Alamgir: Power and Pride - E.1/2

By Anis Shakur
Friday – November 15, 2019
NEW YORK (United States): Tum he say aye mujahido jahan ka sabaat hai, tumhari mishal-e-wafa farogh-e-shash jihad hai... Years ago, Joseph Campbell, American professor of literature, opined, ‘The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.’ I need to enter the cave that holds the treasure trove of Alamgir’s songs.

Alamgir Haq was born in 1954 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Search for green pastures took Alamgir to the sun-blessed Karachi, in 1970, at sixteen years of age. Adorers remember Alamgir with his guitar, singing and entertaining the public in Hill Park, Karachi. Additionally, Alamgir played guitar in Café D’Khan, Tariq Road, Karachi.

Because of his focused concentration, the teenage dreamer, as Alamgir was at the time, became a success. One of those days, Sohail Rana spotted Alamgir and offered him to participate in the children’s program. Thus, Alamgir began his musical journey from Pakistani television. Alamgir claimed his own fame before turning nineteen.

Next, Alamgir sang ‘Albela rahi, mein hoon albela rahi,’ in 1973, from Karachi television station. In fact, Alamgir stepped in at a time when Ahmed Rushdi and Mehdi Hasan were still lighting the musical sky.

Soon, the song ‘Pyar hai zindigi ka gehna maano mera kehna,’ sung to perfection by Alamgir, enthralled the audience.

This song proves for the umpteenth time that some people like Alamgir, are just destined to rise to the top: ‘Shaam say pehlay Aana’.

To narrate the stirring, true story of Alamgir is to relate one memorable hit after another. In the song below, the sound of the sea is a rhythmic, almost melodic accompaniment to the lovely voice: ‘Chahay Aandhi Aaye ray, chahay megha chaye ray, mujhay us paar lay jana maajhi ray.’

The word ‘Alamgir’ literally means ‘ruler of the world.’ Indeed, singer Alamgir takes pride in truly living up to his name. Since, through his voice, Alamgir rules the hearts and minds of music buffs round the globe.

Reverting to Alamgir’s songs, he had the strength, gumption and independence to come up with his own lyrics and music compositions. One example: ‘Mein nay tumhari gagar say kabhi paani piya tha piyasa tha mein yaad karo.

Those were the days of stiff competition as Alamgir forged his way up. What is more, the lyrics of Alamgir’s songs still nourish our soul. Here is a song and a composition that conveys the loyalty of the Pakistani nation:

‘Naye dino ki masafatoan ko ujalna hai, wafa say Aasuda sa’atoan ko ujalna hai, umeed-e-subhay jamal rakhna, khayal rakhna’, singers, Alamgir – Benjamin Sisters.

Alamgir rendered songs for the 1977 mega hit film ‘Aa’ena.’ The lucid poetry combined with Robin Ghosh’s scores produced these two magnificent musical masterpieces: ‘Mujhay dil say na bhulana, chahay rokay ye zamana.’ Duet, Alamgir- Mehnaz, the film ‘Aa’ena.’

‘Wada karo saajna chu kay mujhay tum abhi.’ Duet, Alamgir- Mehnaz in the film ‘Aaena.’

Most importantly, Alamgir knows that when the goal is worth achieving, nothing is beyond reach. He came distinctly powerful in the 1976 song ‘Deikha na tha, kabhi hum nay ye sama, aisa nasha teray pyar mein piya socha na tha, kho gaye sapno mein hum.’

In addition, it fills one’s heart with hope, aspiration and longing as one listens to a soulful Alamgir, ‘Sohni dharti Allah rakhay qadam, qadam Aabaad, qadam. qadam, Aabaad tujhay.’

No matter where we come from or what color we are, the only color one should recognize is the color of the music we make.’ This phrase sounds good for Alamgir’s songs like, ‘Allah ka in’aam ye Azad watan.’

Likewise, the transporting power of love and gentility are successfully captured in this song, ‘Ye shaam aur tera naam, dono kitnay miltay jultay hain, tera naam naheen loon ga, bus tujh ko shaam kahoon ga.’

To his adorers, Alamgir personifies the ideal singer. Regarding his songs, the message in the hand- written lyrics still echoes today, ‘Deikh tera kya rang kar diya hai, khushbu ka jhonka teray sung kar diya hai.’

Like many of us, Alamgir also believes that we are the architects of our own fortunes, and that our happiness depends, in the end, on ourselves. This song proves that Alamgir fulfilled himself artistically and personally, ‘Hum chalay to hamaray sung nazaray chalay, kaisa ye sama hai, bay khudi hai, dil jawan hai, kaun janay kab ye mausum dhalay, Pictured on Nadeem, the 1975 film 'Jageer,’ Neelay amber pay.’ ‘Haseen wadiyoan say ye.’ ‘Aaj phir gulshan-e-tauheed.’

All through these times, Alamgir has given performances that will stand as a musical highpoint for an extended period. One example is this song, ‘Dil kay sub raastay, teray he wastay.’

The intoxication of glory, Oh! How uplifted Alamgir would be! Dwelling on his music, what could be more versatile then these three songs: ‘Tu hai kahan shaam hai,’ ‘Gagar ko churoo,’ ‘Dam mast qalandar.’

Similarly, sure, poignant strains of Alamgir’s melody emerges in ‘Aye meray dil tu rona naheen.’

Throughout his music career, Alamgir received overwhelming support from his admirers. That encouragement strengthened his faith in his own resourcefulness. Through songs like the three below, Alamgir provided countless hours of pleasure to innumerable loyal fans:

‘Kabhi tum idhar say guzar kay to deikho.’
‘Duniya meri ab wo naheen.’
‘Jis ka naam naheen liya tha.’

Pursuing television or stage, Alamgir is equally bold and bodacious. Remarkable people like Alamgir inspired some of our favorite songs like the three below:

Neelay amber pay.’
‘Haseen wadiyoan say ye.’
‘Aaj phir gulshan-e-tauheed.’

Moreover, Alamgir’s electrifying presentations gave the stage respectability and true importance. (to be continued...)

Info: Eminent storyteller, Anis Shakur, is a Pakistani born United States (US) citizen. He works for the US federal and State government. He resides at a stone-throw distance from the darting shores of the Atlantic ocean in New York, for the past three decades.