Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shiv Kumar Batalvi - Live Interview (Presentation - Desh Ratna)

Watching this interview with the Punjabi poet, the late Shiv Kumar Batalvi, I could not but reflect that poetry, and art in general, is far greater than its creator. Once the poet’s idea finds a language, the language works on its own- the shared repository of mankind’s long history and engagement with ideas and emotions, it cannot but dwarf its lonesome creator.
Batalvi’s talk is almost child like in the interview, and his answer to questions about “getting away from myself” and the death of an intellectual are as naive as they are innocent. Same for his answer to the question of the inspiration of his poetry. Batalvi was not a great Punjabi poet, at the same time, his poetry is marked by a melancholy lyricism that brought a freshness to the language.
Here is the rare footage from the BBC’s television with Batalvi in 1970, when he was 32. He died three years later at the age of 35. The interview is in Hindi/Urdu

*** (I met Shiv Kumar a number of times during his stay in Britain and I was more than sorry to learn of his death. My sympathies and best wishes go out to his widow and his children. I shall remember his friendliness and his eagerness to learn as much as he could about the state of poetry in Britain. But I shall never forget his performances. I have seen many hundreds of poets perform but I don't think that I have ever witnessed such displays of intensity and passion. I knew I was close to a genius.---Spencer Leigh )

Maye ni Maye mere geetan de naina wichch - Shiv Kumar Batavi (Presentation - Desh Ratna)

Maae Ni Maae - Geet

Maae ni maae
Mere geetaaN de naena vich
BirhoN di raRak pave!
Adhi adhi raateeN -
UTH roun moye mitraaN nu,
Maae sahnu neeNd na pave!

BhaeN bhaeN sugaNdhiyaaN ‘ch -
BanhaaN phehe chaanani de
TaaveeN saaDi peeR na save.
Kose kose saahaaN di -
MaeN karaaN je takor maae
SagoN saahnu khaan nu pave.

Aape ni maeN baalaRi,
MaeN haale aap mataaN jogi
Mat kihRa es nu dave?
Aakh su ni maae ihnu
Rove buhl chith ke ni,
Jahg kite sun na lave!

Aakh su ni kha laye Tuk
HijaraaN da pahkiya,
LekhaaN de ni puTHaRe tave!
Chat laye tarel looni -
GhamaaN de gulaab toN ni,
Kaalaje nu hausala rave!

KihRiyaaN saperiyaaN toN -
MaNgaaN kuNj mel di maeN,
Mel di koi kuNj dave,
KihRa ihna dahma diyaaN -
LobhiyaaN de daraaN uhte,
VaaNg khaRa jogiyaaN rave!

PeeRe ni peeRe -
Ih piyaar aesi titali hae,
JihRi sada sool te bave!
Piyaar aesa bhaur hae ni -
Jihde koloN vaashna vi,
LakhaaN kohaaN door hi rave!

Piyaar uh mahal hae ni,
Jihde ‘ch pakheruaaN de,
Baajh kujh hor na rave,
Piyaar aesa aaNgana hae
Jihde ‘ch ni vasalaaN da
RataRa na palaNg Dave!

Aakh maae adhi adhi raateeN
Moye mitraaN de
Uchi uchi naaN na lave!
Mate saaDe moiyaaN piCHoN,
Jahg ih shareekaRa ni,
GeetaaN nu vi chaNdara kave.

Maae ni maae,
Mere geetaaN de naena vich
BirhoN di raRak pave!
Adhi adhi raateeN -
UTH ron moye mitraaN nu
Maae saahnu neeNd na pave!

March 1961
Listen Mother

Listen, mother,
My songs are eyes
Stinging with grains of separation.
In the middle of the night ,
They wake and weep for dead friends.
Mother, I cannot sleep.

Upon them I lay strips of moonlight
Soaked in perfume,
But the pain does not recede.
I foment them
With warm sighs
Yet they turn on me ferociously.

I am still young,
And need guidance myself.
Who can advise him?
Mother, would you tell him,
To clench his lips when he weeps,
Or the world will hear him cry.

Tell him, mother, to swallow the bread
Of separation.
He is fated to mourn.
Tell him to lick the salty dew
On the roses of sorrow,
And stay strong.

Where are the snake handlers
From whom I can beg for a shroud to cover me?
Somebody give me a shroud that will fit!
How can I wait like a jogi
At the doorstep of these people
Greedy for gold?

Listen, o my pain,
Love is like a butterfly
Pinned forever to a stake.
It is like a bee,
From whom desire,
Stays miles away.

