[Reader-list] A Promise Kept: An Ode to Raj and Dilip..

Lehar .. lehar_hind at yahoo.com
Mon Dec 23 01:53:15 IST 2002

Dear freinds, 
A piece which was written spontaneusly.. aand later
one found that it WAS indeed the time of the BDays of
the two great ones.. Dilip Kumar, Dec 11 and Raj
Kapoor Dec 14..
Here is to them..


A Promise Kept: 
An Ode to Raj and Dilip..and the Nargis 

Tu kahe agar..Jivan bhar.. main geet sunata jaaon..
If you but say, I will sing on..forever..

One couldn’t help but reminisce to a better time, when
heroes were gentlemen..and declared their love in
almost spiritual tones.. like the cry of a quest..or a

Tu kahe agar..Jivan bhar.. main geet sunata jaaon..

With the brooding Dilip Kumar.. his hand resting on
the piano in his tweed coat and chequered
shirt..beholding the dancing laughter faced
Nargis..who looks on..oblivious..to the other side..
at the handsome Raj Kapoor.. 

Who will the flower bestow..?

This song shows a glimpse of that light..and the hope
of that era..and the fire which burnt within him.

Inspiring us too.. healing all who come in its
way-..with his voice..

When it was enough to be an Indian and the idea of
heroism was how many times you were jailed for freedom
and peace..and not how many innocent civilians you had
raped and murdered in broad daylight..or how many
houses bombed at the LOC..a la real ‘mards’ of
today..muscles and AK47 intact..

When the evening were still with the sounds of horse
riding boots or the walks by the narrow road near your
verandah..when the voice of freedom was the only
ringing.. loud and clear..and the only hate was
against hate..

Andaz, A love triangle starring Raj Kapoor, Dilip
kumar and Nargis which mesmerised the nation with an
uncomparable musical score songs like " tu kahe agar
jeewan bhar’..

-upperstall review

When dignity and the way you spoke ensured your
survival.. and not who you bribed or how many you

When even Prime Minister’s were writers and women, the
pictures of grace.. like Nargis in front of the

In front of Dilip’s worshipping/adoring eyes..singing
'Tu kahe agar'..Then laughing gently..as she runs out
into the lawns..and Dilip but follows..

The men did not stay after dusk-fall.. and wore
kerchiefs in their coat pockets..Holding doors open..
and they didn’t need to see channel V sirens.. 

The way you loved was- Either you lived.. or died for

Gentleman never compromise ladies..though Raj and
Dilip may have a duel..while She looks on..and prays..
they both live..

The idea of a good profession was a dak bungalow in
the hills..where you could sit by the fire in quiet
peace..married for 40 years to the Lady..wooed by the
pianos..and read old precious books.. scholar glowing
with light/ knowledge..Perhaps write one of your
own-most people did..

And then as we said- even the PM was a writer..
propagating gentleness..like rain..

Values which sought harmony, compassion.. dignity..

At the stroke of the midnight hour..She Awakes.. to
Life and freedom..and one more worshipper writes a
paen to her..swaying in front of the piano.. The time
came to redeem our pledge.. not wholly but very

(So what if she is broken into two..the suitors breaks
each others heads..breaking her heart. But she sings
on..Ab bhi dilkash hai tera husn..Still..is Your
Beauty radiant .. sighs one of her worshippers,

He seems to keep loosing his love to someone else. He
lost her in film #8. He is loosing her again. A piano
song. Someone has won and someone has lost. The
ocassion still calls to sing happy songs. He lost her
to none other but Raj Kapoor whom she always loved,
just did not tell him. All three are in this party

- Andaz review

You did not abuse.. even your rival in love. Like I
said, if Dilip and Raj want to marry the same
lady..(the Nargis) they will fight the honorable
battle ..or die singing. Not a hair out of place-
collar up..head high..dignity intact… in front of that

That piano..has seen so many burn.. without a fire..or
a bullet fired..

