Tuesday, January 16, 2018
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Isn’t it a coincidence that whereas Shailendra died on Raj Kapoor’s birthday, another great poet, Kavi Pradeep, passed away on the birthday of another legend Dilip Kumar on December 11?
Pradeep had written several memorable songs.

But one song—that brought tears to the eyes of Pandit Nehru—has become a classic patriotic number, a homage to the gallant Jawans of the Indian army who laid down their lives while defending our borders against the attackers—the Chinese. An interesting fact related to this song was revealed once by Pradeepji’s daughter in an interview with a TV channel in 2006. She stated that when Pradeep met Panditji at a special function in Mumbai the then Prime Minister told the poet that he wanted to have the original manuscript of ‘Ai mere watan ke logo’, if he had it. Pradeepji told him that the original was in his record. Pradeepji presented that manuscript to Pandit Nehru and , if the statement of the poet’s daughter is to be relied upon, Nehru sent it to Anand Bhavan. According to her it is still there in Anand Bhavan.
It is indeed a precious document. But where is it now? It should be there in Anand Bhavan. If not there then it must be in Allahabad Museum. If it is not there at either of these places then where has it gone ? I think a clarification from Anand Bhavan and Allahabad Museum should be forthcoming as the matter is of great interest .
Kavi Pradeep’s daughter revealed certain other interesting things about ‘Ai mere watan lke logo’ and some other patriotic songs that her father had written. You must have read earlier that when Lata sang the song at a Republic Day function in the Red Fort on Jan 26, 1963, so moved was Pandit Nehru by the song and its lyrics that tears engulfed his eyes.. He wanted to meet Lata. She was sitting in the last row. Dilip Kumar went there and escorted her to the then Prime Minister. Panditji then wanted to meet the lyricist who wrote the song. He was told that Pradeep, who had written the song, was not present in Delhi.
Some months later when Nehru went to Mumbai and also attended a function organized in his honour by the film industry, Pradeep was taken to him and introduced as the composer of the famous song. Nehru greeted him warmly and when he learnt that Pradeep during his university days used to stay near Anand Bhavan, Nehru hugged him with great affection. Now comes what Pradeep’s daughter revealed. ‘What other songs have you written’, Nehru asked Pradeep. He replied: ‘One of my songs was ‘Dur hato ai duniya walo Hindustan hamara hai’. Nehru looked enthusiastic. He told him: ‘I was in Naini jail when some one brought a chit to me and said that the song mentioned therein was from a film and that it was being sung by the entire country’. When Nehru opened the chit, he found the lines written therein: ‘Aj Himalaya ki choti se phir hum ne lalkara hai, dur hato, dur hato,dur hato ai duniya walo Hindustan hamara hai’.(The song was a last-minute insertion in the jubilee-hit film ‘Kismat’ released in 1943. The film was ready when Producer S.Mukherjee, inspired by the ‘Quit India’ movement of Gandhiji, halted the cans of the movie to be sent to different distributors all over the sub-continent, Kavi Pradeep was asked to write the lyrics depicting the mood of the nation and also embodying in it the message to all Indians which Pradeep did beautifully, camouflaging the message in such a way as to create the impression that he was asking the advancing forces of Germans and Japanese to quit the zone as World War Second was raging at that time too).
Nehru was lost in nostalgia when Pradeep told him, ‘And there was another popular song that I wrote: ‘Chal chal re nau jawan’ Pradeep’s daughter went on to say, ‘Panditji was pleasantly startled and said: “Indu used to sing that song for her Banar Sena’. We thus see that at least three songs written by Pradeepji were well-known to Nehru—‘Chal chal re nau jawan, Dur hato ai duniya walo Hindustan hamara hai’ and ‘Ai mere watan ke logo’—all super hits of their times.
. On 11th December was Kavi Pradeep’s death anniversary. And Vividh Bharti played some of his rare songs too. But the vacuum left behind by him has not been filled up. As a lyricist he created a sensation when in the early 1940s he composed some meaningful lyrics which not only thrilled the nation but also attracted the top political leadership of the country . The song which was sung in every street and corner was rendered by teacher Ashok Kumar and his school-boys : ‘Chal chal re nau jawan.’ Thereafter the song that hit the headlines was ‘Ek naya sansar basa le ek naya sansar…ke jis mein Dharti ho azaad, ke jis mein Bharat ho azad, Janta ka ho raj jagat mein, janta ki sarkar’
As a singer he first sang in film ‘Bandhan’. The song was, ‘Piyu piyu bol praan papihe piyu piyu bol.’ That was the era of Urdu which was the second language of the country. For a Hindi song to become a hit was something noteworthy. He also sang a solo for film ‘Jhoola’ (1941), ‘Mere bichade hue sathi teri yad satawe’. After he left Bombay Talkies he became a free lancer. But one song which he sang and wrote for film ‘Nastik’ has become immortal because, though released in 1954, it is relevant today too. The song, depicting partition horrors, says, ‘Dekh tere sansar ki halat kya ho gai bhagwan.’’ How boldly he wrote the following lines in this song”
‘Ram ke bhakta Rahim ke bande, rachte aaj fareb ke phande, kitne ye makkaar ye andhe dekh liye in ke bhi dhandhe, Inhi ki kaali kartooton se mulk hua sunsaan..kitna badal gaya insaan..’ The reality depicted in the song stunned the nation. There were no protests. That it had public backing and approval was clear from the fact that in the Binaca Geet Mala of those days, this song continued to top the chart for several weeks. The beauty of the song was that it did not provoke the listener or viewer as picturised with those riot scenes in film ‘Nastik’ but stunned them, benumbed them. It was a sort of reprimand—wake up. Stop it.. What is more, Pradeep himself sang the song. His voice can be heard in several other songs too like, ‘Pinjare ke panchi re tera dard na jaane koe’ or ‘Tere dwar khada Bhaagwan bhagat bhar de re jholi’, or ‘Doosron ka dukhra dur karne wale, tere dukh dur Karen ge Ram’‘. Then there was that patriotic number “Ao bacho tumhen dikhaen jhanki Hindustan ki, Is dharti se tilak karo ye dharti hai balidan ki—Vande Mataram’ which was copied by Pakistani film makers by changing the lyrics to ‘Ao bacho tumhe karaen sair Pakistan ki’. They replaced ‘Vande Mataram’ with ‘Quaid-e-Azam zindabad…Quaid-e-Azam zindabad’.
You may not be knowing that Kavi Pradeep studied here in the ECC and was a class fellow of the late P.D.Tandon. He used to stay in Colonelganj. When Nehru asked him, ‘Where did you stay in Allahabad’, he had told him, ‘Sir, just opposite Abnand Bhavan—in Colonelganj’. Nehru then gave him a fondling embrace. That was Pradeep.

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