Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ali Mardan Khan's Shiva Persian Poem


The story goes that Ali Mardan Khan, the Kurdish governor of Kashmir appointed by Shah Jahan, the governor who built Chameshahi Garden, the supposed owner of a philosopher stone got from a dead snake woman, was one night strolling around Shalimar Garden when his eyes suddenly fell on Mahadeo peak and saw something, believed he saw Shiva himself. He went on to write a poem on his experience. No one was to later claim that he must have been smoking or drinking Shiva stuff that night.

I find the story interesting not just because of the obvious 'Muslim Man singing Hindu Hosanna' thing but because in this particular story and the poem associated with the story, the whole unique Hindu concept of 'Darshan' and the concept of God having physical attributes is also adopted.

I have read the story and reference to the poem in a lot of 'our great culture' writing on Kashmir. But never was the poem presented in entirety. The usual - someone knows 30% about something, he shares 15%, someone else is happy copying 10%,  and in the end you get only 5% but that doesn't matter cause you get a lazy 'our great culture' kick even in that 5% and that's how the matter remains. In my case, OCD causes me all kind of pirablems. I need to know more even if I don't understand it. Even if it is all Persian to me.

Last month, I found the poem in an Hindi-Kashmiri Aarti /Bajan book dated 1993 lying among my grandmother's god books collection. Here's the complete poem, in what may or may not pass for Persian, with what may or may not pass for translation:

Huma Aslay Maheshwar Bood
Shabshahay Ki Man Didam
Gazanfar Charam Dar Barbood
Shab Shahay


I saw him at night, I am sure it was Maheshwar
wearing a Lion skin on him, that night

Zee Bhasamsh Jam-e-Bar Tan
Zonarsh maar bar gardan
Ravansh gang bar sar bood
Shab Shahay


His body covered in ash, a snake around the neck
Ganga was flowing down from his hair, that night

Say Chashmash bar jabeen Darad
Zee mehroy roshan tar
Say Karan Dast Bastah bood 
Shab Shahay


Three eyes on his face, his face all illuminating
for that reason, my hands paid him respect, that night

B-dastash Aab-e-Kosar
V-bekh Nakusee Nilofar
Hilalash Taaj bar sar bood
Shab Shahay


Water of bounty, a lotus conch in hand
his head was lit by moon, that night

Uma Az Soi-la-Bingar 
Zi Sad Khursheed Taban tar
Svarash Kulib-e-nar bood
Shab Shahay


Uma to his left, bright like a thousand suns
their ride was a Bull, that night

Ajab Sanyaas-e-didam
Namo Narayan Guftam
E-Khakay paye bosidham 
Shab Shahay


I saw a strange renouncer, my lips uttered - Namoh Narayan
I kissed the dust flying off his feet, that night

Nigahay bar manay Miskeen
Namood Az Chashim Tabaan Tar
Makanash Laamkan tar bood
Shab Shahay


He looked deep into me with his shining eyes
I saw his house in the uninhabitable infinite, that night

Manam Mardaan Ali Khanam 
Gulam Shah-e-Shaham
Ajab Israar may Beenam 
Shab Shahay

I, Ali Mardan Khan, server of King of Kings
I witnessed something very strange, that night

-0-
Ali Mardan Khan died of dysentery on his way to Kashmir in 1657. 

-0-
Update: 23rd Feb 2017

I sing it out.

Image: Bharava by Triloke Kaul. Private collection of the painter.

14 comments:

  1. Herath and Salaam Mubarak to you too!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sir, THANK YOU. Been looking for this for a long long time. Remember my Grandfather humming this song. THANK YOU again. Dinesh

    ReplyDelete
  3. Vinayak,
    Where's the picture from? Thanks for your wonderful blog!

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is from a painting exhibition at Kala Mandir, Jammu. You can check out more of this art collection here.

    ReplyDelete
  5. One thing i know for sure that is some of the best Shiva Bhajans in Kashmiri were sung by Muslim Singers.

    ReplyDelete
  6. One of my uncles says that this person underwent a spontaneous "Kundali Jagran" when he has this vision. Also some of the descriptions in couplets remind us of Vishnu instead of shiva.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Lord shiva the ashawt basmallah the ultimate and supreme personality of godhead is being realized by all spritual visionnairies. No matter hindu or muslim. All r made by one god.
    Thanks razdan saeb for sharing this. God bless

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have seen a few videos of Dr. R.L.Bhat singing this Bajan, which has helped me in actually pronunciating it rightly. The bajan is available on youtube. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful Sakhshatkar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rendition by Dr. K.L. Raina
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgC6T1lG6cA

      Delete
  9. surprising a muslim confirms the existance of shiva,this is lesson for other muslims that hindus are not kafir but they have been created by same god,muslims should understand this and shun off their egos and htred towards hindus

    ReplyDelete

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