Saanware Tore Bina Jiya Jaye Na: A monsoon melody of melancholy

Saanware Tore Bina Jiya Jaye Na: A monsoon melody of melancholy

Photo: Touseful Islam


Composed in Raag Jog and performed by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, "Saanware Tore Bina Jiya Jaye Na" is a euphonical expression of the torrents of emotions that mirrors the downpour within the soul

Touseful Islam

Publisted at 3:31 PM, Tue Jul 2nd, 2024

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As the monsoon rains lash down, a torrent of emotions mirrors the downpour within the soul.

Composed in Raag Jog and performed by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, "Saanware Tore Bina Jiya Jaye Na" is a euphonical expression of those emotions.

It is not merely a musical piece woven with the threads of a lovelorn heart but a mélange of emotions that parallels the monsoon's ethereal beauty and melancholic essence.

The title itself, translating to "My beautiful one, life refuses to be lived without you," sets the stage for a poignant exploration of longing. 

The ghazal, with its couplets, becomes a vessel for lament. 

Each verse, like a raindrop pattering on a windowpane, taps into the ache of yearning. 

The evocative imagery paints a picture of a love as essential as the rains themselves.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Sahab’s masterful vocal - soaring and then dipping with controlled anguish, echo the unpredictable nature of the monsoon. 

His voice, infused with raw emotion, captures the yearning of the lover's heart. 

With each verse, the listener is drawn deeper into the world of the song, sharing in the protagonist's pain and yearning for a love that seems as elusive as the sunshine during the monsoon.

The melody, steeped in the melancholic beauty of Raag Jog, mirrors the grey skies and the damp earth, creating a symphony of longing.

Monsoon as metaphor

Monsoon, in its essence, is a paradox of renewal and reflection. 

The incessant downpour, the rhythmic patter of raindrops, and the lush greenery it begets are juxtaposed against the grey skies and the sombre mood it often brings. 

Similarly, "Saanware Tore Bina Jiya Jaye Na" oscillates between the ecstasy of devotion and the agony of separation - like the monsoon, it cascades through the listener’s heart.

The very lifeblood of the land, the rain, becomes a metaphor for the tears the beloved cannot shed. The cool breeze that accompanies the downpour carries with it the memory of the beloved's touch, intensifying the longing.

The term "Saanware" a term of endearment often used to refer to Krishna, the divine lover, symbolises an unattainable ideal, a beloved who is eternally missed. 

And so, the song, thus, is also conversation between the mortal and the divine, where the mortal lover expresses an unquenchable thirst for union.

The monsoon metaphor in the song is palpable. The ghazal's imagery further reinforces this parallel. 

Just as the earth longs for the first drops of rain, parched and cracked, the lover in the song yearns for the presence of the beloved. The rains bring life to the barren lands, much like the beloved's presence revitalises the lover's soul. 

However, the rain also brings with it a sense of nostalgia and reflection, mirroring the lover’s pain of separation.

Lines like "Yaad Teri Mori Mannat Paaey Saari" (Memory of you fulfills all my desires) evoke the way the parched land yearns for the rain. 

Sleepless nights, restless heart – all mirror the turmoil within as the beloved remains distant.

And it is a testament to the universality of love's ache. 

It transcends cultures and languages, resonating with anyone who has ever felt the pang of separation. 

The monsoon, with its dramatic beauty and melancholic charm, becomes the perfect backdrop for this timeless tale of longing.

Voice of the virtuoso

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s rendition of this song is akin to a monsoon storm—powerful, overwhelming, and transformative. 

His voice, with its impeccable range and emotive depth, captures the essence of a heart in perpetual longing. 

The crescendos and decrescendos in his singing mimic the ebb and flow of monsoon rains, sometimes gentle and soothing, at other times intense and tumultuous.

With its repeating and escalating intensity, it serves as the perfect vehicle for the emotional outpouring. 

Each repetition of "Sanware" is a raindrop that falls on the listener’s heart, creating ripples of longing and devotion.

As the monsoon rains cleanse the earth and rejuvenate the spirit, so does Nusrat’s voice cleanse the soul, leaving behind a resonant echo of eternal longing and poignant beauty.

Drops with depths 

Steeped in themes of yearning and poignancy, the song speaks to the universal human experience of desiring something or someone beyond reach. 

It is the story of every heart that has loved deeply and lost profoundly. The pain of separation, the hope of reunion, and the bittersweet memories of love’s tender moments are woven into the fabric of this song.

In the context of the monsoon, the song takes on an added layer of depth. 

The rains, often seen as a harbinger of hope and renewal, also remind one of the transient nature of life and love. The fleeting moments of joy amidst the relentless downpour mirror the ephemeral nature of happiness in the face of enduring sorrow.

In its parallel to the monsoon, the song becomes a universal anthem of the heart’s most profound emotions, a timeless ode to the bittersweet beauty and bitterness of love and loss.


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