Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Jafri Reveals the Truth

Jagan Nath Azad did not write any official national anthem of Pakistan nor was he ever asked, directly or indirectly, by Quaid-i-Azam to do so. This is what the Pakistani researcher Aqeel Abbas Jafri has shown - convincingly, it seems - in his forthcoming book from which excerpts were published in the Urdu newspaper Express (Page 20 of the Sunday Express Section) on August 15, 2010.

It seems that the poet Jagan Nath Azad (1918-2004) only claimed that the first “tarana” (anthem) broadcast from radio on the night of August 14-15, 1947 was penned by him. While even this claim doesn't seem to be true, in the video recording of a 1993 event where Azad is making this claim, he never says that the said anthem was the official anthem of the country.

There is no evidence supporting the sensational story in which Azad is dramatically called to Lahore Radio Station a few days before independence and asked to write the official national anthem because Quaid-i-Azam wants it to be written by a Hindu, and then the anthem remains official untill the Quaid’s death.

This version was circulated by the award-winning Indian journalist Luv Puri about a month after the death of Azad, with quotations from an alleged interview with the dead poet. Now Jafri has shown with the help of primary sources that Pakistan did not have a national anthem at the time of independence (an additional piece of evidence is an announcement, published in the lifetime of Quaid himself, promising a reward for whoever would write the national anthem of Pakistan).

Details can be seen in the above-mentioned article or in the forthcoming book of Jafri (the title has not been announced yet). Can we at least expect Wikipedia to now stop presenting the unsubstantiated account of Luv Puri as a fact, and the allegedly Pakistani writers and bloggers who promoted the same to at least publish a correction?

4 comments:

Ahmad Safi said...

Thanks to Aqeel Abbas Jafri Sb for revealing the truth. The problem is that with a number of media outlets even the wrong news/information is repeated so many times that it starts sounding true. The "We-were-the-first-to-break-the-news" attitude is hurting journalism like nothing else ever has. Authentication of sources is the last thing the media worries about these days...

Jafri Sb's article is as usual full of references and authenticated sources. We eagerly wait for the book mentioned here.

Ahmad Safi

beenasarwar said...

Thanks to Aqeel Abbas Jafri for posting Khurram Shafique's comment to my blog http://www.beenasarwar.wordpress.com

Just for the record, Jagannath Azad never claimed that he was 'dramatically called to the Radio Station', or that he met Mr Jinnah personally. All that he said was that he was conveyed a message, apparently from Mr Jinnah, to pen this tarana within a few days, which he did, and that it was played on Radio Pakistan on Aug 14, 1947, and for several months after that.

He mentioned this incident in his book 'Ankhian TarastiaN HaiN' 1981) - Jagannath Azad referred to this incident, about how he came to write this tarana, in several other interviews and on his many visits to Pakistan. No one took it up or contradicted it then.

Zaheda Hina quotes the incident in her obituary of Azad mentioning the tarana in Express, August, 2004, uploaded on this blog in Sept 2009 - see http://bit.ly/d3Lj45. She tells me that Mr Aqeel Abbas Jafri called her a couple of days ago, expressing his ignorance about her article and asking for a copy - so perhaps his research could be more meticulous.

[An aside for those who may be interested: the Maulana Salahuddin whom Azad refers to, quoted by Zaheda Hina, was the maternal grandfather of Asma and Hina Jillani].

It is indeed unfortunate there is no record of the tarana. However, the fact remains that some people who were around at the time do remember hearing in 1947 on Radio Pakistan - people of integrity like I.A. Rehman (who came to Pakistan in Nov 1947 and says Radio Pakistan played it for quite some time), Dr Mubashir Hasan, and Zaheer Kidvai (see his query on his blog, May 2005 - http://bit.ly/AzdZak). In the absence of a record, it's Azad's word and their’s, against anyone else's.

I spoke to Zaheda Hina today. Having known Azad closely, she says, "There are people you know are truthful. Jagannath Azad was not a liar. If he says he wrote this tarana for Pakistan, at the behest of Mr Jinnah, I believe him. If there are people who choose not to believe him because there is no 'evidence', then that is their choice."

The point is that a beautiful poem was written for Pakistan on the eve of Independence, at the behest of Mr Jinnah says the poet who happened to be a Hindu.

Even if that cannot be proved, why discard Azad’s tarana? There are many other songs that are considered to be national songs (not official anthems) like Sohni Dharti, or Jivey Pakistan. Why not add Azad's poem to that repertoire?

See also:

Balraj Puri's obituary in Milli Gazette, 16-31 Aug 2004: http://bit.ly/BPAzd

Asfaque Naqvi 's reference to Azad's tarana in his article in “A word on Jagannath Azad”, Dawn, June 27, 2004 http://bit.ly/AzdAn

beenasarwar said...

Thanks to Aqeel Abbas Jafri for posting Khurram Shafique's comment to my blog http://www.beenasarwar.wordpress.com

Just for the record, Jagannath Azad never claimed that he was 'dramatically called to the Radio Station', or that he met Mr Jinnah personally. All that he said was that he was conveyed a message, apparently from Mr Jinnah, to pen this tarana within a few days, which he did, and that it was played on Radio Pakistan on Aug 14, 1947, and for several months after that.

He mentioned this incident in his book 'Ankhian TarastiaN HaiN' 1981) - Jagannath Azad referred to this incident, about how he came to write this tarana, in several other interviews and on his many visits to Pakistan. No one took it up or contradicted it then.

Zaheda Hina quotes the incident in her obituary of Azad mentioning the tarana in Express, August, 2004, uploaded on this blog in Sept 2009 - see http://bit.ly/d3Lj45. She tells me that Mr Aqeel Abbas Jafri called her a couple of days ago, expressing his ignorance about her article and asking for a copy - so perhaps his research could be more meticulous.

It is indeed unfortunate there is no record of the tarana. However, the fact remains that some people who were around at the time do remember hearing in 1947 on Radio Pakistan - people of integrity like I.A. Rehman (who came to Pakistan in Nov 1947 and says Radio Pakistan played it for quite some time), Dr Mubashir Hasan, and Zaheer Kidvai (see his query on his blog, May 2005 - http://bit.ly/AzdZak). In the absence of a record, it's Azad's word and their’s, against anyone else's.

I spoke to Zaheda Hina today. Having known Azad closely, she says, "There are people you know are truthful. Jagannath Azad was not a liar. If he says he wrote this tarana for Pakistan, at the behest of Mr Jinnah, I believe him. If there are people who choose not to believe him because there is no 'evidence', then that is their choice."

The point is that a beautiful poem was written for Pakistan on the eve of Independence, at the behest of Mr Jinnah says the poet who happened to be a Hindu. Even if that cannot be proved, why discard Azad’s tarana? There are many other songs that are considered to be national songs (not official anthems) like Sohni Dharti, or Jivey Pakistan. Why not add Azad's poem to that repertoire?

beenasarwar said...

Thanks to Aqeel Abbas Jafri for posting Khurram Shafique's comment to my blog http://www.beenasarwar.wordpress.com.

My response is not going through here - it's 'too large'. For those who are interested, the link is: http://bit.ly/AzdrsP

regards
beena sarwar