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Archive for July 29, 2011

Amir Khusrau, the maestro of Tarana.

This blog is just an attempt to familiarise the lovers of Amir Khurau to a form of singing, called Tarana, the fascinating  fast paced rendition often intended  to attain trance ( haal),   is attributed to be invented by him. Needless to say his other inventions being Qawwali, seventeen taals, tabla and sitar.

All I get is that Tarana  uses sargams and vocables like na, ta, re, da, ni, odani, tanom, yalali, yalalom shuffled in a fast pace coordinated  by rhythmic percussion from Dhol or Tabla.

A legend says that Amir Khusrau discovered this genre of music by default when   Khusrau at a performance of raga Kadambak by Gopal Naik,  allegedly,  remembered the music but not text. So he created the tarana through a merging of bols from the tabla, the sitar or the mridang.

Since I am absolutely bankrupt in classical music so I would just quote what Ustad Amir Khan Sahib,  a master of Tarana says:

“It is generally believed that Tarana is a composition of meaningless syllables followed sometimes by the bols (words coined to denote the various sounds of instruments) of the tabla and sometimes by Persian poetry. This view is not true. As a matter of fact at the time of the Amir, the texts of the songs used to be in the languages of South India, which were not easily understood by the people of the North. The court language was Persian, which was evidently the language of the contemporary intelligentsia. The Amir naturally thought of composing the texts of songs in the language understood by the intelligentsia. Thus the Tarana was born. The various words used are Dartanaa, Dar Tan Aa, Yala an abbreviation for Ya Allah. Yali for Ya Ali, Dar Aa etc., which when translated would mean:

Yala – Ya Allah

Yali – Ya Ali

O Dani : He knows

Tu Dani : You know.

Tom : I am yours, I belong to you
Main Tum Hun (I am you).

Na Dir Dani : You are the complete wisdom.

Dar – Bheetar, Aandar (inside)

Dara – Andar Aa (get in or come inside)

Dartan – Tanke Aandar (inside the body)

Tanan Dar Aa : Enter my body.

Tanandara – Tanke Aandar Aa (Come inside the body)

Nadirdani – Tu Sabse Adhik Janata Hai (You know more than anyone else)

Tandardani – Tanke Aandarka Jannewala (One who knows what is inside the body)

Another feature of Tarana as sung by many in India is the repetition of certain words at a great speed. The justification for this type is also not to be sought., It is not merely an exhibition of speed or virtuosity at pronouncing words, but the idea is that while in prayer a person goes into a trance, and that in that state of mind he just continues to repeat one word or one set of words.”

( source:
Yar-e-man bia bia Tarana sung by Konkana Bannerjee.

Main melody:
Yar-e-man bia bia.
Dar Tan tadim,
Ta-nan Ta na dim, Tom Ta Na Na Na
Ba labam raseeda jaanum
Fu bia ke zinda maanum
Pas azari ki man na maanum,
Ba cheh kar khahi amud.

which means:

O love, come soon, come at once.
Come and enter my body,
for I am yours, come
My life hangs on my lips,
Come thou that I may live again
for if thou shall come when I am no more,
to what avail shall it be.

Also see:

Poems by Attiya Dawood

Picture by Abro Khuda Bux

Here’s a translation of some poems by a Sindhi feminist poet Attiya Dawood

A strange woman in the mirror

The strange woman in the mirror, what is she thinking?
I ask her: what is it? She avoids me.
I paint my lips red, she begins to sob.
When I look her in the eyes, she asks me questions
which are even more strange.
Home, husband, children….. I have all that makes up happiness
But I don’t know what she wants.

If Only I knew Nothing

The experienced mind understands everything.
If I keep all my thoughts with me
And put them under lock and key,
Clever eyes come to know everything.
I should put the glasses of ignorance on them.
My sensitive heart
I should refuse ever to consider
All the observations and experiences of the past
Inscribed on my mind
I should wipe it away.
My intelligence becomes a curse for me…
If only I knew nothing.
Holding your hand
I would have continued walking in a dream.
Whatever stories you told me
I would have listened on like a child.
Taking my mind as your kite
You could have given me any direction, any wind
And I would have obeyed.
My intelligence becomes a curse for me…
If only I knew nothing.

A bone-weary truth

Truth is the basis of my creation.
No matter how many times in the name of truth
My being was chopped and cut,
Each time like the amoebae,
Every piece of the portioned-off being
Has become a being by itself.
Whenever I was put on the scaffold in the name of truth
Each time I have taken a new birth,
But this dying and being born every minute
Has made me bone-weary.
I want you, my friend
To take away my being from the cross.
Come in front of me,
Whisper sweet nothings in my ears,
Turn the shackles of hypocrisy
into bangles for my hands,
Love me with such a crushing deceit
That my soul not be able to bear it
And free itself
From my tired being.

About the author:
Attiya Dawood is a voice from the goths and villages of rural Sindh. It is a voice of pain and harrowing anguish. As a rural Sindhi woman she finds deprivation everywhere: she faces oppression piled on oppression. As a woman, oppression of women by men, as a Third World woman, oppression and exploitation by the advanced capitalist countries. As a rural woman she is marginalised in favour of the voice of the first person singular – I, but they are not autobiographical the events written about are not necessarilly drawn from her own life. The poems may be considered a form of dramatic monologue in which she assumes the voice and persona of a suffering woman and articulates the anguish arising out of some concrete situation.
English translations are by Asif Aslam

Source: Courtesy Abro Khuda Bux

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