Mai ne main kinon aakhaan - Shah Hussain

Listening to Shah Hussain today, one of 4 of my favorite punjabi sufi poets - the others being Baba Sheikh Farid, Baba Bulleh Shah and Sultan Bahu. Shah Hussain writes poetry in Lehnda Punjabi, or multani, the kind of punjabi that I grew up hearing in our household. So it appears especially sweet to me. 

Shah Hussain was the pioneer of the kafi form of Punjabi poetry.  I am reminded one day that I was talking to my friend and collaborator Rajesh Prasanna and I told him of my desire to do some Multani Kafi's in the future.  He responded quickly by saying that would be exciting ... and he started playing raag multani. And I had to stop him ... multani kafi is actually a style of singing which is the same as a thumri; it is called kafi in punjab!

Lyrics and translation that I found elsewhere:

Mai ne main kinon aakhaan,
Dard vichore da haal ni
O mother O mother, who do I tell,
this pain of separation

Dhuan dhukhay mairay murshid wala,
Jaan phoulaan taan laal ni
My Master's fire smoulders,
If I poke, its red hot

Soolan mar dewani keeti,
Birhoun peya saday khayali
Driven mad with spikes,
Pain of separation fills my thoughts

Dukhan di roti, Soolaan da saalan,
Aahen da baalan baal
Bread of sadness, sauce of spikes,
Make a fire of laments

Jungle bailay phiraan main Dhoudaindi 
ajay na paayo laal
Wandered jungles and deserts,
But not found the ruby

Ranjhan Ranjhan phiraan dhoudaindi,
Ranjhan mairay nal
wander looking for Ranjhan Ranjhan,
But Ranjhan is with me

Kahay Hussain faqeer nimanaa,
Shoh milay taan theevan nihaal
Says Hussain the poor faqeer,
Meeting love would be ecstatic

Lyrics in Punjabi 

ਮਾਏਂ ਨੀਂ ਮੈਂ ਕੈਨੂੰ ਆਖਾਂ

ਮਾਏਂ ਨੀਂ ਮੈਂ ਕੈਨੂੰ ਆਖਾਂ,
ਦਰਦੁ ਵਿਛੋੜੇ ਦਾ ਹਾਲਿ ।1।ਰਹਾਉ।

ਧੂੰਆਂ ਧੁਖੇ ਮੇਰੇ ਮੁਰਸ਼ਦਿ ਵਾਲਾ,
ਜਾਂ ਫੋਲਾਂ ਤਾਂ ਲਾਲ ।1।

ਸੂਲਾਂ ਮਾਰ ਦਿਵਾਨੀ ਕੀਤੀ,
ਬਿਰਹੁੰ ਪਇਆ ਸਾਡੇ ਖ਼ਿਆਲ ।2।

ਦੁਖਾਂ ਦੀ ਰੋਟੀ ਸੂਲਾਂ ਦਾ ਸਾਲਣੁ,
ਆਹੀਂ ਦਾ ਬਾਲਣੁ ਬਾਲਿ ।3।

ਜੰਗਲਿ ਬੇਲੇ ਫਿਰਾਂ ਢੂੰਢੇਂਦੀ,
ਅਜੇ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਲਾਲ ।4।

ਕਹੈ ਹੁਸੈਨ ਫ਼ਕੀਰ ਨਿਮਾਣਾ,
ਸ਼ਹੁ ਮਿਲੇ ਤਾਂ ਥੀਵਾਂ ਨਿਹਾਲਿ ।5।

More on Shah Hussain -

Shah Hussain (1538 - 1599) was a Punjabi poet and Sufi saint. Shah Hussain was the pioneer of the kafi form of Punjabi poetry.  He was born in Lahore (present-day Pakistan). His tomb and shrine lies in Baghbanpura, adjacent to the Shalimar Gardens.

His urs (annual death anniversary) is celebrated at his shrine every year. It is known as "Mela Chiraghan" ("Festival of Lights") and I was surprised to find out that it is the second largest festival in Lahore after Basant. It used to be the biggest festival of the Punjab.

Also surprising was to find out that Shah Hussain loved a Brahmin boy called "Madho" or "Madho Lal". So much so that they are often referred to as a single person with the composite name of "Madho Laal Hussain". Madho's tomb lies next to Hussain's in the shrine.