Singer Abhram Bhagat

Written by Arunkumar Deshmukh
Promotion
Print

Written By

Arunkumar Deshmukh

 

Admin’s Note: We are thankful for the permission to use material from www.atulsongaday.me

Singer Abhram Bhagat 

The role of music, dance and songs in the cultural life of India is as old as Civilisation. In olden times, kings and badshahs used to have court singers, court dancers and musicians and they supported many fine arts too.Thus Music not only had the Public support but also Royal Patronage.

 

No wonder then,that in every nook and corner of India, music, songs and dance had its variations thriving in each state, specific to its local culture. Carnatic music, Hindustani classical music, film music and non-film music had its own supporters.

 

Much before films started talking and singing, the non-film songs were popular in many forms. They could be classified in 3 categories,broadly-

1. Ghazals and related types

2.Bhajans and other devotional songs 

3. Geets.

 

Out of the above, ghazals and the related songs had a base of pure urdu. Hence, it was limited to a certain class of people who knew, appreciated or understood that language. Though, there have been ghazals in other languges like Gujrati, Punjabi and Sindhi, they have not been so common.

 

Bhajans and Geets had simpler grammars and were available in many local languages, so these type of songs being more common man friendly had a widespread acceptability.

As such, bhajans and religious songs were a part of our social life and Indian culture all over the country. As a result, many bhajan singers became quite famous. A large chunk of non-film songs consisted of Bhajans.Added to it were songs written by our various saints like Tulsidas, Meerabai, Soordas, Kabir, Tukaram, Namdeo, Ramdas and Thyagraja to name a few.

 Singer Abhram Bhagat

75 % of Indian public enjoyed Hindi bhajans and so the recording companies were always on the lookout for good bhajan singers. In the early 40s,50s and 60s many Gujarati, Rajasthani and Marathi bhajan singers became well known.

 

Today, we will learn about one such Gujrati Bhajan singer,who was famous not only in India, but also in USA, UK, Canada, African and European countries from 40s to 70s.

 

His name is ABHRAM BHAGAT.

 

Many senior readers,especially the Gujrati readers will certainly remember his name. Though Abhram Bhagat was internationally famous as bhajan singer, very few know that he was actually a Muslim ! And, he was a handicapped person, having lost one leg completely !!

 

I first heard his name in the early 50s. My father was a great Shiv Bhakt. We had a Big Shiv Mandir built in the open area surrounding our House. All of us were fond of Shiv bhajans. One day my father brought a new 78 RPM record,which was a Bhajan by Abhram Bhagat. We were all memsmerised with his clear pronunciation and his style of singing. From time to time the record shop used to send us any Abhram bhagat record they received. We did not know much about him, except that he was from Gujrat. Though in later years I left Hyderabad and was busy in career building, family raising etc, I used to recollect one particular Bhajan by Abhram Bhagat-" Haath chakra Trishool Sadashiv" always. I had all its Lyrics jotted down that time.

 

 

When 3 years back I started writing on old films, songs etc, I again remembered this song. I started searching for it but could not find it anywhere. Similarly there was no information available on Abhram bhagat in any book or on any Internet site I became very restless.Then suddenly, one day I came across this song on You tube. Unfortunately, before i could note down the location details etc,my laptop had a premature death and I had to go for a new laptop.

 

After settling down, I started looking for that elusive song again,but, believe me, for the next one year I could not get it. Then like earlier time, suddenly I found it again on You Tube. This time first I downloaded it and then found out that this rare gem from the 30s was uploaded by one Mr. Suresh Shandil,of Australia-as per Youtube details.

 I wrote a mail to him requesting for his permission to use his Video for my article. He replied promptly giving me the permission. He again wrote to me giving details of how He got this song from Fiji islands Radio station,in these words:-

 

"Dear Arunkumar ji,

 

As per your request, I have no hesitation if you used the contents of this bhajan by Sri Abhiram, as long as it is not for commercial purpose.

 

I have gone a great length to secure this bhajan on youtube a few years ago...mainly for the present and future generations. 

 

I also used to hear this bhajan when I was a little boy in primary school. The then Fiji Broadcasting Commission (hidustani programme) aired it almost every morning and I used to wake up with this bhajan to prepare to go to school. 

 

I obtained this bhajan in a cassette form, from the Radio Fiji archives, through a technician friend of mine.

 

I now live in Haridwar, Uttarkhand and have done so for a few years. Ganga ji entices me for some reason.

 

I will look forward to following you online to see your work in preserving the works of older vocal artists.

