27 Nov 2012

Goodbye, Ghazal? (Part II)

The ghazal is of the individual and the heart, it reflects the poet in the poem. It is bound to be personal. There is an anonymity in it. Love songs of this genre are not trumpeted bang-boom declarations. In many of these songs, the subject of the song in unaware of the poet's affections. Now if that is not tragic enough. In the age of social networking, cell phones and video conferencing, repressed emotions still sprout, communication technology is but a bridge, habit and character can yet have more devastating effects. What harm then, if one of the calming outlets happens to be a song? Ghazal has the potential to still make lost ground in the present scenario.  

The 'Get Over It' Culture 
Since it reflects raw emotions, ghazals have inevitably told tales of woe, regret, sadness and torment. In these times of showcasing a perpetual public face of happiness, the ghazal finds no breathing space.

In the Hindi film soundtrack world, rejection has found its catharsis in vengeance and abuse. Seldom does anybody cry it out, note the two songs of Ram Sampath's remarkable work for Delhi Belly (2011) - Bhaag D.K. Bose and Jaa Chudail. To be a crybaby is no longer convention, to give vent to anger is more of a bend nowadays. Scream, shout and forget.

True to Life 
Before the curtains drop on these passage of words, let me recall a scene in the 1957 Guru Dutt classic Pyaasa. At a happy occasion, even as fellow poets recite congratulatory verses, the protagonist weaves his own tiredness and disillusion in couplets of despair. Midway through his dark narration, a man in the audience cajoles him to recite something brighter. In response, the poet goes on to say in Sahir Ludhianvi's words: 

Hum ghamzada hai, 
laye kahan se khushi ke geet?...
denghe wahi jo payenge 
es zindagi se hum...  

(I am woe-begone
from where do I bring songs of happiness?... 
I will only give that which 
I receive from life...)

For this staunch and rebel outlook of baring the heart, the ghazal doesn't go by market conventions and social trends.

Jagjit Singh was the last dinosaur of the song medium, and unless a trailblazer dares to reinvent the ghazal, this emperor of a song genre will be relegated to the mind museums of ghazal lovers. As Gulzar wrote for Singh's sparkling album Marasim - waqt rehta nahi kahin tikk kar, eski aadat bhi aadmi si hai. Time doesn't pause. Its nature is so like a human being.

Click here for - Goodbye, Ghazal? (Part I)

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