Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan- The “ShehenShah e Qawwali”

I don’t think there’s any desi person who doesn’t know the name of this legend.

Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan sahab was born in a qawwal family in Punjab where his father, Fateh Ali Khan sahab wanted him to become a doctor or an engineer as Qawwals were not respected in the society. Thankfully, he chose to continue the family business and went on to become the most celebrated Qawwal anyone has ever known.

You can google the achievements this legend triumphed in his short life, on your own. But to give you an idea, he was called “Budai” (the Singing Budhha) in Japan.

Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan sahab's songs are like wine. The older it gets, the better it tastes. ☘️

-Not to mention, as you age with newer experiences everyday, you understand the songs even more.

Here are some songs by the legend that I’m hooked to these days:

• SAADGI TOH HAMARI ZARA DEKHIYE

A qawwali that pierces through your heart while healing it, “Saadgi toh hamari zara dekhiye,” is an excellent work by a gem of a lyricist. If you hear the complete 18 odd minutes long qawwali, you’ll be humming it for days on repeat!

Personal favourite lines:

Zikr ek bewafa aur sitamgar ka tha.
Aapka aysi baaton se kya vaasta?
Aap toh bewafa aur sitamgar nahi,
Aap ne kis liye muh udhr kr liya?”

• SOCHTA HUN (DEKHTE DEKHTE)

Maybe you have heard Atif Aslam’s version of Dekhte Dekhte, and stumbled upon this gem while searching the newer one and have been admiring the khyaal of the Ustaad eversince, like me. Or maybe you got it in your recommendations by the YouTube algorithm.

Either way, when you hear the original, you realise what quality of a qawwali it is.

Personal favourite lines:

"Gayr ki baat tasleem kya kijiye,
Ab toh khud pr bhi humko bharosa nahi.
Apna saaya samajhte the jinko kabhi,
Wo juda ho gaye dekhte dekhte."

•LIKH DIYA APNE DAR PE KISI NE

This is the latest gem I’ve discovered from the Maestro, and boy, oh boy! I love it!

I don’t think I’ll be able to say much about it other than it resonates beautiful in today’s time of hookups and ONS where love is rarer than ever. Go and listen to it yourself.

Favourite lines are as follows:

Humne ki arz "ae banda-parvar,
Kyun sitam dha rhe ho ye humpar?"

Baat sunnkr hmari wo bole:
"Humse takraar krna mana hai"

•DILLAGI

I found this one when Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Ustad Nusrat sahab’s nephew released his version of it. I searched for the bollywood version and downloaded  this one by mistake and now Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s song seems tasteless.

The best part of the Qawwali is the sargam. You don’t need to understand urdu to appreciate an immaculate sargam.

Personal favourite lines:

“jo ulfat mein har ek sitam hai gawarah,
Ye sbkuch hai haasil wafa tumse warna.

Satatey ho din-raat jis tarah mujhko,
Kisi gair ko yun sata kr toh dekho.”

• SOME VERY HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

  • Mast Nazron se Allah bachaye
  • Hai Kahan ka Irada tumhara sanam
  • Mast Qalandar
  • Afreen Afreen
  • Ye jo Halka Halka Suroor hai

In the end, I’ll like to apologise sincerely as I know my humble blogpost is no match to contain the praises of an absolute LEGEND of Legends. Gustakhi maaf!🙏

(P.S.: the names have been enlisted randomly and in no way is indicative of the beauty of the Maestro’s art.)

Published by Md Asif Raza

A microbiologist who is passionate about writing and cooking. An aesthete, humane and simple individual brought up with old school values. A practicing Indian Muslim and an individual with aspirations to be a philanthropist and a better version of himself. ☘️

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