 

Thanking you  "

 

Thanks Mr. Suresh Shandil for your kind gesture.

 

Now,I had the song and the Lyrics (which I had carried carefully for almost 60 years) and the permission. Now the only thing remained was to get Abhram Bhagat's information.

Having failed on all fronts to get this information, I quietly surrendered to my friend from Surat (Gujrat),Mr.Harish Raghuvanshi ji.,whom we all know as a famous author on songs, singers and composers and a reservoir of information about Hindi and Gujrati Films of yore.

He was kind enough to contact his five friends spread all over Gujrat.To my good Luck, one Mr. Rajnikumar Pandya responded instantly that he knew Abhram Bhagat personally and intimately and that he would send all the relevant material soon.

 

Within a time of just two days,I was flooded with scans of several photos, Invitation cards, program cards, letters, postcards, certificates, newspaper scans of articles and news items, letters form Abhram Bhagat and such related material from Mr.Pandya through Harish ji.

 

I was totally overwhelmed by the generosity and helpful nature of both Harish ji and Pandya ji. I got more material than I needed actually.

 

Mr. Rajnikumar pandya ji,75,a resident of Ahmedabad, is a famous author of more than 50 books, many of which are made into films and TV serials, both in Gujrati and Hindi. He is also the winner

of Sahitya Academy awards from Gujrat Govt for a record five times ! He has also written a book," Aap ki parchhaian" in Gujrati, Hindi and English,on Hindi film music directors.

 

I sincerely thank both Mr. Harish Raghuvanshi ji and Rajnikumar Pandya ji for their kind help. The images in this article are also from the same material.

 

All the material I had received was in Gujrati. Though I can read Gujrati,with my speed of reading it, probably 2-3 weeks would have gone by. This was not a problem.I requested my good friend Mr. Jaywant bhai Chavda,a connoissiuer of old Hindi songs and a collector of songs. He graciously agreed to help me by translating all the required material into English.

Thanks,Mr Jayawant bhai Chavda ji.

 Singer Abhram Bhagat at a Programme

I am very happy that it is the FIRST time that information,in English,about Abhram Bhagat  is being made available, on this Blog.

 

IBRAHIM KARIM SUMARA was born on 24-10-1920 at a small village Navagadh near Jaitpur,in Saurashtra region of Gujrat. His father was a police sepoy. Due to poverty of the family, Ibrahim could attend school only upto First standard.he left school and after few years started working as a labourer in the Ghulam Hussain Mill. One day unfortunately he met with an accident in the Mill and one of his legs was caught in the machine. He was taken to Jaitpur's Sir Adamji Haji Dawood Hospital next day, but by that time an infection had spread in his leg and finally his entire leg had to be amputated.

Ibrahim was a handicapped person now and in addition no longer had a job too. His Uncle was a Police patel in a nearby village Khirsara,near jaitpur. Ibrahim went there to stay. In that village,on every full moon night a Bhajan programme was arranged in the house of  Rambhai Khod bhai. Young Ibrahim used to go there and play Manjira(an instrument) while Bhajans were sung. Slowly he started singing Bhajans himself and soon his Golden voice became popular in the village.

Once he started singing Krishna Bhajans, his fame spread and he was invited to the Junagadh Bharnath Fair. Thousands of people enjoyed his bhajans and thus started his bhajan yatra to several towns of Saurashtra. His bhajan singing changed his name from Ibrahim to Abhram and due to krishna Bhajans Bhagat was added, Thus the name ABHRAM BHAGAT was born and he became known as an expert bhajan singer. The darbar of Wadia gave him accommodation in the Suragpara area. He built a house and married Halim Bano, daughter of sepoy Kalubhai of Jaitpur.

 

Although handicapped due to sheer determination he reached the top .By singing Krishna Bhajans,he became a favourite of Vaishnav Community.In those days, about 50-60 years ago, there were many Bhajan singers in Gujrat like,Yeshwant Bhatt, Mohanlal Rayani, Kanubhai Barot, Dula Bhagat etc, but Abhram Bhagat was the most popular.

Abhram Bhagat was very good in "AKHYAN"-which has a story and songs are built around the story. His  famous akhyan was ' Kunwarbai nu Mameru". he also sang various other types like, Ardha,katari,Prabhatiya,Ramgarhi etc.

 

Within a short period his fame spread far and wide and his shows became housefull even in Bombay and other places. His popularity grew further after he sang bhajans by Dula Bhay Kag.

