Published on 01 Sep 2009 | over 7 years ago
Bulleh Shah (1680 1757) (Punjabi: Shahmukhi:بلہے شاہ, Gurmukhi: ਬੁੱਲ੍ਹੇ ਸ਼ਾਹ}}), whose real name was Abdullah Shah , was a Punjabi Muslim Sufi poet, a humanist and philosopher.
Bulleh Shahs writings represent him as a humanist, someone providing solutions to the sociological problems of the world around him as he lives through it, describing the turbulence his motherland of Punjab is passing through, while concurrently searching for God. His poetry highlights his mystical spiritual voyage through the four stages of Sufism: Shariat (Path), Tariqat (Observance), Haqiqat (Truth) and Marfat (Union). The simplicity with which Bulleh Shah has been able to address the complex fundamental issues of life and humanity is a large part of his appeal. Thus, many people have put his kafis to music, from humble street-singers to renowned Sufi singers.
Bulleh Shahs popularity stretches uniformly across Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims, to the point that much of the written material about this philosopher is from Hindu and Sikh authors. His involvement with atheism did not sit well with the contemporary Muslims, as a result of which few biographies of him from Islamic sources exist.
Singers: Wadali Brothers - Puran Chand and Pyare Lal
Born in Guru Ki Wadali, the birthplace of the sixth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Hargobind, the earthy siblings from Punjab have come a long way since that first performance. However, even after giving concerts all over the world including Pakistan, they keep themselves alot of from today's cut-throat world of concert circuit performers.
Puran Chand Wadali and Pyare Lal Wadali say they received their initial training from their father, Thakur Das. ``Later, we learnt classical music under Pandit Durga Das of Amritsar, Ustad Ashiq Ali Khan and Macchan Khan, Machchan Khan and Bade Ghulam Ali Khan,'' says Pyare Lal Wadali.
What makes their music distinct is the ``bani of Sufi saints'' like Ghulam Farid, Shah Hussain, Sultan Bahu, Kabir and Guru Nanak. ``It is in the style of classical music, but it is more of Bhakti music,'' says Puran Chand, adding: ``It is music that makes you one with God. And so, it differs from entertainment or folk music and certainly cannot be adapted to Bhangra style''.
Predictably, the two are critical of those who claim to sing Sufiana Kalam but present their albums with a bevy of dancers surrounding them. ``How can that be Sufiana?'' asks Pyare Lal. ``We have sung in homes of almost all film actors but have never once accepted any offer to sign in films''.
The two had also steadfastly refused to do any album till recently. ``We were requested by Zee Music to do an album just for the sake of records. This will be out in about a month's time,'' they inform. ``Another one was stealthily brought out by T-series last year but it has since been withdrawn from the market.''
Over the years, the two have learnt to adapt their music to suit audience taste. ``There is an advantage of singing Sufiana Kalam. Though it has a structure and composition like classical music, it is so vast that one can branch off in any direction -- singing fast beats for the younger crowd or slow rhythmic ones for a more sober audience,'' says Pyare Lal.
Their popularity as a singer brought them the coveted Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 1991. And considering that they are celebrities, the two are indeed very humble. ``Even if a child on the street asks us to sing, we begin there and then. Who knows it might be God in a human form testing us?'' they say in unison.