“Hazaron saal Nargis apni be-noori pe roti hai,
Bari mushkil se hota a chaman men deedawar paida.”
(The flower of NARGIS bemoans about its ugliness for thousands of years and then after the long trials and tribulations, a visionary beauty is born in the garden.) In the following article we are going to recall the life and achievement of a born blind but a great music genius – Ravindra Jain, an Aligarian.(an old alumnae of Aligarh Muslim Univerisity.)
But, before decribing him, let us have a few words about the city of his nursery – the city of Aligarh. It was known as Kol in earlier chronicles and Tehsil Kol official Mughal documents. The name Kol was given to the city by Balarama, who slew the great Asura (demon) Kol there. Some time before the Muslim invasion, Kol was held by the Dor Rajputs. In 1194, Qutb-ud-din Aibak marched from Delhi to Kol and appointed Hisam-ud-din Ulbak as the first Muslim governor of Kol. The Jat ruler, Surajmal occupied the fort of Kol and it was renamed Ramgarh. Later, a Shia Muslim Mughal commander, Najaf Khan captured it and gave it its present name of ‘Aligarh.’
The most famous and durable legacy of Aligarh town is ‘Aligarh Muslim University’ which has given and still providing the highest standard of education with a touch of class. It has produced sparkling jewels in every field of life and the latest star of that galaxy was Ravindra Jain – the legendary blind musician. Ravindra Jain was a born blind. His father was a well-known Sanskrit scholar and Ayurvedacharya, Pandit Indramani Jain.
Behind the famous Shamshad Market of AMU, surrounded with the University residential hostels, on a narrow street is situated the world famous Blind School of AMU and in this very school Ravindra Jain had recieved his education.
Ravindra Jain had developed the liking for music since his childhood days. His parents decided to teach him music and he received basic training under Pandit G.L, Jain, Pandit Janardhan Sharma, and Pandit Nathu RamIn January 1972, Jain started his film career as a composer with this first film song being recorded in Mohd, Rafi’s’s voice. His first ‘released’ film was “Kaanch Aur Heera” in which Rafi Sahib sang “Nazar aati nahin manzil”. The film didn’t do well, but this song became very popular.
His first hit films were ‘Chor Machaye shor’ (1974), ‘Geet Gaata Chal’ (1975), ‘Chitchor’ (1976) and ‘Ankhiyon Ke Jharokon Se’ (1978). He had a versatility of style and creativity and along with composing music, he also wrote the lyrics for many of his famous songs.
Once incident of his life that proved his devotion to his profession was when his father died during the recording sessions of the film ‘Saudagar’. He did not leave the studio until the recordings were finalized.
He got his finest break when the biggest Indian showman Raj Kapoor trusted him to compose his ‘Ram Teri Ganga Maili’. Later the Kapoor family trusted him with the great story “Heena’ written by another Aligaian Khwaja Ahmed Abbas. Ravindra Jain was the favorite musician for the House of Rajshri Productions from 1980 to 2000s.
He was the one composer who has introduced the great south Indian singing sensation Yesudas to Hindi movies, in singing in many of his movies in the 1970s and 1980s. Together they sung some memorable songs like ‘Oo goriya re’ (Naiyya), ‘Beeti hui raat ki’ (Ayyash), and ‘Gori tera gaon’ (Chitchor).
Despite being a born blind, he never made any complaint against fate or destiny. Even in his professional field he had never tried to garner any sympathy. According to him – “Frankly, I never had to struggle like many of my contemporaries. My guru ji kept me in his home and took good care of me. The day I landed in Bombay, I sang in a personal gathering and it helped me reach many people looking for new talent in the film industry. I also used to go to other programmes and mushairas and make reasonable money till I got my first film. I got several offers from big music directors including Naushad sahib to assist them, but I never assisted anyone. I preferred to work individually. Also, I didn’t restrict myself to only film music. I moved to television and also wrote lyrics, which fulfilled my financial requirements to survive well in Mumbai. Today, I am almost as busy as my early days in Mumbai and I owe it to the blessings of my ‘buzurg’.”
He had won the Filmfare Best Music Director Award in 1985. The great genius of Indian Film Music died on 9th October 2015 in Mumbai’s Lilawati hospital after prolonged illnesses.
By Naim Naqvi