Abida Sings Shah Latif Bhitai

Naveed Siraj has sent the captioned audio link. The track is originally by Ustaad Manzoor Ali Khan who belongs to the Gwaliar Gharana. The track is called “Khutaa Keenjhar kinaray, tambo tamachee jaam ja” which NS has translated as: “At the banks of (Lake) Keenjhar, the King (Jam Tamachee) puts up the camp”. Here, we can visualise the mighty ruler of the land arriving at the Keenjhar with all the pomp and protocol and is received by poor mohanas. This track as is mesmerising.

While taking me through the audio journey, I learnt about Khuta Kinjhar kin (The King puts up camp at Keenjhar). This is Shah Latif’s Sur Nooree-Jam-Tamachee & it is simply describing the scene of the King Jam Tamachee falling for the simple fisherwoman Nooree.

So it starts with Shah giving voice to Nooree who cries out to the Samoo King “You are the supreme lord, I, a lowly fisherwoman, full of blemishes, pray do not foresake me and turn your back on me in view of our abject poverty.

At the banks of Lake Keenjhar, the King has put up his camp

Ladies of the harem by His side, by the Keenjhar, by the campside of Jam Tamachee

All these ladies, decked up in gold, lay down their tresses for the king to win his heart, by the Keenjhar, by the campside of Jam Tamachee

the hoarde of people, who sole possession is, Fish nets & stench of baskets of stinking fish, these relative of nooree, have now got this link to the royal household on account of the king’s marriage for Nooree, so enamored is he of her simplicity & graceby the Keenjhar, by the campside of Jam Tamachee”

Now, what is about this fisherwoman’s humble existence & her demeanor her self-negation on account of her poverty & the king falling for her despite all this, is it the way Ustad Manzoor sings this that I am usually beyond that brink of tears…

Symbolically the king represents a religious figure (Allah in most cases & perhaps the Holy Prophet) & Noorie & the likes of her, the mohanas whose core values of humility & simplicity are rewarded. The sufi interpretations are indeed layers of the onion and it would take a lifetime to fully capture all the nuances of the sufi poetry of the Shah…

Naveed ji has also sent more music:


Shah Latif does not describe any of the stories attributed to the heroines. He just sings about their experiences and anguish in the pursuit of Love. For example, Marvi yearns for her homeland, Sassui curses and languishes in the mountains for being obstacles between herself and Love.

Some of the folklore can be found on Naveed’s blog for those interested in the specific stories –

For Nooree-Jam Tamachee, it is captioned under “Love Stories of the Risalo of Shah Latif – Noori Jam-Tamachee”.

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