'Spirit of India'
the-south-asian.com April 2001
Page 4 of 5
Sufis - Wisdom against
Madho Lal Shah Hussain [1538 - 1599]: The story goes that Madho Lal [a Hindu Brahmin] and Shah
Hussain [a Muslim Sufi] were great friends and to immortalise the friendship
between the two, Shah Hussain decided to call himself Madho Lal Hussain.
Madho Lal Shah Hussain [1538 - 1599]:
The story goes that Madho Lal [a Hindu Brahmin] and Shah Hussain [a Muslim Sufi] were great friends and to immortalise the friendship between the two, Shah Hussain decided to call himself Madho Lal Hussain.
Outside the walls of the Shalamar Gardens in Lahore, there is held an annual festival at the time of Spring harvest called "Mela Chiraghan" or the Festival of Lights, close to the grave of Lal Hussain. In the songs of the village minstrels and the dancers' movements, the myth of Lal Hussain once again is reborn. Grandson of a convert weaver, Lal Hussain embarrassed everyone by aspiring to the privilege of learning.
Hussainís poetry consists entirely of short poems known as "Kafis", usually 4 to ten lines, designed for musical compositions, to be interpreted by the singing voices. The rhythm and the refrain are so balanced as to bring about a varying, evolving musical pattern... folk songs that draw on the emotional experience of the community.... record the reactions to the cycle of birth and the play of desire against the rhythms of hope , despair, exultation and nostalgia.
Today most of these Kafis are sung, by well know singers and some have even been used as songs in the Indian Film Industry.
Madho Lal Hussain's Kafis
All translations are from Najam Hosainís book quoted above.
Lifeís Journey - limits & boundaries
Main wi janan dhok Ranjhan di, naal mare koi challey
Travelers, I too have to go; I have to go to the solitary hut of Ranjha. Is there any one who will go with me? I have begged many to accompany me and now I set out alone. Travelers, is there no one who could go with me?
The River is deep and the shaky bridge creaks as people step on it. And the ferry is a known haunt of tigers. Will no one go with me to the lonely hut of Ranjha?
During long nights I have been tortured by my raw wounds. I have heard he in his lonely hut knows the sure remedy. Will no one come with me, travelers?
Sujjen bin raatan hoiyan wadyan
Nights swell and merge into each other as I stand a wait for him.
Ni Mai menoon Kherian di gal naa aakh
Do not talk of the Kheras* to me,
Oh mother do not .
*The Kheras were a wealthy family.
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