Sunday, June 15, 2008

O Lal Meri Pat - Dama Dam Mast Qalandar

This has been one of my favorite nos. I have been humming this for years now. It has been a hot favorite with all singers, notably qawwals and these days the reality show contestants. Some of the known names who have lent their voice to this - Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Abida Parveen, Madam Noor Jehan, Wadali Brothers, Reshma, Sabri Brothers, Jagjit Singh, Runa Laila, Lata Mangeshkar, bands like Junoon and this list endlessly goes on. Many college bands have attempted this giving a rock flavour. That, one song could be so popular amongst so many, I wondered, what this song is all about, what's its true meaning. This and last week I spent looking for all the versions and answers to my questions. What a fascinating and satisfying journey it has been.

This song is in the honor of Sufi mystic 'Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar'. Every word of his name has a meaning - he was known as Hazrat ( prophet of GOD ), Lal ( he wore red robes or mothers fondly call their kids as Lal ), Shahbaz ( Shah - King and Baz - Falcon, king of falcons and an Iranian GOD who led them to victory, a divine spirit ), and finally Qalandar ( a qalandari - a sufi saint, poet, mystic, noble man ). He settled in Serwan ( Sindh, now in Pak ) and tried bringing peace between Hindus and Muslims. Hindus regard him as GOD and reincarnate as well. You can hear many Punjabi singers, singing in his praise. He is also fondly called as Jhulelal.

So the song goes like this :

O laal meri pat rakhio bala jhoole laalan, Sindri da Sehvan da, sakhi Shabaaz kalandar, Dama dam mast kalandar, Ali dam dam de andar

(O the red robed, May I always have your benign protection, Jhulelal (as he was affectionately called ). O, the lord,the friend and the Sire of Sindh and Sehwan ( or Serwan ),The red robed God-intoxicated Qalandar, The lord in every breath of mine, glory unto to you)

Chaar charaag tere baran hamesha, Panjwa mein baaran aayi bala jhoole laalan
O panjwa mein baaran, O panjwa mein baaran aayi bala jhoole laalan, Sindri da Sehvan da, sakhi Shabaaz Qalandar, Dama dam mast Qalandar, Ali dam dam de andar

(Your shrine is always lighted with four lamps, And here I come to light a fifth lamp in your honor )

Hind Sind ( some also sing Ghanan ghanan ) peera teri naubat vaaje, Naal vaje ghadiyaal bala jhoole laalan, O naal vaje, O naal vaje ghadiyaal bala jhoole laalan
Sindri da Sehvan da sakhi Shabaaz Qalandar, Dama dam mast kalandar, ali dam dam de andar, Dama dam mast Qalandar.

(Let your heroic name ring out in Hind & Sindh ( or lets the gongs bell loud ), Let the gong ring loud for your glory day and night by the people ( ghariyal - watchman, symbolism of night )

Har dam peera teri khair hove, Naam-e-ali beda paar laga jhoole laalan, O naam-e-ali, O naam-e-ali beda paar laga jhoole laalan, Sindri da sehvan da sakhi Shabaaz Qalandar, Dama dam mast Qalandar, Ali dam dam de andar

( O Lord, may you prevail everytime, everywhere, I pray of oyur well being, In the name of Ali, I pray to you to help my boat cross (the river of life) in safety)

After learning the meaning, the fondness for this song has grown multifold. I have attached clippings of various singers. You will thouroughly enjoy all the renderings. I have a special mention for the one from Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan from his young days and the young Abida Parveen.
------------

Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – see music breaking religious barriers – See the Sikhs getting intoxicated with this music



Madam Noor Jehan – See the class



Reshma – See the simplicity



Abida Parveen - See the divinity



Abida Parveen – In her younger days - truly majestic



Band Junoon – See the contemporary



College of Wooster students – popular amongst students – hear the band wow



Shrine of Saint himself - Lal Shahbaz Qalandar



Sabri Brothers - favorite of qawwals



See this – awesome – Janice Miller an American singing for Jagjit singh – see even Jagjit singh dancing - what a video



Lord belongs to everyone - Sindhi dhamal gathering - lighter note



Qalandari Dhamal – Gulbahar Bano, Saraiki

72 comments:

Yugal Joshi said...

