarly, she sang great duets Maang ke saath tumhara and Urein jab jab julfein teri, qwarion ka dil machle with Mohammad Rafi in Naya Daur. And the coquettish number Mera naam chin-chin chu baba chin-chin chu from Howrah Bridge created a niche.

All these and Isharon-Isharon mein dil lene wale bata ye hunar tune seekha kahan se in Kashmir ki kali and the soulful ghazal Bekhudi hadd se jab gujar jai from Kalpana were great artistic creations under the baton of inimitable O. P. Nayyar who gave Asha her place next only to Lata.

Her duet with Kishore Kumar Yeh raatein yeh mausam nadi ka kinara yeh chanchal hawa from Dilli Ka Thug was very melodious. Again Tora man bara paapi sawaria re in Gunga-Jamuna under Naushad and Aah dil se dil milale, oh rasia man basia from Navrang under Vasant Desai presented a different Asha. Her singing of ghazals under the direction of Khayyam in Umrao Jaan was nothing but poetry on celluloid.

H.S. SANDHU, Panchkula


By citing various songs and using a variety of epithets, M. L. Dhawan has paid accolades to the legendary singer. The charm of her seductive voice has been amply explained by the author.

However, Asha rendered a few memorable plaintive numbers as well. Geet kitne ga chuki hun is sukhi jag ke liye, aj rone do mujhey pal ek apne bhi liye, and the doleful song in Bandini: Ab ke baras bhej bhaiyya ko babul sawan mein leejo bulaye re are heart-rending even today.

Asha’s talent cannot be justifiably evaluated or reviewed without taking into account sonorous but sad songs and duets like the one with Talat: Haseen chand sitaron ka vasta aa ja.


Allama Iqbal was against pluralist society

THIS refers to Bilal Ahmad Shamim’s letter “Allama Iqbal not against pluralist society” (Sept 3). By quoting the Allama’s couplet Hai jo peshaani pe Islam ka teeka Iqbal /Koi Pandit mujhey kaihta hai to sharm aati hai in my letter (June 25), I wanted to point out that, despite being a scion of a Hindu family, he was a devout Muslim.

The writer has unnecessarily remarked that Sikhs are enraged on being called a part of Hindus. Iqbal clearly averred that his forefathers were iconolaters.

He said: Main asal ka Somnaati / Merey aaba laati-o-manaati (Laat and Manaat were the names of two images).

In a Persian verse, he asserted that there was no other so highly enlightened Muslim in India as he was despite having descent from Brahman ancestry (Mara bingar ke dar Hindustan deegar namey beeni / Brahman-zaadaee ramz-aashna-e-Rume-o-Tabrez ast).

Iqbal was a staunch protagonist of pan-Islamism. Rejecting the doctrine of composite culture, he propounded a clear concept of two-nation theory and wanted a separate homeland for Indian Muslims. According to Firaq Gorakhpuri, who himself was a poet par excellence, Iqbal considered the love of country “as something satanic”. But the alternative is not love of humanity nor identification wih humanity as in Tagore, but love of an identification with the Muslim world. The ‘millat’ was every thing and the superman was the man of Islam or “mard-e-momin...”

In his poem Shikvah, Iqbal expostulated with God on bestowing His favours on non-Muslims (Raihmatein hain teri aghyaar key kaashaanon par / Barq girti hai to bechaarey Musalmaanon par). The Muslims lost their case about Gurdwara Shaheed Ganj, Lahore, which they claimed as a mosque, in the Punjab High Court.

The Allama declared that if the All-India Muslim League resorted to direct action to regain it, he would be the first man to sacrifice his life. Yet, the writer thinks that Iqbal was not against a plural society. There is, however, no doubt that he was the greatest poet after Ghalib.



Sacred heritage

This has reference to “Sikhism is eco-friendly” by Prabhjot Singh (Spectrum, August 20). I visited an exhibition on Sikh shrines named after native species of trees in Delhi recently.

The photographs displayed in the exhibition reflected Punjab’s sacred heritage. It is a unique work of environmental significance. D.S. Jaspal deserves praise for presenting us with captivating documentation and capturing on film 17 species of trees that have 48 of the most sacred Sikh shrines named after them.



This refers to Crossword (Saturday Extra, Sept 2). Item No. 17 down “Amen” means “May it be so!” and not “It is so”. Kindly see Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, Sixth edition, 2000, and 5th impression, 2001, page 36 (paperback). Reference may also be made to Lughat Kishori, 1951 edition, published by Munshi Tej Kumar Press, Lucknow, page 43, where the word means, “Khuda yun hi kare.”




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