Rasool – The Godfather of Bhojpuri Folk

No Doubt Bhikhari Thakur is known as the Shakespeare of Bhojpuri folk music, song and dance, but it was actually Rasool Mian(Rasul Ansari) who gave birth to this tradition. Rasool’s contribution has played an important role in the making of a legend like Bhikhari Thakur. If we look back into the past, we will find roots of Bideshia connected with Rasul. Another contribution towards making Bhikhari Thakur great was that of film “Bideshia”. Rasul was not that fortunate enough. During the era of Rasool, making of Bhojpuri film had not yet started. It was only due to the film “Bideshia” that the Bhojpuri society came to know about Bhikhari Thakur The Great. Now the question is why folk artist Rasul remained unknown to us? The Government of Bihar awarded Bhikhari Thakur whereas Rasul not even found a place in the history of folk. Rasool played an important role in the fight for freedom through his theatrical compositions and forums. He had to go to jail for going against British Rule. His contribution for Hindu-Muslim unity is remarkable and rare. He equally followed Ram, Allah, Krishna, Vedas, Puranas and Kabir. He is a perfect example of unity in diversity.

Rasool about 14-15 years older than Bhikhari, not only entertained people with his songs and dance but also raised the sensitive issues of the contemporary society. Rasool was totally heart- broken after the India-Pakistan division and the killing of Mahatma Gandhi. It is a shame for us that we have neglected a voice like Rasool, who has represented the contemporary society with pride and dignity. He belonged to the era of Babu Raghubir Narayan and Mahendra Mishra. It is a disgrace that people like Mahendra Mishra who went to jail for printing fake notes are still remembered and have a place in the history, whereas people like Rasool who was sent to jail for his contribution in the struggle for freedom finds his name mentioned nowhere and is still unknown to us. He was no less than Bhikhari Thakur and Mahendra Mishra. Films were made on the themes of the plays written and staged by Rasool but no one ever bothered to write a page on him. It is a matter of worry that a folk artist of the calibre of Rasool is still unknown to us.

Lokkavi Rasul Mian was the resident of Vill-Jigna Majar Tola, P.O-Jigna Math, Police Station-Meerganj, and Dist-Gopalganj. He died at the age of eighty in the year 1952. In comparison with Bhikhari Thakur, Rasool was better educated and had education up to fifth standard. Rasul Miyan’s father Fatinga Ansari was a singer and musician by profession. His grandfather was also a musician. Uncle Moharram Miyan and Gauhar Miyan were expert sarangi players. So music was in the family and blood of Rasool and he acquired his basic knowledge in music and dance from his father and family. Rasool later on invented his own style of dance. He rejected the themes of traditional folk plays and wrote his own plays with lyrical dialogues to make them popular.

In the middle half of the twentieth century, thousands of labours from the Bhojpuri society were heading towards east in search of livelihood. Chatkal Jute Factory in Kolkata was one such place where Bihari labourers were in huge numbers. At that time Rasool’s father was also working as a chef in Kolkata camp at Marcus Line for the British. Rasool used to perform on a regular basis in Kolkata at the invitation of Bhojpuri Society. During his stay in Kolkata, Rasool came in touch with Hasim Master from Jagdal. It was Hasim who taught quantum calculations and inspired Rasool to write poems and songs. Rasool got a bit of training from Baijnath Chaubey, Gridhar Chaubey and Bachcha Pandey of his village. Marcus Line in Kolkata became a regular camp for Rasool who used to perform among the Biharis from there. In 1947 or may be around 1945-1946, according to the villagers Rasool was performing in Kolkata’s Lal Bazaar Police. Most of the people among the audience were Bhojpuri speaking soldiers. During his performance, Rasool recited a poem:

एकर कहिया ले करब गुलामी बालमा ।
देसवा हमार, बनल ई आ के रानी
करे ले हमनीं पर ई हुक्मरानी
एकर छोड़ द अब दीहल सलामी बालमा
एकर कहिया ले करब गुलामी बालमा ।

This song of Rasool inspired the soldiers so much that few of them left the job of fighting for the Britishers at once. This incident highlighted Rasool and forced British Government to think that he was influencing people against them. So Rasool was arrested and taken to the jail through a red light area. While surpassing that area Rasool sang a song:

भगिया हमार बिगड़ल, अइनीं कलकतवा, बड़ा मन के लागल ।
नाहक में जात बानी जेल, बड़ा मन के लागल ।
भुखिया लागल गइनीं, हलुवइया दुकनिया, बड़ा मन के लागल ।
देला नरियलवा के तेल, कहे घीउवे के छानल ।
नाहक में जात बानी जेल, बड़ा मन के लागल ।

It is said that prostitutes of the area sold their jewelleries to bail Rasool. Such was his popularity that even the daughter of a Nawab also went to the police station to help Rasool get out on bail.