It could have been Jawaharlal and Mohammed Ali..who
would She choose..?And who would win and who would

and how in the end.. it would break her heart..

You did not love to shout or hate to kill.. Hitler had
tried..and you went to battle against fascism in tweed
coats and collars.. Your lady loves, in high necked
blouses and sarees like envelopes of fairies..women
were fairies.. unattainable..or to die for..

Now they are available for free.. like the scotch
whiskey ads in television..

Then you had to woo and wed.. and spend your life
becoming a member of the gentlemen’s club.. before you
even had a glimpse..

Women could also ride horses..and often went to jail
-even the partying sorts.Their beloveds were sitting
and writing memoirs in jails anyway.

Handsome jacketed men.. writing poetry in jail..which
one of you was Hindu or Muslim..? You were all
parwanas.. and the moths don’t have a creed..(but

( Aruna Ganguly’s fiancée Asaf Ali, the ‘handsome
Congress lawyer’.. And Amrita Pritam’s fiery poet
Sahir ‘Ludhianvi’..Durga Bhabi and her fiery Lahori
revolutionary.. Geeta Roy and her pipe smoking, eyes
filled with cameras..Guru Dutt..and even Ruttie Bai
Petit defied Parsee authorities to marry one lawyer,
Ali Jinnah..who swore on the Creed of oneness at the
time..many say her premature death in her 20s.. broke
him completely..and the rest is history.. 

Interestingly it was Rutties’ lawyer husband who
pushed for the Mixed Marriage Act in India.. which
made it possible for Indian men and women to marry-
without either converting to the man’s
religion..Jinnah couldn’t stand the fact that his
beloved Ruttie would have to convert to his faith
under British law to marry him..and campaigned against
it vociferously till the 1940s ....history IS

Now there is no poetry and no jail..the only jail is
for the poor and those who can't afford a lawyer. And
no moths..only creeds..and sub creeds..and sub sub
creeds..and no religions..

Then.. you went to jail for a cause..and the
motherland was the Lady.. and the  Lady was the

Radio bulletins running underground by college girls
in chiffon sarees..and khadi ones too.. crackling
before the sound of gun shots- as the Raj police comes
looking for them.. and you pretend you are reading a
novel, in your chiffon saree by the fireplace..while
your heroes lurk underground..their wealth..their
lands.. all sacrificed.. 

You don’t even know if you’ll ever see them again… but
you read- your novel, in the fireplace light..while
the police come and go.. and more and more poetry in
jail.. Gets written..

A young punjabi was writing it in a jail in

sab qatl hoke..tere muqabi se aayen hain..

All of us have returned..beheaded..

from Your door..

Dukh dard mita jaaon..

The strains of your voice fill the air like smoke..
and rise and spread all over the land..Like the
walking men in collared shirts and achakans and
pagdis.on empty roads..a black and white picture of

Each evening it rises in the air with the smoke of the
chulhas..and the stoking of the fireplace..voices
coming from far away..hearts in unrequited
love..sighing quietly.. and embracing death..without a

Like that other dashing cavalier from Lahore..hero of
Faiz Ahmed faiz..the Sikh with the Sufi heart..Bhagat
Singh.. who embraced his beloved too..in tweed hat and
collar high..without a sigh..while the record
plays..and the needle crackles..

We will not forget you..Dilip and Raj. And your wooing
of the Beloved. In dusky town with gowdhuli dust and
piano keys mingled with the beat of the ghadas/clay

Your adoring song..at the feet of the Nargis flower..
lighting up the teak room as she sways to your song...

Where are those men.. ? The women cry.. tired of
seeing rapists and body builders on their screens..
tired of giving dowry to men..less educated than they
are..with no tweed jackets..and coats with kerchief in
their pockets..only blue jeans and disco songs. And no
doors to open..singing no songs and going to no jail.
Only to America..or the odd farmhouse..which sells
free alcohol.