Great work bro. The good thing about Sufi music is that there is no one writer of the song. Different time different people keep on adding their own stuff. In fact many singers impromptu create lines and then sing. Thats what makes Sufi music majestic. For example "peera main tera peer sab da wali hei, naam-e-ali beda paar laga jhoole laala" .. is another form of "har dam peera teri khair howe naam-e-ali beda paar laga jhool-e-laalan". Sufi music is indeed the highest form of music.

Prashant said...

Thanks Ajit for such a wonderful post. I was looking for the transalation for quite a time.
Do you have an idea who has written this song?

Gowri Rao said...

Gr8 post!!! I always loved to hear this song, now after knowing the meaning and listening to so many beautiful voices sing it, my liking has doubled. thanks ......

priya said...

lal meri pat actually means "Lal keep my integrity intact"...it had to do with Hindus asking God to help them preserve who they were and their religion and not get wrapped up in Islam since muslims at that time were pressuring Hindus to convert...so basically it is a song about Hindu's praying to keep their identity and not being swayed by Muslims to convert for the sake of keeping their land in Pakistan. This crisis led to a huge migration of Sindhis out the Pakistan region into India as refugees. If you don't believe this is true, you can look up the history on the partition and see how the Hindus were forced to convert, leave, or be killed.

Ajit Kumar Sharma said...

Dear Priya,

Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on it. I, however don't agree with your view.

Your and my views don't take away the majesty of the song. So just savor it.

Regards

Yogesh said...

I was searching for the meaning of this bhajan for almost 5 yrs. Is it possible for you to point me to the location where I could get information about the Lata Mangeshkar version of this song.

Thanks,
Yogi

Jitu said...

I liked the way you presented your favorite song. I'm a sindhi and I'm listening this song since my childhood at my home. This has been one of my favorite too.

Peter Farrell said...

Thank you for the info and the translation! A jazzy world music band calling themselves Lal Meri just did a new version:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se4AFa0Vx9Q

Rajib said...

The version of Runa Laila is also worth checking out, I think:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIyrlTwEuYY

chitra said...

your blog was such a great find! .. ... i've always loved this song but never knew how meaningful it was! thank you!

avalanche_dreamz said...

thank you for the translation Ajit..i've been looking for it since a long time..but u have not translated the whole song...please do so...i'd love to know the entire meaning...thanks...

Pradnesh said...

I suggest adding one from Hans Raj Hans as well. Great song, great rendering...

garykumar said...

This was a favorite of mine since childhood days.. I rediscovered and downloaded this and started humming..I wanted to know the meaning..and I got it through your blog

Saritha said...

Thanks a ton! I absolutely love this song and I got to hear a lot of versions on your blong, not to mention finally understood the meaning. Did you translate it yourself?
Saritha

lateefx said...

Wonderful post ... thanks for the translation Ajit - and also for the videos - I love Abida Parveen's take on the song... Also, a very well done version is Falu Shah's

The_real_slim_shandy said...

Thanks for sharing this, Ajit! I had been hoooked to the song too and wanted to know the meaning ... great work here!

Naresh said...

In writing most of your text in this post, you have copied the words from the comments posted by 'science220' in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMbe_xYpDRc&feature=fvw and passed them in a way for people to believe them as your words.

Plagiarism is easily caught in an increasingly connected and digital world. One should always credit the original source.

Good work in bringing all the videos together though!

Best wishes,
Naresh

-=shekhar=- said...

Great post. I would also like to feature this video in your post: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evMYzq-8ZHU

Thanks,
Shekhar

vinita daryani said...

hey really very good
may god bless u i was searching for the correct meaning to tell ma lil brother about teh song
thanks a lot
is tarah wo zayada jaldi samjega
take care

naasseer said...

See you holy saint hazrath shabaaz khaland (R A) is not prophet of god please dont write any thing like that first know about the sufi go and research ..

Khuda Hafiz

Ajit Kumar Sharma said...

Was going through the comments after a very long time. So let me reply to some of points raised.

I haven't translated this myself. Like many of you, I was interested in meaning of this song and researched on it for couple of weeks and wrote what was most appropriate. I don't think this is a serious work of research/writing and should not be viewed that way.

It has been written for pleasure and my own satisfaction. I do see that some of you have benefited and thats good enough.

Thanks

komal said...

hello ajit,
Nice post...i just love that song.
thanks to u when ever i'll sing that i mind the meaning..

goofy said...