According to Rahmat and elders of his village, music director Chitragupt was a contemporary of Rasool and a resident of his nearby village. People say that it was through Chitragupt Rasool’s plays and themes reached Mumbai. Villagers say that Hindi film “Laila Majnu” (1976) was base on Rasul’s play “Chanda Kudrat’ whereas ‘”Insaniyat” (1955) was based on his play ‘Wafadar Haiwan Ka Bachcha Urf Jeth Jethani’. “Ganga Maiya Tohre Piyari Chadhaibo”(1961) was based on his play ‘Ganga Nahan”. It is said that Indian film industry was attracted towards Rasul and before the making of Bhikhari Thakur’s “Bideshia”, wanted to make a film on ‘Ganga Nahan’. But it did not happen because Jai Prakash Narain attracted everyone’s attention towards Bhikhari Thakur’s ‘Bideshia’ as both of them were from the same region. The important plays of Rasul are- Ganga Nahan, Wafadar Haiwan Ka Bachcha Urf Jeth Jethani, Aajadi, Sati Basanti-Surdas, Garib Ki Duniya Sadhe Bawan Lakh, Chanda Kudrat, Buddha-Buddhia, Shanti, Bhai-Birodh, Dhobia-Dhobin etc. Rasool used to make his own ‘Sehra’ for marriage ceremonies. One of them as known to his son is:

गमकता जगमगाता है अनोखा राम का सेहरा
जो देखा है वो कहता है रमेती राम का सेहरा
हजारों भूप आये थे, जनकपुर बांध कर सेहरा
रखा अभिमान सेहरों का सलोने श्याम ने सेहरा
उधर है जानकी के हाथ में जयमाल शादी की
इधर है राम के सर पर विजय प्रणाम का सेहरा
लगा हर एक लड़ियों में ये धागा बंदेमातरम का
गुँथा है सत के सूई से सिरी सतनाम का सेहरा
हरी, हरीओम पढ़कर के ये मालन गूंथ लाई है
नंदन बन स्वर्ग से लायी है मालन श्याम का सेहरा
कलम धो-धो के अमृत से लिखा है मास्टर ने ये सेहरा,
सुनाया है रसूल ने आज ये इनाम का सेहरा ।

Rasool was a rhapsodist. He was a performer of his own plays. Such was his talent that he used to make and recite poem on stage itself. He wrote against the British Rule and spread patriotic feelings among the people. The following song might have been written by him when the issue of India-Pakistan division may have been raised during the freedom struggle:

सर पर चढ़ल आजाद गगरिया, संभल के चल • डगरिया ना ।
एक कुइंयां पर दू पनिहारन, एक ही लागल डोर
कोई खींचे हिन्दुस्तान की ओर,कोई पाकिस्तान की ओर
ना डूबे,ना फूटे ई, मिल्लत1 की गगरिया ना । सर पर चढ़ल ……..
हिन्दू दौड़े पुराण लेकर, मुसलमान कुरान
आपस में दूनों मिल-जुल लिहो,एके रख ईमान
सब मिलजुल के मंगल गावें, भारत की दुअरिया ना । सर पर चढ़ल……
कह रसूल भारतवासी से यही बात समुझाई
भारत के कोने-कोने में तिरंगा लहराई
बांध के मिल्लत की पगड़िया ना । सर पर चढ़ल……
Rasool in his play ‘Aazadi’ targeted the landlords supporting Britishers. He requested them to join the struggle for freedom.
सइंया बोअ ना कपास, हम चलाइब चरखा ।
हम कातेब सूत, तू चलइह करचा ।
हम नारा, नुरी भरब ,तू चलइह
करघा ।
संईया बोअ…………..
कहत रसूल, सईंया जइह • मत भूल ।
हम खादीए पहिन के रहब • बड़का ।
सईंया बोअ
The following song of Rasool displays Hindu-Muslim unity
पन्द्रह अगस्त सन् सैंतालिस के सुराज मिलल ,
बड़ा कठिन से ताज मिलल ।
सुन ल हिन्दू-मुसलमान भाई,
अपना देशवा के कर ल भलाई
तोहरे हथवा में हिन्द माता के लाज मिलल । बड़ा कठिन से ताज मिलल ।
अपना देश से दुश्मन भागल,
हम भारतीय के भगिया जागल,
कहे रसूल गा-गा के, अब हमनी के राज मिलल ।
बड़ा कठिन से ताज मिलल ।
Rasool was only familiar with the common concept of the freedom struggle prevailing in the society. Since Congress was at the centre of freedom struggle, Rasool too became a devotee of congress. The following song is from his play “Aazadi”-

