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Amrita Pritam misunderstood

May 06, 2013

THIS is apropos M. Zafar’s letter (April 3). Before sending my letter to Dawn (March 28), I had checked the information on this classic poem available on the Internet to find out whether the words were ‘lakh, lakh’ but nowhere did I find the words other than ‘likh, likh’. They appear sensible as the wailing saga is written and the words ‘likh mara’ are commonly used in Punjabi. I do not understand the meaning of ‘Tu lakh lakh maray van’. Using the word ‘lakh’ three times in a small verse does not appear reasonable.

Incidentally the words ‘dhee Punjab di’ are attributed to Heer, heroine of the tragic tale of Heer-Ranjha.

Mr. Zafar has laid the blame on Inayat Hussain Bhatti for making this error in his musical rendition of the poem. But the fact is that pronunciation of singers, especially those singing for films, is always corrected by poets themselves or by scholars of the Urdu/Punjabi poetry. ‘Aaj akhan Waris Shah nu’ was the theme song for the hit movie ‘Kartar Singh’, produced and directed by Saifuddin Saif, who himself was a great writer and poet of his time.

How could he have allowed Inayat Bhatti to sing wrong lyrics of Amrita’s poem when the whole film was based on this poem. I am not aware of any controversy which might have arisen on this point in the past. Nevertheless, I will appreciate if some scholar of Punjabi poetry could enlighten us with his thoughts on it.