I wanna reply to Priya. This song is ollllddd Priya much older than the India Pakistan partition story. never would have the Hindus dreamt that their faith would be in any danger back then. Ur reasoning is twisted

Amir Ali Tayyab said...

O' my red pearl
Keep my honor
Dancing with mysticism
Ali is in every breath of mine
O' mystic, you are everyone's friend
Your name is Ali
Take my boat across troubled waters
King of the stars hugged you
Colored you with the colors
That you could take away troubles
Your name is Ali
Pls. waken my sleeping fate
I've come to your shrine
Holding your trellis with my desires
Your name is Ali
Pls. hear my prayers
I'm dying with griefs
Nobody belongs to me except you

jasmine said...

hey can anyone tell me a link to the lyrics of the sindhi song-"keehan rijhayan tokhe"..i love this song but cant get it lyrics just by listening.i surfed the net bt with no success..

jasmine said...

hey can anybody tell me a link to the sindhi song-"keehan parchayan tokhe"..its a fab song but i cant get the lyrics just by listening.i surfed the net but with no success.

Neeraj said...

Hi Ajit, Thank you so much for this fantastic post. I recently read Nine lives and read about this durgah. It is a wonderful place of Sufism at its best. It is a paragon of religious fusion. From what I read, Serwan is under attack from extremists now. I pray for the safety of this durgah from the extremists.

Neeraj said...

Hi Ajit, Thank you so much for this fantastic post. I recently read Nine lives and read about this durgah. It is a wonderful place of Sufism at its best. It is a paragon of religious fusion. From what I read, Serwan is under attack from extremists now. I pray for the safety of this durgah from the extremists.

vivekritu said...

Thank you. You have explained it beautifully.

Dheeraj said...

Nice.

Jaya said...

I ma sindhi too...listening to this on almost every occasion.
Well, I agree with Priya's post...
Good Work Done..Thank you

Sky said...

Dear friend, I'm from Turkey and I LOVE!!!! Qawwali. We also have Sufi music here but it's usually not as lively like the Qawwali.

Although I can understand some common words, I've been looking for the English translation of Dam Mast lyrics. Today finally found it.

THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH!

phoenix said...

hold it everyone !!!!

"ali dum dum de ander"
new version says
"ali da phela number"

how is this song hindu if we support shias on ali being the first caliph.

i am a hindu and sindhi and respect muslims but sunnis not shias

so why are sindhi hindus supporting muslim shias ?

hindus all over the world stop creating demi gods and concentrate on vishnu and shiva

AJ... said...

Hi Ajit,
Chanced upon this post as I was looking for a translation to this song.
Thanx for this amazing post. Loved the collection of videos too.
With Warm Regards,
Ajith

-=shekhar=- said...

I request you all to check out an amazing performance of this song by Shweta Subram at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evMYzq-8ZHU.

Please join her fan page at www.facebook.com/shwetasubram

Regards

The Great One said...

Sir,
Great work, but I am afraid the song is about two lals of sindh ... Jhulelal the hindu community god of sindh and mast qulander ..the sufi saint.
They are not the same as mentioned in ur blog.

Ravneet said...

Thanks for this. For me this version by Sabri brothers is truly magical. Raw but so so powerful

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuMNuhpXnc0

Tanim said...

here's an interesting version, amazing how many versions there are):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPnnYpA7DeI&feature=related

Push Vs Pull said...

I am just grooving to this legendary song all over. I was clueless about the meaning. Thanks a lot for explaining and sharing your knowledge in your blog.

Regards :-)

Kamal said...

AMAZING!! was just searching for the meaning of the song and came across your blog and could get all my answers !! a great work,, really appreciable !! I always loved to hear this song, now after knowing the meaning, my liking has doubled. Thank You!!

Puneet Mehta said...

Great work...one more qawali in English,hindi,punjabi..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvKbGVgLKrQ

gurubaba said...

good translation, and excellent compilation of videos.
2 points
1. This is a sindhi folk lore song and one of the word is mis interpreted. laal/lal in sindhi- can be translated to beloved/dearest
2. I concur with priya's interpretation.
Try it out with those interpretations.
Yes it is your blog and your viewpoint.
but you have it open for people to post their comments and view points, so there is no need to make this a forum for dialog by responding.

