I first learnt about Pakistan’s original national anthem, especially commissioned by Mr Jinnah from the poet Jaganath Azad of Lahore, in ‘Hamsafar‘, Pakistan International Airlines’ monthly magazine in its August issue when flying back to Karachi from Lahore on Aug 9. This national anthem lasted only until a few months after Mr Jinnah’s death – after which his successors commissioned a more Persianised one that Hafeez Jullandari wrote. Please note, you would never have read this in any official literature a couple of years ago, ‘enlightened moderation’ notwithstanding.
A subsequent article in The Kashmir Times (below), confirmed this startling (for me) information, included in my recent article on the Jaswant Singh-Jinnah controversy Jinnah re-visited, thank you Jaswant Singh (posted on various email lists; couldn’t find the web-link but the author’s email and blogs are included below)
P.S. Just learnt that Zaheer A. Kidvai talked about this in his blogpost of May 03, 2009,Windmills of my mind – ‘A Tale of Two Anthems’, thanks Zak). Over to Chander K. Azad in Kashmir Times:
CLARIFICATION: The article below, ‘Jinnah’s Secularism: A Hindu wrote Pak’s first national anthem – How Pakistan’s Quaid-e-Azam got Urdu-knowing Jagannath Azad to write the song’ was published in the Kashmir Times, Jammu. The author was the Indian journalist Luv Puri who interviewed Jagannath Azad but the Kashmir Times inadvertently published it with the byline of Chander K. Azad, Jagannath Azad’s son who had sent it to the editor (see note in Comments section).
Kashmir Times August 21, 2009
Zarrey terey hein aaj sitaron sey tabnak
Roshan heh kehkashan sey kahin aaj teri khak.”
(“Oh land of Pakistan, each particle of yours is being illuminated by stars.
Even your dust has been brightened like a rainbow.”‘)
These are lines from Pakistan’s first national anthem — written by Jagannath Azad, a Lahore-based Hindu, acceding to the wishes of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the country’s founder and first Governor-General.
As the debate about Jinnah’s secular August 1947 vision of his country rages on, this little known fact will be of public interest. Days before his death in 2004, Azad recalled the circumstances under which he was asked by Jinnah to write Pakistan’s national anthem:
“In August 1947, when mayhem had struck the whole Indian subcontinent, I was in Lahore working in a literary newspaper. All my relatives had left for India and for me to think of leaving Lahore was painful. I decided to take a chance and stay on for some time. My Muslim friends requested me to stay on and took responsibility of my safety. On the morning of August 9, 1947, there was a message from Pakistan’s first Governor-General, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. It was through a friend working in Radio Lahore who called me to his office. He told me `Qaid-e-Azam wants you to write a national anthem for Pakistan.’ I told them it would be difficult to pen it in five days and my friend pleaded that as the request has come from the tallest leader of Pakistan, I should consider his request. On much persistence, I agreed.
Why him? “The answer to this question,” Azad said , “has to be understood by recalling the inaugural speech of Jinnah Sahib as Governor General of Pakistan. He said: `You will find that in the course of time, Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state.’
It is for historians and analysts to judge what made Jinnah Sahib make this speech. But clearly as understood by the speech was the fact he wanted to create a secular Pakistan, despite the fact the whole continent, particularly the Punjab province, had seen a human tragedy in the form of communal massacres. Said Azad, “Even I was surprised when my colleagues in Radio Pakistan, Lahore approached me. I asked them why Jinnah Sahib wanted me to write the anthem. They confided in me that `Qaid-e-Azam wanted the anthem to be written by an Urdu-knowing Hindu.’ Azad goes on to say, “Through this, I believe Jinnah Sahib wanted to sow the roots of secularism in a Pakistan where intolerance had no place.”
The national anthem written by Jagannath Azad was sent to Jinnah, who approved it in a few hours. It was sung for the first time on Pakistan Radio, Karachi (which was then the capital of Pakistan).
The song written by Jagannath Azad served as Pakistan’s national anthem for a year and a half. After Jinnah’s death, a song written by the Urdu poet Hafiz Jallundhari was chosen as the national anthem.
Allah, Farid, juhdi hamesha
Au Shaikh Farid, juhdi Allah Allah.
Acquiring Allah’s grace is the aim of my jihad, 0 Farid!
Come Shaikh Farid! Allah, Allah’s grace alone is ever the aim of my jihad
(Baba Guru Nanak Sahib to Baba Shaikh Farid Sahib)