Open up your mind and your potential reaches infinity…

I grew up in the residential compound of the Kashmir University Campus and saw many of my dad’s friends visiting our home .

One such person was Jagannath Azad, an Urdu poet who lived in Srinagar Kashmir.

Once , in mid 1970s, while he was sharing some of his poetry at our place,  with my father, another friend Balraj Puri  and some other guests present, I barged into the room blurting out  some lame complaint about my brother.

I had interrupted  them so abruptly in the middle of the poetry recital, that I was instantly  rewarded with a good scolding from my father,  right there  in  public. I felt so let down that I started to howl.

In order to diffuse the embarrassment, uncle Azad ( as we called him), called me near him  and in  chaste urdu tried to explain to me,

” Beti aise guftugu ke darmiyan bolna,  dakhl dar maqoolat kehlata hai”.

I was barely  seven or eight years old,  I did not even get a tenth  of what he was saying.  And instead of heeding to his advice,  in a tearful state, I almost mindlessly fired another silly question,

“Uncle how come you know such hard urdu?”

What I had meant without saying in so many words was that Uncle you arent even a muslim, then how come you speak such good urdu?

He just smiled and looked at my dad in awe.

My dad got more furious at my audacity but seeing the situation tried to explain:

“You know this uncle has written the national anthem of Pakistan. “

The  uncle just gave half a smile, with a twinkle in his flooded eyes, and looked down. My father got up and gave him a hug.

I ran out of the room again playing and without realising what peice of information my dad had parted to me until just a few months ago when I read an article in Dawn about the controversy of the National Anthem.

And the whole story of my childhood flashed back at me.

However, seen him a number of times all these years, he was a man of few words, and whenever he spoke, it was mostly Urdu shayari. He was an extremely humble man too.

And from here the story of Pakistan’s first National Anthem formally begins:

It is said that the first national anthem was written by Jagannath Azad, a Hindu poet from Lahore who wrote on the personal request of Muhammad Ali Jinnah while he was working with the Radio when Pakistan came into being on August 1947.

Jinnah asked him to write the anthem on August 11, 1947 and it was later approved by Jinnah and used to be the official national anthem for the next year and a half.

According to Jagannath Azad, “The National anthem was written by me in five days time. It was too short time for me but I tried to do full justice to it keeping in mind the road map charted by Jinnah sahib for modern Pakistan.The national anthem was sent to Jinnah sahib who approved it in a few hours. It was sung for the first time on Pakistan radio, Karachi (which was the capital of Pakistan then).
Meanwhile the situation in both east and west Punjab was becoming worse with every passing day and the same set of friends told me in September 1947 that even they would not be able to provide protection to me and that it would be better for me to migrate to India. I decided to migrate to this side. The song written by me continued to be the national anthem for one and a half years.”

Balraj Puri claims that this version of the story is correct. To let the readers know a bit about Balraj Puri, Wickepedia describes him as:

“Balraj Puri is the leading Indian [[Pundit (politics)|Political commentator] and human rights activist. He is known for his impartial and objective views. Puri is the most widely published political commentator. In his 68 years of public career, he has played a crucial role in Indian politics. He mediated the famous 1975 Sheikh Abdullah-Indira Gandhi accord. He worked for communal harmony across India particularly in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. From India’s first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru to the present Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Puri is constantly consulted on various aspects of the Kashmir issue. He also played an important role in restoring peace in Punjab in 1980’s.”

The words are:

Aye sar zameen-i-Pak! اے سرزمین پاک
Zare tere hain aaj sitaron se tabnak ذرے ترے ہیں آج ستاروں سے تابناک
Roshan hai kehkashan se kahin aaj teri khak روشن ہے کہکشاں سے کہیں آج تیری خاک
Tundi-e-hasdan pe ghalib hai tera swaak تندی حاسداں پہ ہے غالب تیرا سواک
Daman wo sil gaya hai jo tha mudaton se chaak دامن وہ سل گیا ہے جو تھا مدتوں سے چاک
Aye sar zameen-i-Pak! اے سرزمین پاک
Ab apne azm ko hai naya rasta pasand اب اپنے عزم کو ہے نیا راستہ پسند
Apna watan hai aaj zamane main sar buland اپنا وطن ہے آج زمانے میں سر بلند
Pohncha sake ga is ko na koi bhi ab gazand پہنچا سکے گا اس کو نہ کوئی بھی اب گزند
Apna alm a hai chand sitaron se bhi buland اپنا علم ہے چاند ستاروں سے بھی بلند
Ab ham ko dekhtey hain atarad hon ya samaak اب ہم کو دیکھتے ہیں عطارد ہوں یا سماک
Aye sar zameen-i-Pak! اے سرزمین پاک
Utra hai imtehan main watan aaj kamyab اترا ہے امتحان میں وطن آج کامیاب
Ab huriat ki zulf nahin mahiv-e-paich-o-taab اب حریت کی زلف نہیں محو پیچ و تاب
Daulat hai apne mulk ki be had-o-be hisaab دولت ہے اپنے ملک کی بے حد و بے حساب
Hon ge ham aap mulk ki daulat se faiz yab ہوں گے ہم آپ ملک کی دولت سے فیض یاب
Maghrib se hum ko khauf na mashriq se hum ko baak مغرب سے ہم کو خوف نہ مشرق سے ہم کو باک