Rishu Walia said...

thanx 4 such good blog, can u plz explain the words in more way

Pecaeallover said...

It would have been a great pleasure if you could bear the pain of posting the song sung by eminent singer Runa Laila. If you haven't heard her singing this song yet, I would suggest that you should listen soon, she's simply awesome !

binayxp said...

Thanks for your work, I was listening to this great song since my childhood, but never knew what the real meaning was. Today I came to know about it.... A Great Work :)

Rijoo said...

You may like this one too.. thanks for posting the meaning :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOyU_Ig1rWk

vvr said...

well past is past and we have to live in present with out squabling about the physical history of the song ...... just see the soul and the way the song involves you is truly mysticism getting into you ...just close your eyes and not enjoy but get involved in the song...thanks for posting so many versions vvr

vvr said...

well past is past instead of squabbling about the history see the soul of the song and the way it involves you drags you in to it ... thats the greatness of the song ...thats what keeps it alive with somany versions ...for the believers it is the true mysticism at work ...just close your eyes and listen to the song with your heart ... thanks for posting so many versions

Ash Hossain said...

Nicely done Ajit.. Love the song even more now, sitting on the other side of the world. Thank you so much for enlightening another traveling soul. Might I suggest that you also add Komal Rizvi's souldful version of this song to your blog?

Ashraf

Sarthak Verma said...

Thank you!

Roli said...

Whatever is the meaning of this bhajan, it's compilation and music makes me forget all barriers.. race, religion... and just dance.. ekdum magan hoke :) love this post.. Thanks for sharing!

at a loss said...

thank you for the translation!!! you are right! The meaning of the song immensely increases one's liking for it.The song induces a certain sense of relief that is hard to explain. Great work !

simplesoul said...

Hi Ajit - Today I happened to see your Blog while searching for the origin of the song Dama Dum ...
It was a great pleasure and a surprise to see your blog. Very scholarly. I am a person who believes in Sufism. In fact I am born and brought up in a family of Sufi believers.
I will be reading your blog one by one. I am sure it is going to be a great pleasure.
I am writing a blog too. Please do visit my blog http://yogavashisht.blogspot.in/
Once again I must compliment you for doing such a great job. My regards .... Ram

Abhijit Badgujar said...

Thanks Ajit,

This post is priceless.

A great collection of all the versions of this amazing song, which is more like an experience.

Thanks.

Abhijit Badgujar said...

Thanks Ajit.

This post is priceless.

The collection of all these performances at one place is a real treat.

Thanks again.

Pratyush Garg said...

I have listened to this song so many times, and in so many voices that I don't even remember. But never had I felt the way I am feeling right now after learning the literal meaning of the same. Thanks for sharing this knowledge.

Pratyush Garg said...

I have listened to this song so many times, and in so many voices that I don't even remember. But never had I felt the way I am feeling right now after learning the literal meaning of the same. Thanks for sharing this knowledge.

AK Sharma said...

HI AJIT,
I TOO LIKE THIS SONG BY APPRECIATED SANAM MARVI AND YOU REVEALED THE MEANING, SO ITS GOOD ONE OF YOUR'S.

AND GUYZ WHO TOOK THIS SONG WRONGLY, I WOULD LIKE TO INFORM YOU THAT THIS IS A SUFI PRAY SONG. ITS LIKE LOVE WHICH HAS DIFFERENT COLORS OF SAME SOURCE. SO NEED OF DIFFERENTIATING OR PARTITIONING

Hitesh said...

Thanks..Being a Sindhi, I never knew the meaning of this song as I now know after reading your post.. thanks for the enlightenment...

hitesh.tulsani@gmail.com

Hitesh said...

Thanks a ton!! Being a Sindhi (by mother tongue), no one ever taught me the meaning of this song..After reading the post, I definitely know the meaning of this song deeply..

Thanks for the Enlightenment!

hitesh.tulsani@gmail.com

raj motwani said...

i came across ur blog while searching for this song.....i belong to sindhi community and this song was originated in sindh n it is sung for hindu god JHULELAL and not for muslim king.so get ur facts rite b4 posting

M. Taha Effendi said...

I believe that some of the information mentioned in your blog has not been researched well. For example, you say "He is also fondly called as Jhulelal". No one called him "Jhulelal" out of fondness. A bit of online researching would clearly prove that Jhulelal was the teacher of Shabaz Qalandar. Jhulelal, or Dariyalal or Jinda Pir is the Hindu Ishta Dev of Sindhi people. His birthday Cheti Chand which falls on the second day of the Chaitra month is auspicious for Sindhis and is celebrated all over the world with traditional pomp and gaiety. Therefore, the song refers to Jhulelal (the teacher) and Shabaz Qalandar (the muslim disciple).

