While Rafi looked at Naushad as if to indicate he is responsible for the spiritual effect of the song, Naushad in turn looked at Shakeel. But he also was humble and held Rafi’s mystical voice as responsible. The song was part of the movie Baiju Bawra where the protagonist sings it to exhibit his talent of music. As the three passed the buck of glory to the other, Rafi broke the silence by saying, ‘Yeh Raag Malkauns ki barkat hai’ (This is the blessing of Raag Malkauns).
Naushad offered an explanation: The word Malkauns is derived from Mala and Kaushik– the lord who has a snake on his neck as if it’s a garland- Lord Shiva. This raga was originally composed by none other than mother Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva who wanted to pacify him during his Tandav nrtya– the dance of destruction. Then the three reverentially bowed their heads low to Lord Shiva and mother Parvati’s blessing.
It was common during those days to see devout Muslims offer respects to Hindu Gods. The culture of communal harmony amongst the masses in India was strong despite the Muslim leadership wanting a separatist state of Pakistan and the Congress meekly acquiescing.
Later when Naushad was addressing the media during the release of the film which featured many classical songs, he was challenged. ‘Who would want to hear classical music, people want fast, passionate numbers?’
Naushad replied emphatically, “If people don’t have a taste for this, we’d give them this gift. We should not always yield to the lower tastes of the masses. They need to know what the wealth of Hindustan is; this is the foundation of Indian culture. We must give them their fortune, even if they apparently have no liking for it.”
The song and the movie went on to receive overwhelming success, winning many awards and establishing that music has a soul- divinity echoed in them, and mysticism breathed into it.
God is present even in music, if presented authentically. Albert Einstein’s words delight and compel us to reflect, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”