Five Qawwalis by Ustad Jafar Hussain Khan Badauni
Dear Brother W
I’m sending you another collection, with qawwalis by the often underrated Qawwal Ustad Jafar Hussain Khan of Badaun (or Badayun), Uttar Pradesh, India, who lived from 1931 to 1998.
I lack the energy to write more about it, but I do have some extra text: the Qaul “Mann Kunto Maula” contains a number of fascinating verses in praise of Hazrat Ali (R.A.) with a distinct Hindu influence. A few years ago I made an attempt to translate these verses, with the help of my good old Urdu-English dictionary.
My translation is below:
A few years ago I made an attempt to translate these verses, with the help of my good old Urdu-English dictionary. My translation is below:
Ali Ji, Veer ho
Balwaan ho, Dharti Pita tum ho
Kathin hare jagat ke, Ishwar ke Soorma tum ho
Anokhi tumri leela hai, koi kya jane kya tum ho
Kahin Dharmatma tum ho, kahin Paramatma tum ho!
O Ali, you are the Supreme Hero
You are Powerful, you are the Father of the Earth*
You conquer the difficulties of this world, you are the God’s Brave Hero**
Your exploits are extraordinary, you are beyond all knowledge [or beyond all understanding]***
To some you are a Saint, to some you are the very Soul of the Universe!
* This makes me think of one of the names of Hazrat Maula ‘Ali (R.A.): Abū Turāb (or Bū Turāb), which means “Father of the Dust”. It refers to one of the elements that humans are made of, namely “Earth”. This name implies the quality of “being humble like the dust”, a quality that travellers on the Sufi Path should strive for.
** “Ishwar” may also mean “Lord” or “Ruler”.
*** This is an interpretive translation, not a literal one.
In Urdu script*:
ﻋﻟﻰ ﺠﻰ, ﻮﻴﺭ ﮨﻮ
ﺒﻠﻮﺍﻥ ﮨﻮ, ﺪﮨﺭﺘﻰ ﭙﺗﺎ ﺗﻡ ﮨﻮ
ﻜﭩﮩﻥ ﮨﺎﺭﮮ ﺠﮕﺖ ﻜﮯ, ﺍﻴﺸﻮﺭ ﻜﮯ ﺴﻮﺭﻣﺎ ﺘﻡ ﮨﻮ
ﺍﻨﻮﻜﮩﻰ ﺘﻣﺭﻯ ﻠﻴﻼ ﮨﮯ, ﻜﻮﺌﻰ ﻜﻴﺎ ﺠﺎﻨﮯ ﻜﻴﺎ ﺘﻢ ﮨﻮ
ﻜﮩﻴﮞ ﺪﮨﺭﻣﺎﺘﻤﺎ ﺘﻡ ﮨﻮ, ﻜﮩﻴﮞ ﭘﺭﻣﺎﺘﻤﺎﮟ ﺘﻡ ﮨﻮ!
Note # 1: “Dharamatma” means “hero” in Hindi. But it may also mean “someone who is the Soul of True Religion, Virtue, Duty and Piety” – the word “Dharmatma” is composed of dharma and ātmā(n), meaning “True Religion”, Virtue”, Duty”, “Piety”… and “Soul” respectively.
Note # 2:“Paramātmā(n)” (with noon ghunna at the end; some people omit this letter) is a Hindu theological concept. It can be translated in a number of ways: “Supreme Soul or Spirit”, “God’s Expansion as the Supersoul in the heart of man” and “Soul of the Universe”.
Mann Kunto Maula has been sung by many artists, here are 7 beautiful selection: