Bulleh Shah

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Bulleh Shah
BullehShah.jpg
An artistic depiction of Bulleh Shah
Born 1680 CE
Uch, Punjab
Died 1757 CE
Kasur, Punjab
Major shrine Kasur, Punjab
Influences Shah Hussain, Sultan Bahu, Shah Sharaf
Influenced Countless Sufi poets
Tradition/Genre
Kafi

Bulleh Shah, sometimes Bulla(h) Shah (1680–1757) (Punjabi: بلہے شاہ (Shahmukhi); ਬੁੱਲ੍ਹੇ ਸ਼ਾਹ (Gurumukhi)) was a Punjabi Sufi poet, humanist and philosopher. His full name was Syed Abdullah Shah Qadri.[1]

Poetry[edit]

Bulleh Shah lived in the same period as the Sindhi Sufi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhatai (1689–1752). His lifespan also overlapped with the Punjabi poet Waris Shah (1722–1798), of Heer Ranjha fame, and the Sindhi Sufi poet Abdul Wahab (1739–1829), better known by his pen name Sachal Sarmast. Amongst Urdu poets, Bulleh Shah lived 400 miles away from Mir Taqi Mir (1723–1810) of Agra.

Bulleh Shah practiced the Sufi tradition of Punjabi poetry established by poets like Shah Hussain (1538–1599), Sultan Bahu (1629–1691), and Shah Sharaf (1640–1724).

The verse form Bulleh Shah primarily employed is called the Kafi, a style of Punjabi, Sindhi and Saraiki poetry.

Bulleh Shah’s poetry and philosophy has never questioned the Islamic religious orthodoxy of his day but he did used sometimes metaphors to express his frustration towards the rigidity of Muslim clerics of his times.

Bulleh Shah’s 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 like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Pathanay Khan, Abida Parveen, the Waddali Brothers and Sain Zahoor, from the synthesized techno qawwali remixes of UK-based Asian artists to the Pakistani rock band Junoon.

Modern renderings[edit]

Abida Parveen sings the kalam of the sufi saint in 2003.

In the 1990s Junoon, a rock band from Pakistan, rendered his poems Bullah Ki Jaana and Aleph (Ilmon Bas Kareen O Yaar). In 2004, Rabbi Shergill turned the abstruse metaphysical poem Bullah Ki Jaana into a rock/fusion song that gained popularity in India and Pakistan.[2][3] The Wadali Bandhu, a Punjabi Sufi group from India, have also released a version of Bullah Ki Jaana in their album Aa Mil Yaar... Call of the Beloved. Another version was performed by Lakhwinder Wadali and entitled Bullah. Dama Dam Mast Qalandar, a qawwali composed in honour of Shahbaz Qalandar, has been one of Bulleh Shah's most popular poems and has been frequently rendered by many Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi singers including Noor Jehan, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Abida Parveen, Sabri Brothers, Wadali brothers, Reshman, Runa Laila, and Arieb Azhar. Other qawwali song by Shah, include Sade Vehre Aya Kar and Mera Piya Ghar Aaya.

Bulleh Shah's verses like Tere Ishq Nachaya have also been adapted and used in Bollywood film songs including Chaiyya Chaiyya and Thayya Thayya in the 1998 film Dil Se.., and "Ranjha Ranjha" in the 2010 film Raavan. Released in 2004, Rabbi Shergill's debut album Rabbi featured Bulla Ki Jana; the song was a chart-topper in 2005, helping the album to eventually sell over 100,00 copies. The 2007 Pakistani movie Khuda Kay Liye includes Bulleh Shah's poetry in the song Bandeya Ho. The 2008 film A Wednesday, included a song titled Bulle Shah, O Yaar Mere. In 2009, the first episode of the second season of Pakistan's Coke Studio featured Aik Alif performed by Sain Zahoor and Noori, while a year later, the first episode of the third season featured Na Raindee Hai and Makke Gayaan Gal Mukdi Nahi performed by Arieb Azhar. In 2013, Rabbi Shergill performed his composition of Bulla Ki Jana (originally released on his debut album in 2004) at the Hum TV Awards in Karachi, Pakistan.

Bulleh Shah's verses have been an inspiration to painters as well, as in the two series of paintings (Jogia Dhoop and Shah Shabad) by an Indian painter Geeta Vadhera inspired by the poetry of Bulleh Shah and other Sufi poets and saints. Recently"Chal Bulhya" song is being incorporated into Indian Movie "Total Siyapa 2014" starring Ali Zafar.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bulleh Shah: the love-intoxicated iconoclast, by J. R. Puri, Tilaka Raj Shangri. Radha Soami Satsang Beas, 1986
  • Great Sufi Poets of The Punjab, by R. M. Chopra, Iran Society, Kolkata, 1999.

See also[edit]

Works online[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Life of Bulleh Shah
  2. ^ Zeeshan Jawed (4 June 2005). "Soundscape for the soul". Calcutta: The Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  3. ^ Bageshree S. (26 March 2005). "Urban balladeer". The Hindu. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 

External links[edit]