Where are they?? They ask..and you wonder why Indian
women are choosing to marry older now..as the polls
scream- career women..single mothers..marrying late..

Your brooding melancholy in the dusky tweed coat.. and
the hand resting on chin.. as you loose your all..in a
single instance..and sing on..

Here is to you.

She will never be yours..and yet you sing on.
Promising to sing forever..lighting fires with your
voice..in all hearts..Removing the aches from all.
Your promise..

dukh dard mita jaoon..

And in it are her afsanas..inme hain tere afsane..

(She sings too..Afasana Likh raheen hoon.. beauteous
Suraiya in her balcony..feathered pen in hand..writing
afsanas to an unkown one..mocking spring..crinkling up
her elegant nose..for the Beloved hasn’t yet come..)

And You raise the note of worship.. You promise.. to
awaken dreams..to keep them alive..

 sapnon ko jagata jaaon..akash pe chhata jaoon.

Gentlemen never sigh..they only sing. In your tweed
coat.. hand resting on chin..black eyes ..embers.into
the fire..as she sways..and doesn’t even know.

We will never see the likes of that dignity
again..when women were flowers/ worshipped by
gentlemen in tweed coats.. kerchiefs in their coat
pockets..In front of the piano. 

You did manage to free her....though you lost Her..and
she was too was split into two. 

Yet, You freed her..and paid the price of worship..
and she somehow goes on..with that gift of freedom..
however dark the night as we speak..the memory of your
promise relivens our darkest nights..as we..
limping..with her sacred freedom..snuffed.. under our
embered hearts..strive to keep it alive..

Only their voices..as the record plays.. and the
needles crackles on.

The black and white song..revolving in the black
vinyl.. the fire burning.. lighting up hearts..healing

The promise kept... pledge redeemed..for it’s a
gentleman’s word.

And a gentleman word is his life.


An anecdote about Andaz. When Dilip heard the Mukesh’s
solos of "Tu kahe agar..",, he was not all happy What
followed made history - the film and the songs were
such a hit that they firmly established Dilip as the
Tragedy King. And that at the age of just 24! - which
is a terrible thing to happen to someone...  

'Just wait and watch the effect,'they said. And the
whole nation came to sing with Mukesh what I sang on
that piano on 'Andaz'." 


Lehar, December 2002.



If you But say..

I'll sing on..

All my Life..

Light all the hearts I come across..

with fire in mine..

spread across the sky..

tuu kahe agar, tuu kahe agar

tuu kahe agar jiivan bhar

mai.n giit sunaataa jaaU.n

man biin bajaataa jaaU.n

tuu kahe agar

aur aag main apne dil

har dil mein lagata jaoon..

dukh dard mitata jaaon

mai.n saaz huu.N tuu saragam hai - 2

detii jaa sahaare mujhako - 2

mai.n raag huu.N tU bINaa hai - 2

jis dam tu pukaare mujhako

aavaaz mein terI har dam

aavaaz milaataa jaauu.n

aakaash pe chhaataa jaauu.n

tU kahe agar...

in bolo.n me.n, tuu hii tuu hai

mai.n samajhuu.n yaa tuu jaane, ho jaane

in men hai kahaanii terii, iname.n hai tere afasaane

iname.n hai tere afasaane

tU saaz uThaa ulfat kaa

mai.n jhuum ke gaataa jaauu.n

sapano.n ko jagaataa jaauu.n

tuu kahe agar...


I have learned so much from God 
That I can no longer call myself a Christian, a Hindu,
a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew. 
The Truth has shared so much of Itself with me 
That I can no longer call myself a man, a woman, an
Love has befriended me. 
It has turned to ash and freed me 
Of every concept and image my mind has ever known. 
- Hafiz, Persian Sufi 
Organised religion is the prop of a man who has not
found his Self/ God within. 
- Shaheed Bhagat Singh 

Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up now.

More information about the reader-list mailing list