Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Raagmalika - Balam ghar aa ja , sajan ghar aa ja

In this blog, I present two outstanding Raagmalikas from films, one from India and the other from Pakistan. The theme for both songs is the heart pining for the beloved and an earnest plea for the beloved to return home. Both songs describe the change of seasons and vividly depict the agglomeration of dark clouds, thunder and rain, both in verse and music. I am indebted to my friends, Medha ji and Irfan ji, for giving me valuable input on the songs and discussions with them have inspired me to pair these two songs below.

Let us enjoy the first Raagmalika, in the voices of Manna Dey and Lata Mangeshkar, from the 1955 classic musical film Jhanak Jhanak payal baje, produced and directed by V. Shantaram. The song begins with an invocation to the Lords and the lyrics rut basant aiyee are by Hasrat Jaipuri. The music is by Vasant Desai. The song is in four parts with Manna Da singing the first two parts in Raag Basant and Megh Malhar and then Lata sings the third and fourth parts in Raag Pahadi and Raag Pilu respectively. The song depicts a kathak dance by Gopi Krishna and Sandhya and Gopi Krishna sings the dance beats. Further details may be enjoyed in this blog: (http://mishraraag.blogspot.com/)

The full lyrics are reproduced below to appreciate the rich and beautiful manner in which the song is picturized in the film.

gurur bramh gurur vishnu gurur devo maheshwaarah
guru saakshaat parabramh tasmai shrii gurave namah

rut basant aaii ban ban upaban
drum milind praphulit sugandh
mand pavan aavat milind madhukar madhur gunjat
rut basant

aaii hai ghataa umadghumad ghor phir
kahuun gaat umad git ati shyaam baran
aai hai ghataa umadghumad umadghumad
shyaam baran shyaam baran shyaam baran
aaii aaii aaii hai ghataa

patajhad chhaaii chhaai jalat udaas
main ghabaraai
nainaa ras kii pyaasi pyaasii
patajhad chhaai
patajhad chhaai chhaai jalat udaas
main ghabaraaii
nainaa ras kii pyaasii -3

ab to saajan ghar aa jaa
o more saiyaan man kaa phuul khilaa jaa
ab to saajan ghar aa jaa

tadap tadap ke ye barakhaa bahaar guzarii hai
jo rut thii aaii vo beqaraar guzarii hai
ho raag milan ke sunaa jaa
ab to saajan ghar aa jaa
aa jaa

A somewhat similar theme-based song was composed for a Pakistani film, Pukare mera dil, by Master Tufail (son of another famous composer, Master Inayat Hussain). The lyrics man tarse balam ghar aa ja were written by Qateel Shifaii and this outstanding song is a solo rendered by Malika-e-Tarannum Noor Jehan. I thank Sami ji, a friend of Irfan ji, for providing an audio of this song. Any information on the raag(s) on which this song is based will be appreciated.

To the best of my knowledge, only an audio clip (slightly poorer in quality) is available on youtube.

After enjoying these two masterpieces, let me conclude with the famous poem of Shelley, "Ode to the West Wind" to recall how the changing seasons lead to optimism and hope. Please enjoy this Ode written in five cantos by the poet while he was in Florence, Italy, in 1819. Thank you for your comments/feedback.


by: Percy Bysshe Shelly (1792-1822)


WILD West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The wingèd seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the spring shall blow

Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odors plain and hill:

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh, hear!


Thou on whose stream, 'mid the steep sky's commotion,
Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,

Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

Of some fierce Mænad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith's height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapors, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail, will burst: oh hear!


Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams,

Beside a pumice isle in Baiæ's bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave's intenser day,

All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic's level powers

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: oh, hear!


If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O uncontrollable! if even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skyey speed
Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne'er have striven

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.


Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is;
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an extinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unwakened earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

'Ode to the West Wind' is reproduced from English Poems. Ed. Edward Chauncey Baldwin. New York: American Book Company, 1908.


  1. Dear Gulab Ji,The raagmalika from film Pukare Mera Dil has four different ragas:'man tarase balam ghar aaja..'(BILASKHANI TODI),'phool khile muskayee kaliyan..'(BAHAAR),'patjhad ayee chhayee udaasi..'(KAAFI),'garaje badal chamke bijuriya..'(MEGH MALHAR).All are superbly presented by malikaye tarannum in her hypnotic voice. Dr.R.C.Mishra

  2. Dear Mishra ji,

    Namaskaar! Thank you very much for breaking down the four ragas of man tarse. I appreciate your help and this information will be invaluable. I notice that raag Bahaar and Malhaar were used by Manna da in rut basant aayi. That does make these songs somewhat complementary. I agree with you that in addition to the magic of Malika-e-Tarrannum's voice, the orchestration set for the seasons is superb, especially when the roaring thunder is followed by a drenching downpour of sitar. Just delightful.

    Again many thanks for such valuable help.

    With regards,


  3. Namaskar, "Patjhad ayee" sounds like it is based on Sohoni.


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