मिल जुल गाव • सब भारत के सखिया, आजादी मिलले ।
डाल • जवाहर गले हार, आजादी मिलले ।
कोई सखी गावे, कोई ताल बजावे,
कोई सखी झूम-झूम गूंथेली हार, आजादी मिलले ।
डाल • जवाहर गले हार, आजादी मिलले ।

Rasool’s following song is related to 15th August 1947-

पन्द्रह अगस्त स्वतंत्रता दिवस आया है, आता रहेगा ।
जब तलक देशवासी रहेंगे, ये तिरंगा लहराता रहेगा ।
माल का, जां का दे के सहारा,
इसको बापू ने ऐसा संवारा,
देश भारत है ऐसा नगीना, ये हमेशा चमकता रहेगा ।
प्यारे नेहरू के हैं शान इसमें,
कितने वीरों के हैं जान इसमें,
इसके साए में देश का आदमी, यूं ही फूला औ फलता रहेगा ।
इसी धरती पर है राम आए,
कृष्ण, शंकर औ गौतम भी आए,
ऐ रसूल भारत है ऐसा, स्वर्ग बनकर हमेशा रहेगा ।
The day when Mahatma Gandhi was murdered, Rasool was in Kolkata with his dance troupes. As soon as Rasool came to know about the incident, a song came out naturally in shock-
के मारल हमरा गांधी के गोली हो, धमाधम तीन गो ।
कल्हीये आजादी मिलल, आज चलल • गोली ,
गांधी बाबा मारल गइले देहली के गली हो, धमाधम तीन गो ।
पूजा में जात रहले बिरला भवन में,
दुशमनवा बैइठल रहल पाप लिये मन में,
गोलिया चला के बनल बली हो, धमाधम तीन गो ।
कहत रसूल, सूल सबका के दे के,
कहां गइले मोर अनार के कली हो, धमाधम तीन गो ।
के मारल हमरा गांधी के गोली हो, धमाधम तीन गो ।
गांधी पर रसूल ने यह गीत भी लिखा था-
समधी बनले गांधी बाबा हाय रे जियरा
कहत रसूल नेता सब बराती
सजधज के चलले गांधी बाबा हाय रे जियरा ।
As known from the facts, as soon as Gandhi’s death reached Kolkata, owner of the factory directed Rasool to put a break on his play. But Rasool somehow convinced him to let him do his play on the condition that theme of the play will be Bapu as it will be a tribute to him. The play was staged after making few changes and it moved every one. The owner of the factory gave away six watches as an honour to Rasool. The following is an incomplete song from the play “Dhobia-Dhobinia”-
धोबिया धोवे धोबी-घाट आली
सत् के साबुन, प्रेम के पानी, नेह के मटकी में संउनन1 डाली ।
पाप,पुण्य के धोवे धोबिया, सत् के घाट पर धोवे धोबिया,
सूखे धरम के डाली । धोबिया धोवे धोबी-घाट आली ।
सउनना-, पानी, साबुन और कपड़े को एक में मिलाकर मसलना ।
Here is a Shiv Aarti by Rasool-
आवो सखी आवो, आरती उतारो
उमापति के, उमापति के, जगतपति के ।
अच्छत, चंदन, बेल के पाती,
घी पड़े धेनुगइया के ।
मिलीजुली-मिलीजुली आज रिझाओ ।
उमापति के, उमापति के, जगतपति के ।
भंग, धतूर के भोग लगावो,
बसहा बैल चढ़वइया के ।
आवो सखी आवो, आरती उतारो,
उमापति के, उमापति के, जगतपति के ।
कहत रसूल गले हार पेन्हाओ,
डमरू के बजवइया के ।
आवो सखी आवो, आरती उतारो,
उमापति के,
This is a bhajan by Rasool-
रब के बोली बोल रे मैना, रब के बोली बोल ।
क्यों सोये गफलत में मैंना, होवन लागी भोर
रे मैना रब के बोली बोल ।
अइहें बिलरिया झपट ले जइहें,
बस न चलिहें तोर, रे मैना रब के बोली बोल ।
कहे रसूल भूल मत जइहो,
भजन करो दिन रोज, रे मैना रब के बोली बोल ।
Rasool’s view Indian culture-
एही में तीन गो सेयनिया हो, तू त पांचों रनिया ।
घट ही में सेल्ही, घट ही मे धागा
घट ही में चौपट करवलू हो, तू त पांचों रनिया ।
ब्रह्मा के मोहलू, विष्णु के मोहलू
शिव जी के भंगिया पियवलू हो, तू त पांचों रनिया ।
बिना जड़ पेड़ लगवलू हो,
बिना फूल भंवरा लोभवलू हो, तू त पांचों रनिया ।
लोभ-मोह के महल बना के,
माया में सबके फंसवलू हो, तू त पांचों रनियां ।
कहत रसूल छब-ढब दिखा के,
सबके नाच नचवलू हो, तू त पांचों रनियां ।
The following song of his about national integrity-
हरिओम् तत्-सत्
हरिओम् तत्-सत्
काम करते रहो, नाम जपते रहो,
हरिओम् तत्-सत्
हरिओम् तत्-सत्
लगी आग लंका में हलचल मची थी,
विभीषण की कुटिया क्यूं फिर भी बची थी,
लिखा था यही नाम कुटिया के ऊपर,
हरिओम् तत्-सत्
हरिओम् तत्-सत्
A song on Holi by Rasool-
खेलन चली होरी गोरी मोहन संग ।
कोई लचकत कोई हचकत आवे
कोई आवत अंग मोड़ी ।
कोई सखी नाचत, कोई ताल बजावत
कोई सखी गावत होरी ।
मोहन संग खेलन चली होरी, गोरी ।
सास ननद के चोरा-चोरी,
अबहीं उमर की थोड़ी ।
कोई सखी रंग घोल-घोल के
मोहन अंग डाली बिरजवा की छोरी ।
मोहन संग खेलन चली होरी, गोरी ।
का के मुख पर तिलक बिराजे,
का के मुख पर रोड़ी ।
गोरी के मुख पर तिलक विराजे,
सवरों के मुख पर रोड़ी ।
मोहन संग खेलन चली होरी, गोरी ।
कहत रसूल मोहन बड़ा रसिया
खिलत रंग बनाई ।
भर पिचकारी जोबन पर मारे
भींजत सब अंग साड़ी ।
हंसत मुख मोड़ी ।
मोहन संग खेलन चली होरी, गोरी ।
This is a song for marriage-
तोड़हीं राज किशोर धनुष प्रण को
कोसिला नरेश जब धनुष को उठाई लियो ,
मन में विचार किन्ह चार बातों का।
तोड़ूं तो कैसे तोड़ूं, शंकर चाप त्रिपुरारी का ।
तोड़ूं तो कुल का कलंक हो,
नहीं तोड़ूं तो जनक प्राण रहे कइसे ।
तोड़ूं तो लोग कहें लोभ किन्ह नारी का ।
जनक जी के आंगन में खम्भ गाड़े कंचन का,
चारु कोन पर नग जड़ दीन्ह दिये हैं ।
सोने की अंगूठी राम सांवरो नगीना है ।

