By Waseem Altaf
As you travel from Rawalpindi to Jhelum on the #GT #Road, you pass through Dina, a small town at a distance of 92 kilometres from #Rawalpindi. On this day (18 August) in 1934, #Sampooran #Singh #Kalra, popularly known as Gulzar, was born here. His father was a textile trader with an establishment both at Dina and Delhi.
#Gulzar Saab left #Dina at the age of eight but always held the desire to visit his birthplace. When in February 2013, he crossed the border into Wahga, he took off his shoes because he wanted to feel the soil. Later, as he recalled, he remained so much crowded by his fans in Lahore that he could not have a “bhutta” (corn cob) with a common man and talk to the cobbler on the street. En route to Dina from Lahore, he wanted to read every signboard in Urdu.
On arrival, Gulzar Saab visited the Dina railway station where as a child he would go and sit on a bench waiting for his father.
And without any assistance from anybody, he went straight into the “Gali” (street) in a bazaar near Dak Khana Chowk. This was the place where he used to live. The main door of the house opens on the narrow street and the front has shops.
Gulzar Saab also met a tenant of his father who would pay him Rs5 a month. When he saw the guest he said “You, my landlord have come, take the money from me”, Gulzar cried, held his hand and sat down with him. He also visited his school which had two blocks then but now has a third block which has been named as “Gulzar Kalra” block.
On his way back to Lahore, Gulzar Saab had the vehicle stopped near Lala Musa to have “Mian Ji ki Daal”; a very popular spot on the GT road where you can have “chanay ki daal” cooked in pure ghee.
And people thought he was happy about visiting his childhood. He, however, had different thoughts; “It was nice but something very sad too!” Something very sad!!!
In August 2016, I went to Dina and bought a white unstitched piece of cloth for Gulzar Saab. (He only wears white Kurta and Pajama.) A few days before his 81st birthday, the gift was personally delivered to him in Mumbai by my friend Sunayana. The same day, to my pleasant surprise, I received a call from Mumbai. Gulzar Saab was on the line. He expressed his deep gratitude for the memento. I told him that I was his die-hard fan. I also invited him to come again. We talked for quite some time. It was a memorable event of a lifetime.
In June 2017, I went to #Kurla, a small village 3 kilometres from Dina where Gulzar Saab’s family owned a ‘haveli’. Presently, the ‘haveli’ is occupied by some locals.
Let us wish a very happy birthday to Gulzar Saab who is celebrating his 83rd today. Gulzar Saab, I and millions from India and Pakistan eagerly await the moment when sending a white piece of cloth would take precedence on either side of the border over sending a bullet across.
Day pass by, a number of people come and go but there are a few faces who rule the hearts and minds. Such people are the asset to the nation. Gulzar Saab is one such compulsive celebrity, who has taken over loads of heartbeats with his touching poetry.
Gulzar Saab, a living legend, and an asset to the South Asian Subcontinent. He was a multifaceted artist– a lyricist, writer and a director.
Through his lyrical manifestation, he moves the listeners from head to toe and takes them to the world of fantasy. Very few people have this quality to cover all genres of emotions like love, desolation, misery, yearnings, connection, etc. It is, no doubt, a mystic characteristic.
The mystical manifestation –- Gulzar, is a lumber house of creativity. He won an Oscar award in 2009 for his best song for the movie ‘Slum Dog Millionaire. Moreover, he is a Grammy award winner too for the song ‘Jai Ho’ in the same movie.
He started his career as a lyricist in the 1963 film ‘Bandini’ and directed films such as Aandhi and Mausam and TV series. He also directed ‘Kirdaar’ in 1993. Gulzar also wrote poetry, dialogues and scripts for many films. He was awarded Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award of India, the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Dada Saheb Phalke Award — the highest award in Indian cinema.
Gulzar’s most famous numbers are ‘Tujh se Naraaz Nahi Zindagi’, ‘Satrangi Re’ and other songs.
He has written stories for children and short stories. A children’s storybook of his named ‘Ekta’ received an award from the National Council for Education, Research and Training.
After flying in high colours and touching the sky high Gulzar is about to release his film ‘Libaas.’
The High Asia Herald wishes good luck to Gulzar Saab for his mystical manifestation towards life and career goals.–Fatima Hasan Zaidi