Back in the early 1970s, Pakistan's Habib Wali Mohammad sang a rather touching ghazal where the term duniya finds a purposeful place. Yes, we speak of the song which begins thus: marne ki duayen kyun maangun / jeene ki tamanna kaun kare / ye duniya ho ya wo duniya / ab khwahishe duniya kaun kare.
That word 'duniya' causes in us a surge of emotions where some remembered songs are the point. Think of the many songs you have heard, in these past many decades, where a reference to 'duniya' has been a prominent feature of those songs. Mehdi Hasan's duniya kisi ke pyar mein / jannat se kum nehi remains a remembrance of the some of the more delightful moments in our subcontinental world of music. Remember the lines that follow? Here you go: ik dilruba hai dil mein / jo phoolon se kum nehi.
There was an intensely sad song, in the early 1970s, that came from Mohammad Rafi. Even today, when you hear the song, you realize the depths of despair a man who has lost in love can sink to. That is the feeling which emerges from ye duniya ye mehfil / mere kaam ki nehi. Sadder lines follow, as these: sehra mein aake bhi koi thikana na mila / gham ko bhulane ka koi bahana na mila. It is a world, a duniya, which has collapsed all around the lover. You will know if your heart has cracked at some point in your life.
Mukesh was plainly tired of the world, indeed of life, when he sang teri duniya mein dil lagta nehi / waapas bula le / mae sajde mein gira huun / mujh ko ae malik utha le. For intensity of tragedy, it is a song that can hardly be surpassed by any other. Mujeeb Alam's duniya walo tumhari duniya mein / yun guzari hai zindagi hum ne / har qadam par fareb khaya hai / lut te dekhi hai har khushi hum ne is another of those aching rhythms that leave the soul scarred.
A loss of faith in the world, indeed in the duniya, is what Mehdi Hasan again voices through his inimitable ae duniya kya tujh se kahen / jaa chherh na hum diwano ko / pighli hui iss aag mein jal kar / marne de parwano ko. In contrast, Rahul Dev Burman and Asha Bhonsle come forth with a racy, pretty cheerful version of duniya with their duniya mein logon ko / dhoka kabhi ho jata hai / ankhon hi ankhon mein / yaaron ka dil kho jata hai.
And don't forget Hemant Kumar's tranquil expression of loss of patience with the world in the song, teri duniya mein jeene se / to behtar hai ke mar jaayen. Lata Mangeshkar, in the song milti hai zindagi mein / mohabbat kabhi kabhi, has clear worries when she croons, phir kho na jaayen hum kahin / duniya ke bheerh mein. Mehdi Hasan steps in again, this time with duniya ko ab kya samjhaen / kya jeete kya haar gaye. And recall Jagjit Singh's koi ye kaise bataye ke wo tanha kyun hai / yehi duniya hai to phir aisi ye duniya kyun hai.
Talat Mahmood and Shamshad Begum sang, long ago, a song we have never forgotten: duniya badal gayi / meri duniya badal gayi / aisi chali hawa ke dukh / khushi mein dhal gayi. Dev Anand and Nutan once sang, in Rafi's and Lata's voices, tere ghar ke saamne ik ghar banaoonga / tere ghar ke saamne / duniya basaoonga.
Aah, but you can't forget the Bengali duniya, as in Abdul Alim's ei je duniya kishero lagiya / ato jotne gorhaiya shongshar. And who will not internalize the pathos in Mitali Mukherjee's ei duniya ekhon to ar shei duniya nai / manush naamer manush achhe duniya bojhai / ei manusher bhirhe amar/ shei manush nai?
The writer is Executive Editor,
The Daily Star