Friday, June 16, 2006
Chandigarh (UNI): 'Ohne ik udari aisi maari, ni oh mud watnin na aaya (She took one such flight that she never came back to her land again)'-Surinder Kaur, the Nightingale of Punjab who ruled over lakhs of hearts in the Indian sub-continent for about six decades by her melodious voice, had also sung these sad verses in Punjabi Shiv Kumar Batalvi's haunting song 'Maye ni maye asan ik shikra yaar banaya.' Batalvi's beloved had been married off to the US by her father and she never returned back and he penned one of his saddest songs under the pangs of separation. When Surinder Kaur crooned the song and made it a bit more memorable, no one knew that she too would fly to the US at the fag end of her life never to come back again.
'Ghama di raat lammi ye jan mere geet lamme ne (Is the night of sorrow long or else my songs are lengthy?)' was another Batalvi song she lent her voice. These verses again might be hanging over the head of the Padmashree awardee as she lay in coma at a New Jersy hospital for over four weeks due to multiple organ failure. Far away in the US, she might have failed to regain her consciousness in her last days but back home in Punjab, many of her memorable numbers have become a part of the collective consciousness.
'Lathe di chadar utte saleti rang mahiya', 'Kala Doria', 'Nach lain de ni menu deyor de viah vich', 'Ik meri akh kashni,' 'Gori diyan Chanjhra' and 'Chann kithan gujariyayi raat ve' were among several songs with which a couple of generations grew up. Not only the 'muklawas' in the Indian Punjab but the 'nikahnamas' in the Pakistani province of Punjab are still incomplete without her songs like 'Mathe te chamkan waal ajj mere banade de' and 'Nach lain de ni menu deyor de viyah wich.' Bollywood has also often used lines of her memorable folk songs in marriage numbers.
In her early days, Surinder Kaur started singing with and under the shadow of her elder sister Prakash Kaur who was at that time the reigning queen of the Punjabi music world. The two sisters together sang 'Mathe te chamkan waal ajj mere banade de' and 'Charkha channan da kattan preetan naal' among several others memorable songs which made a lasting and could make an everlasting impact on the Punjabi consciousness.
Besides the popular tappe-boliyan, Surinder Kaur sang not only 'Shagna de geet,' Suhaag, Sithaniya (all sung on weddings) but also lent her voice to literary songs like those of Batalvi and Amrita Pritam. A lietrary poem of Amrita like 'Chanan di phulkaari topa kaun bhare' was also among her chosen songs. ''Chumm Chumm Rakho ni eh Kalgi Jujhar diwas among the famous religious songs of Surinder Kaur who also sang the Sufi kalaam of Ghulam Farid like ''Aa vanjh manjhde kaul'' Her night on the death bed might have been long but her songs, it seems, would continue to reverberate much longer into the future.