Last century saw a distinct shift for women singers of hindustani classical music. From being the preserve of the bais and courtesans in the past, it gradually grew into an honorable profession to the young girls and women of respectable families. Women singers of today are not only admired, but seen with awe, and rightly so. Women classical singers in fact, never had it so good.
With this post I begin a new mini series of songs by some of our great women singers, each one a Diva in her own right.
One more edition of some songs of my choice. I am again, not giving you the download links due to bandwidth restrictions. Playing the songs and then downloading them, doubles the bandwidth usage. In these times of economic recession, this would not be a wise thing to do. Already too many file hosting sites are tottering with frequent outages. Save all forms of energy, seems to be the mantra of the day. You may however, fish out the songs from the Internet Explorer Cache after playing them to their full length.
Kabir (or Kabir Das), one of India’s most quoted poets and mystics is not easily categorized as a Sufi or a Jogi. He is both of these. Kabir is unusual in that he is spiritually significant to Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims alike. Kabir touches the soul, the conscience, the sense of awareness and the vitality of existence in a manner that is unequalled in both simplicity and style. He stands as a unique, saintly, yet very human bridge between the great traditions that live in India. Almost every hindustani classical vocalist aspire to sing the poetry of Kabir, sometime in his or her singing career. An entire raga, Kabir Bhairav has been dedicated to his work.
Kabir was born in Benares, India, probably around the year 1440. His birth itself is shrouded in mystery, some say he was the son of a Brahman widow, what is known though is that he was brought up in a family of muslim weavers. He was never formally educated and was almost completely illiterate. All of Kabir’s recorded verses are in Hindi. The beauty of Kabir’s poetry is that he picks up situations that surround our daily lives. Thus, even today, Kabir’s poetry is relevant and helpful in both social and spiritual context. His lyrics are characterised by a free use of the vernacular, and is unfettered by the grammatical bonds of his day. It is this quality which has made his philosophy accessible to generations of Indians.
Kumar Gandharva – Ud Jayega Hans Akela : (Download)
Ashwini Bhide – Chadar Ho Gayi Bahut Purani : (Download)
Some of his dohas, as his two-line verses (couplets) are popularly called :
कबीरा खड़ा बाजार में, मांगे सब की खैर
ना काहू से दोस्ती, ना काहू से बैर।
साँईं इतना दीजिये, जामें कुटुम्ब समाये
मैं भी भूखा ना रहूँ, साधू ना भूखा जाये।
बुरा जो देखन में चला, बुरा ना मिलया कोई
जो मन खोजा आपना, मुझ से बुरा ना कोई।
माया मरी ना मन मरा, मर मर गये शरीर
आशा त्रिश्णा ना मरी, कह गये दास कबीर।
दुख में सुमिरन सब करें, सुख में करे ना कोये
जो सुख में सुमिरन करे, तो दुख काहे को होये।
चलती चक्की देख के, दिया कबीरा रोए
दो पाटन के बीच में, साबुत बचा ना कोए।
धीरे धीरे रे मना, धीरज से सब होये
माली सिंचे सौ घड़ा, ऋतु आये फ़ल होये।
ऐसी वाणी बोलिये, मन का आपा खोये
औरों को शीतल करे, आपहुँ शीतल होये।
जाती ना पूछो साधु की, पूछ लीजिये ज्ञान
मोल करो तलवार की, पड़ी रेहन जो म्यान।
माटी कहे कुम्हार से, काहे रोंदे मोहे
ईक दिन ऐसा आयेगा, मैं रौंदूगीं तोहे।
साधु ऐसा चाहिये, जैसा सूप सुहाय
सार सार को गही रहे, थोथा देय उडाय।
बड़ा हुआ तो क्या हुआ, जैसे पेड़ खजूर
पंथी को छाया नही, फल लगे अति दूर।
Early in his life Kabir became a disciple of the Hindu bhakti saint Ramanand. It was unusual for a Hindu teacher to accept a Muslim student, but tradition says the young Kabir found a creative way to overcome all objections. Not much is known about what sort of spiritual training Kabir may have received. He did not become a sadhu or renunciate. Kabir never abandoned worldly life, choosing instead to live the balanced life of a householder and mystic, tradesman and contemplative. Kabir was married, had children, and lived the simple life of a weaver.