Another bhajan by Rasool giving description of contemporary society:

बिना विद्या के भारत देश, कैसी हुई गति तुम्हारी ।
लोग कहत हैं मोटर गाड़ी बहुत चलत है रेस
काठ का घोड़ा घंटा भर में चले सत्तासी कोस
राजा भोज के सवारी । विना विद्या ………
ग्रामोंफोन के बोली सुन के लोग भयो लवलीन ।
विक्रमादित्य के तख्त के नीचे बत्तीस लगे मशीन,
जेहिमें बोली निकले न्यारी-न्यारी ।
बिना विद्या के…।
These songs sung by Rasool at Bride’s house gives a picture of the marriage culture of Bhojpuri society-

1 समधिन तोहार जोड़ा, बलइयां लीह •।
समधिन हो तनी समधी के दीह • ,
समधीन हो तनी समधी के दीह • ,
समधी चढ़न जोगे घोड़ा ।
बलइयां लीह • ।
सरहज हो तनी नौसे के दीह •,
सरहज हो तनी नौसे के दीह •,
अशरफी भरा-भर तोड़ा1 ।
बलइयां लीह • ।
पड़ोसन हो सहबलिया के दीह •,
पड़ोसन हो सहबलिया के दीह •,
दूध पिअन जोग खोरा ।
बलइयां लीह • ।
कहत रसूल सब बरिअतिया के दीह •,
कहत रसूल सब बरिअतिया के दीह •,
पिअरी रंगा-रंग जोड़ा ।
बलइयां लीह • ।
2 समधिन हो मैं तो खड़ा किया,
नौसे को आज तोहरे दुआर
समधिन हो मिसवइबू की नाहीं,
मिट्टी से आपने सर के बार ।
समधिन हो ………..।
समधिन हो लगवइबू की नाहीं,
नाउन से तेल अपने कपार ।
समधिन हो ………..।
समधिन हो गुथवइबू की नाहीं,
मोती, मूंगा अपने गर के हार ।
समधिन हो …….. ।

Rasool – The Godfather of Bhojpuri Folk


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