Many Recording labels like Columbia and HMV etc entered into contract with him .His Gujrati and Hindi Bhajan records (called "Tawdi" locally) were fast sellers. In those days HMV did not have the Gold Disc system,otherwise 50% of his records would have qualified for it,surely. His Hindi recods of SaiBaba bhajans were extremely popular. In those days,his popularity was such that people would go to only those Hotels which played his records !

The 1965 war was started by Pakistan on Kutch Border. Abhram Bhagat sent his entire earnings to prime Misnister's War fund.

 

This Muslim singer’s work was appreciated by Mahatma Gandhi, himself, who wrote a personal letter to him lauding his songs. He sang krishna Bhajans in the presence of Lal  Bahadur Shastri, our PM then, at new Delhi and he was praised by him. In his letter he said that he was he was spellbound by his Bhajans.

He became so popular that he started getting invitations from various countries. In 1973,he undertook a visit to USA on the invitation of "American Society For Eastern Arts", Centre for International Progress and Service" and ' New York State University(Dept. of Education)". This tour lasted for almost a year. His each show was housefull in New York, Washington, Chicago and other cities, where the Indian population was sizable.

 

He also visited Canada,UK and many countries in Eastern Africa and Europe.

 

Money started flowing in and Abhram bhagat purchased Agricultural land in vadia. He put his son Mihir in Rajkot's famous Rajkumar College (for rich class only). He also married his daughters and saw that they were settled properly.

 

Despite being handicapped and illiterate (Gujrat Govt. had sent their Information officer Mr. P.L.Sadhu, along with Bhagat,as his interpreter to all foreign countries), Abhram bhagat became a successful Bhajan Singer. Haji Issabhai,a regular Dholak player in his troup  describes Bhagat as a very simple person, with his feet firmly on the ground. Bhagat himself enjoyed singing Bhajans.

Though he was not ill or in advanced age, Abhram bhagat died on 27-2-1988 peacefully. All newspapers reported his death by saying "Tanpure Ki Ek Taar Toot Gayi'.

 

The Bhajan we are about to enjoy is from a period 1930-1940. The Lyricist is unknown. the tune and the music must be by Bhagat himself as he gave music to his Bhajans himself.

This bhajan is based on a story in Shiv Puran, according to which, Lord Shiva, on hearing that Lord Vishnu has taken Avtar of Krishna in Gokul, wants to meet him makes a visit to Gokul. The entire bhajan describes the happening very interestingly and you feel as if you are seeing all that yourself.

 

So,here is the Rare Gem from the 30s for you to enjoy in the Golden voice of ABHRAM BHAGAT......

 

The Bhajan....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lyrics-

 

Lyrics

Haath Chakra Trishool Sadashiv
Alekh Jagaate Hain Nagari Mein
Shri Krishna Ke Darshan Kaaran
Aaye Sadashiv Gokul Mein

Jataa Sheesh Par Ganga Beh Rahi
Chandrama Sthit Mastak Mein
Galey Roond Ki Maala Biraaje
Roop Bana Hit Kaaran Mein

Shesh Naag Jabhi Gale Mein Lapte
Aalam Bhar Ka Dookh Harey
Kaun Desh Se Aaya Jogi
Dekha Gokul Nagari Ne

Aap Hai Bramha, Aap Hai Vishnu
Aap Hai Ubhayanandkari
Gali Gali Mein Alekh Jagaate
Aane Khade Nand Mahalan Mein

Maata Yashoda Mahal Mein Baithi
Awaz Utra Kaanan Mein
Baahar Nikal Jabhi Aayi Yashoda
Aane Khadi Hai Darwaajan Mein

Jab Jogi Ka Swaroop Dekha
Vichaar Karti Hai Man Mein
Thaali Bhar Kar Kanchan Deve
Lo Babaji Jholi Mein

Mahadev Kahte Hum Nahin Lete
Le Jaa Maiyya Apne Ghar Mein
Chaar Foont Ka Sona Roopa
Padaa Rahat Meri Jholi Mein

Door Desh Ka Hum Hai Jogi
Dhyaan Na Daaun Tere Bolan Mein
Tere Baalak Ke Darshan Kaaran
Aaye Hain Hum Gokul Mein

Lena Hoye To Le Baba Ji
Yeh Baat Nahin Hone Ki
Mera Baalak Kal Ka Janma
Khabar Nahin Us Ko Tan Ki

Kaala Peela Roop Tumhaara
Soorat Jaise Baadhan Ki
Mera Baalak Darr Kar Mar Jaaye
Nazar Lagey Kisi Daakan Ki

Hanskar Man Mein Kahat Sadashiv
Ye Balak Nahin Darne Ka
Teen Lok Ko Yehi Daraave
Trata Hai Chaar Teerthan Ka

