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Different Flavours One Essence – Kaahe Ko Byaahi Bides – Amir Khusro

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When we think of weddings and specially Indian weddings, it is a kaleidoscope of vivid shades of bright colours, rich couture, ethnic jewellery, food that would suffice any gourmet, in all it is an exemplar of celebration, fun and gaiety. The highlight of these weddings being the rituals followed according to various traditions. But the crowning moment of this merrymaking is farewell to the bride or as we say bidai, it transforms the atmosphere into a sombre one. A girl leaving her parents’ house. The place where she played, grew up with her siblings, nurtured with the love of her dear parents, suddenly seems to be going away from her, she becoming an alien to that part of her world. The apprehension of going into a new world without her loved ones and the angst of leaving her loved family behind somewhat becomes torturous for her. A torment to her young mind and a punishment to her heart which weeps for her family.
Amir Khusro has penned this very passionate expression of grief, the complaining, moaning heart of a girl, in his poem Kaahe Ko Byaahi Bides. As the original lines go –

Khwaja ji,
Sun li hamre jiyara ki peerh,
Ankhiyaan se bahe hai neer
Kāhe ko byahe bides
Arre lakhiya babul more
Kahe ko byahe bides
Hum to babul torey, bele ki kaliyan
Arre ghar-ghar maange hai jaaye
Lakhiya babul more
Kaahe ko byahe bides
Hum to babul tore angan ki chiriya
Arre chuge, piye, urr jaaye
Lakhiya babul more
Kaahe ko byahe bides
Hum to babul tore, khute ki gaiyya
Arre jid haanko hakjaaye
Areh lakhiya babul more
Kaahe ko byahi bides
Takh bhari mein ne guriye jo chhori
Arre to chhora saheliyon ka saath
Lakhiya babul more
Kaahe ko byahe bides
Mehala tale se dola jo nikala
Are biran ne khaayi pachhad
Lakhiya babul more
Kaahe ko byahe bides
Doley ka parda utha ker jo dekha
Na babul na babul ka des rey
Lakhi babul more
Kaahe ko byahe bides
Bhaiya ko diyo babul mehala do mehale
Areh ham ko diyo pardesh re
Lakhiya babul more
Kaahe ko byahe bides
Ghar se tou kayila hum ke vida,
Arre Jiyara se na kariyo judaa,
Lakhiya babul more
Kaahe ko byahe bides
Khusrau kehat hai, Ae meri laado
Arre dhan dhan bhag suhag re
Lakhiya babul more
Kaahe ko byahe bides

An extremely popular wedding song in a Braj dialect by Amir Khusro, brings forth the plea of a daughter to her father. He has described the situation with certain simple metaphors where the daughter compares herself to one of the non essential objects of the house. This immortal poem of Khusro has been chosen by many singers of all the genres from films to qawwali to sufi. Picking different stanzas or going through some variation in lyrics, giving different flavours to this gem yet the essence remains same.
The article highlights some known and some lesser known versions of this Khusro Delight used in Hindi film genre.

1. Umrao Jaan (1981) – Rendered by Jagjit Kaur, this version happens to be the most famous one in the film genre. Put to tune by Khayyam, the original lyrics have been retained but only a few a stanzas taken in the song.

2. Heer Ranjha (1948) – This early version of song came out in 1948, rendered by the nightingale herself. Retaining the initial lines in the song, rest of the lyrics are changed and written by Wali Sahab. But the essence of the song remains same.

3. Suhagan (1954) – This film starring Geeta Bali, had its own version sung stoically by Asha Bhonsle. The music given jointly by Vasant Desai – C. Ramchandra. Lyrics of rest of the song are by Ehsan Rizvi.

4. Aadha Din Aadhi Raat (1977) – Lyrics modified by Anand Bakshi, music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, this is another Asha Bhonlse version. Though the song is picturised as a mujra genre, the essence is remains the same.

5. Nadir Shah (1968) – A Suman Kalyanpur version, reshaped by Majrooh Sultanpuri and set to tune by S.N. Tripathi. Suman Kalyanpur is accompanied by her younger sister, Shyama Hemadi (Chittar) in this song.

6. Suhaag Raat (1948) – A forbearing Mukesh version, one can see a very young Geeta Bali in the song. Music by Snehal Bhatkar, the song has original Khusro lyrics.

Avid music lover and Dev Anand fan

4 Comments

  1. anand vardhan

    November 7, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    ENJOYED ALL VERSIONS OF LEGENDARY SONG PENNED BY AMIR KHUSRO BY VERSTILE SINGERS TOUCHING TO THE CORE OF HEART SO TRUE.

    • Deepa

      November 15, 2016 at 7:58 pm

      Thank you!

  2. Madan Gopal Goel

    December 4, 2018 at 9:02 am

    excellent article..enjoyed the songs

    • Deepa

      December 4, 2018 at 11:21 pm

      Thank you 🙂

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