Love is a palace
Where, but for birds,
Nothing else lives.
Love is a hearth
Where the bed of fulfillment,
Is never laid.

Mother, tell him not to
Call out the name of his dead friends
So loudly in the middle of the night.
When I am gone, I fear
That this malicious world,
Will say that my songs were evil.

Listen, o mother
My songs are eyes
Stinging with grains of separation.
In the middle of the night ,
They wake and weep for dead friends.
Mother, I cannot sleep.

Shiv kumar batalvi's own voice - haal faqeera da (Presentation - Desh Ratna)

Ki PuCHdiyu Haal - Geet

Ki puCHdiyu ho haal fakeeraaN da,
SaaDa nadiyuN viCHaRe neeraaN da.
SaaDa haNjh di joone aaiyaaN da,
SaaDa dil jaliyaaN dilgeeraaN da!

Ih jaandiyaaN kujh shokh jahe
RaNgaaN da naaN hi tasveeraaN hae,
Jad haT gaye aseeN ishke di,
Mul kar baeTHe tasveeraaN da!

Saahnu lakhaaN da tan labh giya,
Par ik da man vi na miliya.
Kiya likhiya kise mukahdar si
HathaaN deeyaaN chaar lakeeraaN da!

Takdeer da aapni sauNkan si,
TadbeeraaN saathoN na hoeeyaaN.
Na jhaNg CHuTiya na kan paaTe
JhuND laNgh giya iNjh heeraaN da.

Mere geet vi lok suneeNde ne,
Naale kaafar aakh sadeeNde ne,
MaeN darad nu kaaba keh baeTHa
Rahb naaN rakh baeTHa peeRaaN da.

MaeN daanashvaraaN suneeNdiyaaN saNg,
Kai vaari uhchi bol piya,
Kujh maan si saahnu ishke da,
Kujh daava vi si peeRaaN da!

TooN khud nu aakal kahiNda haeN,
MaeN khud nu aashik dasda haaN,
Ih lokaaN te CHaD daeeye,
Kihnu maan ne daeNde peeraaN da!
Ki PuCHdiyu Haal - Why Ask

Why ask about the condition of fakirs like us?
We are water, separated from its river,
Emerged from a tear,
Melancholy, distressed.
Of course I knew that a painting is just
A whimsy of colors-
But when I entered the emporium of love,
I paid a price.
Countless bodies did I find,
But not one mind did I meet.
This was written in my fate,
In the four lines of my palm.
My destiny was my rival.
I could never find a way to escape it.
I did not leave Jhang, I did not pierce my ears, 
And a crowd of Heers crossed my path.
People listen to my songs,
But call me a heretic,
Because I named pain my kaaba,
And sorrow, my god.
On occasion, in gatherings of great people
I have spoken sharply.
Perhaps I was arrogant about my love,
Perhaps I felt I had a claim upon pain.
You call yourself a wise man,
I say I am a lover.
Let us leave it to the people to decide
To whom they will give the esteem of a pir.

Shiv kumar batalvi's ISHTEHAAR - IK KURHII JIDAA NAAM MOHABBAT (Presentation - Desh Ratna)


Ik kuRhii jidaa naam muhabbat, Gum hai Gum hai
Saad muraadii, sohni phabbat, Gum hai Gum hai

Soorat ossdi pariyaan vargii
Seerat dii o mariam lagdii
Hasdii hai taan phul jhaddade ne
Turdii hai taan gazal hai lagdii
Lamm-salammii, saru de kad dii
Umar aje hai marke agg dii
Par naina dii gal samajhdii
Gummeyaan janam janam han hoye
Par lagdaa jyon kal dii gal hai
Eyon lagdaa jyon ajj dii gal hai
Eyon lagdaa jyon hun dii gal hai

Huney taan mere kol khaRhii sii
Huney taan mere kol nahin hai
Eh kiI chhal hai, eh kIi bhatkan
Soch merii hairan baRhii hai
Nazar merii har aande jaande
Chehre daa rang phol rahii hai
Ous kuRhii nu Tol rahii hai

Saanjh Dhale baazaaraan de jad,
MoRhaan te khushboo ugdii hai
Vehal, thakaavat, bechainii jad,
Chauraaheyaan te aa juRhdii hai
Rauley lippi tanhaii de vich
Oss kuRhii dii thuRh khaandii hai
Oss kuRhii dii thuRh disdii hai
Har chhin mainoon eyon lagdaa hai
Har din mainoon eyon lagdaa hai
JuRhe jashan te bheeRhaan vichon
JuRhii mahak de jhurmat vichon
O mainoon aawaaz davegii
Main ohnoon pehchaan lavaanga
O mainoon pehchaan lavegii
Par ess raule de haRh vichon
Koyii vii mainoonu aawaaz naa dendaa
Koyii vii mere vall naa vehndaa