Rishi Munishwar Devi Devta
Dhyan Dhare Tere Baalak Ka
Tumne Baalak Aisa Janma
Kaam Sidhaare Chahub Lokan Kaa

Jaldi Laao Jaldi Laao
Darshan Karke Jaun Ban Mein
Door Desh Ka Hum Hai Jogi
Rahne Waale Parbat Mein

Apne Man Mein Samajhi Yashoda
Le Aayi Shri Krishna Koon
Shankh Chakra Bhuj Paaon Padam Mein
Sheesh Mugut Sir Shobhan Mein

Nazro Nazar Jabhi Mil Gaye Dono
Sheesh Namaaya Shankar Soon
Antardhyan Dono Hil Mil Gaye
Maaloom Nahin Koi Virle Ko

De Ashish Jogi Chale Jungle Mein
Sukhi Rahe Tera Jaaya
Soor Shyam Prabhu Kunj Biraaje
Sakhiyaan Ne Mangal Gaaya

Haath Chakra Trishool Sadashiv
Alakh Jagaate Nagari Mein
Shri Krishna Ke Darshan Kaaran
Aaye Sadashiv Gokul Mein

—————————————-
Hindi script lyrics courtesy Sudhir Kapur ji
—————————————-

हाथ चक्र त्रिशूल सदाशिव
अलख जगाते नगरी में
श्री कृष्ण के दर्शन कारण
आए सदाशिव गोकुल में

जटा शीश पर गंगा बह रही
चंद्रमा स्थित मस्तक में
गले रूण्ड की माला बिराजे
रूप बना हित कारण में

शेष नाग जभी गले में लपटे
आलम भर का दु:ख हरे
कौन देस से आया जोगी
देखा गोकुल नगरी ने

आप ही ब्रह्मा आपे विष्णु
आप ही उभयानंदकारी
गली गली में अलख जगाते
आन खड़े नन्द महलन में

माता यशोदा महल में बैठी
अवाज उतरा कानन में
बाहर निकल जभी आई यसोदा
आन खड़ी है दरवाजन में

जब जोगी का स्वरूप देखा
वीचार करती है मन में
थाली भर कर कंचन देवे
लो बाबा जी झोली में

महादेव कहते हम नहीं लेते
ले जा मैया अपने घर में
चार फूंक का सोना रूपा
पड़ा रहत मेरी झोली में

दूर देश का हम है जोगी
ध्यान न देऊन तेरे बोलन में
तेरे बालक के दर्शन कारण
आए हैं हम गोकुल में

लेना होइ तो ले बाबा जी
ये बात नहीं होने की
मेरा बालक कल का जनमा
खबर नहीं उस को तन की

काला पीला रूप तुम्हारा
सूरत जैसे बाघन की
मेरा बालक डर कर मर जाये
नज़र लगे कीसी दाखन की

हंस कर मन में क़हत सदाशिव
ये बालक नहीं डरने का
तीन लोक को येही डरावे
दाता है चार तृटन का

ऋषि मुनीशवर देवी देवता
ध्यान धरें तेरे बालक का
तुमने बालक ऐसा जनमा
काम सुधारे चहुं लोकन का

जल्दी लाओ जल्दी लाओ
दर्शन कर के जाऊँ बन में
दूर देश का हम है जोगी
रहने वाले पर्बत में

अपने मन में समझी यशोदा
ले आई श्री कृष्ण कूँ
शंख चक्र भुज पाँव पदम में
शीशमुकुट सिर सोहन कूँ

नजर ओ नजर जभी मिल गए दोनों
शीश नमाया शंकर सूं
अंतर्ध्यान दोनों हिल मिल गए
मालूम नहीं कोई विरले को

दे आशीष जोगी चले जंगल में
सुखी रहे तेरा जाया
सूर श्याम प्रभु कुंज बिराजे
सखियाँ ने मंगल गाया

हाथ चक्र त्रीशूल सदाशिव
अलख जगाते नगरी में
श्री कृष्ण के दर्शन कारण
आए सदाशिव गोकुल में

You can also enjoy some Gujrati bhajans of his below thanks to the Gujarati Sangeet youtube channel

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLazI1OdxYTlAIvOk9VrIYlePAfpb-N7-V

If you have any other information on the legendary singer including his discography do please share it with us!

Details and posts on other artists are also welcome!!

Share

Translate Page

English French German Hindi Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish Urdu
You are here:   HomeSpecialsEk FankaarSinger Abhram Bhagat
| + - | RTL - LTR