Aye sar zameen-i-Pak! اے سرزمین پاک

Apne watan ka aaj badalne laga nizam اپنے وطن کا آج بدلنے لگا نظام
apne watan main aaj nahin hai koi ghulam اپنے وطن میں آج نہیں ہے کوئی غلام
apna watan hai rah-e-taraqi pe tez gam اپنا وطن ہے راہ ترقی پہ تیز گام
azad, bamurad jawan bakht shad kaam آزاد، بامراد، جوان بخت شاد کام
ab itr bez hain jo hawain thin zehr naak اب عطر بیز ہیں جو ہوائیں تھیں زہر ناک
Aye sar zameen-i-Pak! اے سرزمین پاک
Zare tere hain aaj sitaron se tabnak ذرے تیرے ہیں آج ستاروں سے تابناک
Roshan hai kehkashan se kahin aaj teri khak روشن ہے کہکشاں سے کہیں آج تیری خاک
Aye sar zameen-i-Pak! اے سرزمین پاک

Courtesy: Omar Khalid Inc.


During a discussion on FB with someone from Pakistan, who claims to have studied it indepth and investigated, has this OPINION about the above claim :

“It’s all fake info, and radio Pakistan has denied it, ADC of Quaid-e-Azam denied that young man of age 29 can never met Quaid-e-Azam.I’m working on this story n i’m one of those people who have got the bottom line of this issue..and don’t mention Beena Sarwar, Ashfaq Naqvi, Luv Puri, Chandar k. Azad. I’ve talked to all of them n they don’t have any argument …”

”Yes he wrote a poem Aye sar zameen-e-Pak …that was sung from Radio Pakistan.. no doubt but he has one argument.. in ANKHEN TARASTIAN HAIN … his Autobiography…it’s not Pakistan who has denied it…even you can’t produce from Ahang…the official publisher of Radio Pakistan that publishes the whole script of daily broadcast..there is not a single proof …”.

I certainly do not know what is fake in this information. I do trust my memory, my ears and the uprightness of  uncle Azad I knew.  People who draw conclusions from history written in Pakistan, do they have an answer to the question:

Why did the National Anthem Committee (NAC), to have a new anthem, come up  3 months after the demise of Quad-e-Azam, and not in his lifetime? 

Any answers for that ?

P.S. Please follow this up with another related blog of what happened next:

Comments on: "Pakistan`s National Anthem by Jagannath Azad—TRUE or FALSE." (7)

  1. beenasarwar said:

    Thanks Ilmana, loved this post. How amazing that you knew him. He was such an incredible man by all accounts. His son Chander K. Azad sent me the tarana lyrics that I posted on my blog, and we met in Delhi later also. Here’s a link to related items on my blog

    • Beena he has another son who is a TV producer, Adarsh Azad, still lives in Jammu. And if I am not mistaken he was there too, in this meeting.

  2. lovely story ilmana jee ….. this and the mushaira clip beena jee put up are pretty conclusive…. The only thing that you may further want to check is your comment that the govt of pak started searching fr a new anthem AFTER jinnah sahabs death……i read somewhere today that the govt had placed an ad in the press about some private competition and prize money in june 1948 , when jinnah sahib was still alive …I had also read that jinnah sahab had selected dr azad for the national anthem on purpose as he belonged to a minority community …. in a way to reinforce his secular vision…..perhaps the great man , ailing as he was , was later persuaded to accept that a hindu who had already opted out of pakistan couldnt be credited as the creator of this task…. God knows…. yahan tou zia nain jinnah sahab ki historic speech ka mafhoom badal diya tha…..baicharay azad kya baichtay thay

  3. What an awesome video, courtesy Beena Sarwar for to have brought this to our notice. Jagannath Azad talking of his own writing the Qaumi Tarana at the age of 27.

  4. And now Shahvar Ali Khan a peace-nik from Pakistan-India sings it and makes it come alive again.

  5. Mention of the Azad’s Tarana by Aftab on Duniya News

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