Par khaure kyun taplaa lagdaa
Par khaure kyun jhaullaa paindaa
Har din har ik bhiiRh juRhii chon
But ohdaa jyon langh ke jaandaa
Par mainoon hii nazar naa aundaa
Gum gayii main oss kuRhii de
Chehre de vich gummyaa rehndaa
Oss de gham vich ghullda rehndaa
Oss de gham vich khurdaa jaandaa

Oss kuRhii noon merii saun hai
Oss kuRhii noon apnii saun hai
Oss kuRhii noon sab di saun hai
Oss kuRhii noon jag di saun hai
Oss kuRhii noon rab di saun hai
Je kite paRhdii sundii hove
Jyundii jaan o mar rahii hove
Ik vaarii aa ke mil jaave
Wafaa merii noon daag na laave
Nahin taan methon jiyaa naa jaandaa
Geet koyii likheyaa naa jandaa

Ik kuRhii jidaa naam muhabbat, Gum hai Gum hai
Saad muraadii, sohni phabbat, Gum hai Gum hai



A girl whose name is love, is missing, is missing
Simple wisher, beautiful looking, is missing, is missing

Her looks are like that of fairies
Her nature is like that of Mariam
When she laughs, the flowers fall
When she walks, she looks like a gazal
She is tall like the sarroo tree
But her age is hardly like that of fire
But she can understand the talks of eyes
She is missing since ages
But it appears as yesterday’s talk
It appears as today’s talk
It appears as now’s talk

Just now, she was standing with me
Just now, she is not with me
What is this deception, what is this stranding
My thinking is very much surprised
My eyes are searching the colour of
Face of everybody coming or going
And are searching that girl

At the dawn of evening when in market
On the turns, fragrance starts appearing
When idleness, lethargy and uneasiness
Starts accumulating on the four-way crossings
In this Noisy loneliness
The absence of that girl eats me up
The absence of that girl becomes apparent
Every moment it appears to me
Every day it appears to me
In the celebrations and in the crowds
In the accumulated fragrances
She will call me
I will recognize her
She will recognize me
But in this flood of noise
Nobody calls me
Nobody looks towards me

But I don’t know why I get the feeling
But I don’t know why I appear to see
Every day in every crowd
Her statue appears to be going
But only I am not able to see her
I remain lost in the face of
That lost girl
I keep on deteriorating in her sorrow
I keep on depleting in her sorrow

I bind that girl with my oath
I bind that girl with her oath
I bind that girl with everybody’s oath
I bind that girl with world’s oath
I bind that girl with God’s oath
If she is somewhere reading or hearing
If she’s living or dying
Once she should come and meet me
She should not put a blot on my sincerity
Otherwise I can not live
I can not write any song

A girl whose name is love, is missing, is missing
Simple wisher, beautiful looking, is missing, is missing



Great creative personalities often burn themselves to illuminate the world. Shiv Kumar Batalvi is reported to have said, "We don’t do PhDs; other people will do PhDs on us". Such great artists come as a blessing to the world. But, not for themselves or their families, and one can hardly blame their families or the monotonous world for making their lives difficult.

Shiv often used to say that he was going to die soon ..... Asaan taan joban rutey marna .... Kabraan udeekadiyan .... and so on.

Excessive drinking had finally taken its toll. It was a sad end to a poet who, according to Amrita Pritam, was the ‘darling’ poet of Punjab. As friends and relatives watched in silence, fearing for the worst, the poets words rang in their ears : Jadon meri arthi utha key chalan gey ..... (very soulfully sung by Assa Singh Mastana)

Jadon meri arthi utha ke chalan ge
Mere yaar sab humm humma ke chalan ge

Chalan ge mere naal dushman ve mere
Eh vakhri hai gal muskura ke chalan ge

Rehian tan te liraan mere zindagi bhar
Par maran baad mainu sajjaa ke chalan ge

Jehnaa de main pairan ch rulda reha haan
Uh hathaan te mainu utha ke chalan ge

Mere yaar modda vattavan bahaane
Tere dar te sajda kara ke chalan ge

Bithayaa jenha nu main palkaan di chaavain
Oh baldi hoi aag te bitha ke chalan ge

Jadon meri arthi utha ke chalan ge
Mere yaar sab humm humma ke chalan ge