Mohammed Owais Sayed said...

Sir, Good research, thanks for the post.

tycoon said...

The original song was written in honour of Sufi saint Hazrat shah qualander by Amir Khusro.The original song is in Punjabi.Later on it was modified and word Jhulelal is also added at different places by Sindhi saint Bulleshah so that the whole Sindhi(hindu and muslim) culture start reflecting from this song.It is then sung by various singers,Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Abida Parween being the two famous versions.

Vinay Nagendra Camala said...

Ajitji, heart-felt thanks for providing the meaning of this song. Its an all-time favourite and thanks again for uploading many videos of this spell-binding rendition from many an artists.

THE SALESMAN said...

Thanks for an excellent translation. Having a Sindi Hindu friend I know that Jhule Lal was a Sindi Hindu saint and as all Sindi contributors will vouch I believe the Sindis always greet each other by me mentioning Jhule all.
This song has a very deep meaning and as some one mentioned it is meant to convey a message of love of all humanity.

Vaibhav said...

great work ajit. i wanted to know the meaning of this great song and your blog seems fantastic.

LP said...

It is really great to find the translation in simple words. You have a done a fantastic service for putting this translation in your blog. However, as mentioned earlier, and admitted by you, it is not your translation, and you should have mentioned that in your blog, or you should mention it now in clear words. Not acknowledging this fact diminishes your hard work. Once again, a wonderful post and a great service.

prateek baid said...

Actually your information is highly flawed this bhajan was written for jhullelal a hindu god of sindhi people he was a reincarnation of wayuh devta then the great sufi poet added into it the name of hazrat lal shahbaz to make hindus and muslims closer so that both of them can revere to their gods through the same bhajan. Jhullelal was a god or we can say saint who was revered by hindus and muslims both that is why bulle shah retained his name

Sukhdev Singh said...

I read a re search book on the subject.It reduces Jhulelal,Shahabaz, Qualadar,saki,peera,Ali,Beda paar,char chirag,serwan into historical prospective. Jhulelal, or Dariyalal or Jinda Pir has something to do with a river god either located on a river island or on the banks of mighty sind(indus)river.The probability of it being in today's sind is high since the river starts to deltaise hence river islands.Historically sind was known as Bud, because Buddhism was most practice religion.Possibly river people living on fish could not have embraced Buddhism. Sindis would have seen Jhulelal standing on a fish. char CHIRAG- To remember the dead the burial place including of brave men till date in punjab and northern sind is lit by terracotta lamps, known as chirag.Something like amar jawan joyti .The word chiragh is derived from the Syriac shrag or shragh, meaning lamp.So tradition of lamp lighting though old in temples has acquired a new name because of syriac or sufi influence.Bade par- The term is indicating the fears of fisher men in a group or traders in a group to cross the river or navigate the river.Some local language dialects name the river sind (indus)as an ocean .Qualadar,PEER , shah baz,Ali,are influences of sufis who came to sind as a routine or along with military groups or part of general migration. It is common knowledge that one group does exert influence of religious views on others but this particular song signifies metamorphoses of a liberal popular place of worship.
The song is popular, melodious,historical ,traditional and makes us think what nonsense can a man do to an ocean like river .I believe now it can be crossed by wading through in dry months.

RitaRonita said...

It was great to find such an informative post about one of my all-time favourite songs, also liked reading the various opinions and comments. Thanks Ajit !
Rita Ronita

Vivek said...

Hi, Ajit, first of all, the work done by you in bringing all the videos is amazing and commendable.

Secondly, the song is actually talks about both, The ishtdeva of Hindu Sindhis, Lord Jhoolelal and, most revered saint of Sindhi Muslims, Lal Shahbaz Kalandar.
Spiritualy speaking, that is the beauty of the song that has made it the most listened, most recreated an, the consummate song. It is a true depiction of secularism and interreligious respect.