Although Kabir labored to bring the often clashing religious cultures of Islam and Hinduism together, he was equally disdainful of professional piety in any form. This earned him the hatred and persecution of the religious authorities in Benares. Nearing age 60, he was denounced before the king but he was spared execution and instead, banished from the region. He subsequently lived a life of exile, traveling through northern India with a group of disciples. Legend says that he relinquished his body when he was about 120 years old. He died at Maghar near Gorakhpur, India.
One of the most loved legends associated with Kabir is told of his funeral. Kabir’s disciples disputed over his body, the Muslims wanting to claim the body for burial, the Hindus wanting to cremate the body. But, when they lifted the burial shroud, they found flowers where the body had rested. The flowers were divided, the Muslims buried the flowers while the Hindus reverently committed them to fire.
Another installment of songs that I picked up from here and there, while surfing the web. For the first time, I am not giving you the download links due to bandwidth restriction on the respective servers. You may however, fish out these files from the Internet Explorer Cache after playing them to their full length :
Rashid Khan – Raga Jogkauns – Peer Parayi Jane Nahi : (Download)
Yet another very good, but not very popular resource of hindustani classical music is pz10.com (the pz stands for Punjabi Zone). The reason it being not too well known in the classical music circuit is, it’s rather unfriendly interface and strange indexing system. But, once you get the real feel of the site it could prove to be a true bonanza to all music lovers. One good thing about this site is that it streams it’s music in both .wma and .mp3 formats. Moreover, the mp3s are of 128 Kbps (near CD) quality, which is good enough reason to download from this site.
To music lovers for whom retrieving music from the Internet Explorer Cache is becoming a habit, I recommend they install ExploreXP (click here to download), a very small and free alternative to Windows Explorer which is easy to setup and can be configured to view all hidden and system files. Moreover it lets you view the filesize in Bytes rather than KBs which is the standard view in Windows Explorer.
Before attempting to download, clean your Internet Explorer cache completely, by either using the standard method of Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup, or by using an utility like CCleaner or even Index.bat (a batch code written by me for those who know their way around with the Command Prompt and Safe Booting).
Visit the music section of pz10.com. Click on the Hindustani Instrumental Music (its more than just instrumental really), and then on the View / Browse All Hindustani Instrumental Music Albums (or simply click here).
Choose the album you want to download.
Choose Flash Player, Select All Songs and click on the Play button. Let the songs play to their full length.
Inside the IE Cache, the song file will start to grow as it plays on :
After the caching is complete :
Retrieve the songs from the Internet Explorer Cache. ExploreXP will help you to do it with ease.
Another way to download is to search for flash.htm file in the cache which is the playlist file (this is tricky because sometimes it could be a jumbled 8 character name like CAX8KNTH.htm). If you are using the Windows Media Player as your player option, the playlist file will be named playlist.htm.
Open the file in notepad and copy the song URL (highlighted part) which looks like this :
Use a downloader like Flashget to download the file.
Note: The voxtoken=(+ a combination of letters and numbers) is a part of secure webcasting code by Voxel meant to prevent the users from downloading the music. As the voxtoken code changes every time you load the player, so does the URL of the song, preventing people from posting the songs on their blogs or elsewhere. This means, the URL is good enough for single use only.
The pz10.com team has a sense of humor too. An attempt to open the flash.asx (seemingly a playlist file, the path is mentioned in flash.htm), will give you this mocking message :
NO SOUP FOR YOU SHAME SHAME!!!!
Well, here is a spoonful, (of soup ?) for everyone to savour.