9 comments on “Voice of Farida, Face of Madhubala

  1. One of my favoorite ghazals, pictures of my favourite heroine, sung by one of my favourite singers = total pleasure!

  2. Glad you like it, Bawa. :)

    I was listening to a lot of Farida Khanum last night and very much enjoying it. You have the added advantage of knowing the ghazals and what they mean, but it’s still a big pleasure for me too.

  3. not a bad translation of aah jane ki zid na karo is here

    Farida Khanum is quite a lady and a great performer, even sitting down! And she has always appeared and sung exactly as she likes, regardless of fashion.

    And somewhere in this 7-part programme, there are nice clips of old Pakistani singers. The programme itself commemorates PTV’s 42 years as a spoof: TV heads over the years are seen coping with the continual political change, interlaced with corresponding clips.

  4. Bawa, thank you for the TV clips. Of course, outside of the songs, there isn’t much I can get out of these, but the song clips are certainly nice.

    I have to admit that the clips on YouTube of Noor’s patriotic songs, especially with all the pictures of Pakistani army guns and tanks that always appear in them, have never ranked among my favorites. I guess I need more “context” on these. I much prefer seeing/hearing Noor sing Faiz poems in defiance of a ban by the right-wing military government.

    Thanks also for the translatiion of the ghazal.

    The past couple of days, I’ve been reading a volume of David Barsamian’s interviews with Tariq Ali. There are a couple of places where Tariq talks about poetry’s great significance in the “Arab and Muslim” world and he goes on to remember the huge crowds and great enthusiasm at poetry readings he attended while growing up in Pakistan. I’ve known about this phenomenon for a while, but it was fun reading his description:

    In the Arab and Muslim world, you have poetry readings attended by tens of thousands. I would go to poetry readings that would start after dinner, about 10:30 pm, and still be under way when it came time for breakfast. By morning, we were just swaying with the rhythm of the words…

  5. Richard, yes there is a lot of talking unfortunately not subtitled. They take digs at all the different regimes in Pakistan, for instance when Bhutto came into power with a socialist agenda (always welcome) the director is insisting that every programme should have “food, clothes & house” theme in it…and one of the play-writer says, “I am filming Anarkali, how can I fit those things in there..” and several ironic suggestions by others as to how it could be achieved.
    They also go through all the confusion created with the creation of Bangladesh, when TV suddenly had to remove references to & people from East Pakistan, causing all sorts weird anomalies and about-takes. Shahnaz Begum had sung that extremely popular patriotic song (non warlike) and there was dilemma whether to keep playing it (she was bengali) and apparently it was decided that yes, since the lyricist was from real W Pakistan.
    When Zia and Islamic regime came in, it was things like a-woman-head-should-be-covered-at-all-times that were major issues, and led to some resignations and the sari disappeared, and trousers became a total no-no for women on tv. Of course, no one even dared to suggest to Noor Jehan, Farida Khanum, or Tahira Syed to cover their heads or stop wearing a sari (Noor & Farida always have worn a sari).
    I don’t like all those tank songs either, militarism is not for me, but I remember were songs created on both sides for the 65 & 71 wars, both of which I have lived through, but have only vague memories of the former, and very clear ones of the latter, and I do not wish war upon anyone.. Punjab was one of the places where it actually took place, whereas for a large part of the country it was only through the press.

    Mushaira’s can still be huge affairs, and draw large crowds. There are several on youtube, but never subtitled. In fact, the prime-time slot for a poet reciting in a mushairas is in the early hours of the morning, when the best ranked may appear, and many may sulk if they have been put in too early!

  6. Thank you Richard, its a great channel, and I hadn’t come across it before!

    In turn, you might like this, although Bhai Baldeep Singh concentrates on old Sikh and Punjabi heritage, he is also very interested in discovering old folk instruments of any kind, restoring them, or rebuilding them, and making a library of their players…..has a lot of very ambitious plans.

    Apart from Sikh kirtan, there are some lovely instrumental recordings of less well-known instruments on his youtube channel


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