Friday, August 30, 2013

056. The Last Bird From The Golden Age Of Ghazelles. Documentary Essay By P S Remesh Chandran

056.

The Last Bird From The Golden Age Of Ghazelles. Documentary Essay By P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum


By PSRemeshChandra, 17th Aug 2013. Short URL http://nut.bz/3dwnobim/
Posted in Wikinut  Essays 




Music crosses borders of nations and oceans and reaches hearts of human beings in strange lands. God stands just behind those who sing, so close, that we will wonder who actually sings. Ghazals are Nature's wonderful creations in which the purest of passions, emotions and feelings are stored up so that grief-stricken human soul in loneliness can seek solace in it at any time as if in the presence of God. It is His ardence, affection and benediction once in a lifetime that flows through ghazals.


Ghazals originated in pre-Islamic Arabia, existed in this world for 1500 years and is dying in Europe.



The last bird from a golden age. Salman Alvi.

Ghazals originated in pre-Islamic Arabia, developed in Medieval Africa, Spain, Persia, Turkistan, Afghanistan, Hindustan and Russia and ended in Europe. They existed in this world for more than 1500 years. Since the diluting of their form, meter and rhyme by modern day poets, they are no longer going to remain, making already created ones endearing. Great singers like present day Salman Alvi and Habib Wali Muhammad but continue to sing old ghazals and keep the interest in them alive.

Translating Persian poems into English was the earliest hobby of the British East India Company officers to escape from boredom.



We know about the poetic form quatrain as used in The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam in which a quartet of four independent lines when joined together one after another like flowers in a garland obtain a unique form and develop into exotic themes. It has an Arabic origin wherefrom it moved to Persian. In the courts of Persian Emperors, it gained importance and momentum and, as Persian rule expanded through the continent, it reached Afghanistan, Pakistan and India- then a common land under Persian rule. Every British officer posted to the English East India Company to serve in this region was required to learn Persian to converse well with the courtiers and the Emperors of this Empire. Not all of these officers were boorish illiterates. Many of them were real scholars who learned Persian well. To escape from the isolation, loneliness and boredom they felt in India, they took it as their hobby to translate famous Persian poems into English. First it was a hobby, then exhilaration and finally a career. Many British scholars who never reached India but remained inside native universities also continued undertaking this translation, once initiated into this flair by earlier translations. Thus these exotic quatrains, from Arabic through Persian, reached English literature. When translated into English, they reached the main stream of world literature and became singularly famous. ‘They began to fill the pages of English poetry books with the sweet sound of bulbuls and the scent of roses.’ Translations by some of these early British officers like such luminaries as Edward Fitzgerald and A. J. Arberry remain classics. 

Whichever emotions could not be shared with a woman who is forbidden to be longed for was expressed in ghazals in more intimate terms.


Ghazal Spanish Guitar. Qamar Allahditta.

Ghazals evolved the same way the quatrains were. Their origin was in Arabia and the word literally means ‘addressing a woman or speaking to a woman’. We know, seldom will a poet write poems addressing his wife, for their intimacy would have waned considerably through years. It was always ‘addressing a woman who is normally unreachable and forbidden to long for’ that necessitated and inspired the creation of ghazals. Whichever emotions could not be shared directly with that woman, were expressed in these quartets or couplets, in more intimate terms. From Arabia, this form was taken up from Turkey by the 10th century Persian literati and widely used in Persian courts where it became popular. In 12th century Hindustan, ghazals spread to Urdu language, following the installation of Islamic Sultanates and the advent of Sufi saints in India. In later years they were taken up for translation by English East India Company officers who learned both Urdu and Persian well. Sufi philosophy and mysticism also influenced and diverted the themes of ghazals. So, following the same path taken by quatrains, ghazals also reached world literature. Even before the origin of Islam, similar poetic forms had existed in Arabia, which the Persians had assimilated and developed as the Persian poetic form qasida, the real mother of all present day geets and ghazals. 

Ghazals were named after that sweet loving-bird gazelle of Africa known for its love songs, crying for its beloved.

  
Accordian Keyboard. Irshad Ali.
Urdu poetry or shayari has two forms which are geets and ghazals. In geet, the entire poem is independent, developing a central theme. Geet is also called as nazm, or rhymed verse. In ghazals, only the quartets or couplets are independent, complete in itself but unrelated to each other, which when combined together, develops a central theme. This poetry form is more spelt as ‘ghazal’ than as ghazelle’ which would have been more apt. We know the sweet loving-bird gazelle in Africa known for its love songs, crying for its beloved. The word ghazal is derived to symbolize this love-stricken ghazelle. Ghazals also have the characteristic of the poet’s name hidden, alluded to or referred to at the end. 

Ghazals evolved from the emotional opening part of Qasîdah, the pre-Islamic poetic form of Ode.

In the pre-Islamic world in Arabia, there was a golden time for odes called qasîdahs. They included mainly four poetic genres such as madîh, hikam, hijâ and fakhr. Madîh represened praising poetry, Hikam represented moralizing poetry, Hijâ represented satirizing poetry and Fakhr accommodated boasting poetry. The love-genre which later came to be called Ghazals was not a recognized form in those golden times of Arabian poetry before the emergence of Islam. Whichever genre it belonged to, a qasîdah had three parts- the opening part called nasîb, the middle and main part called rahîl and a last part called madîh. We will normally think this first introductory part nasîb would be of comparatively lesser importance in such an elaborate structure of Arabian poetry, but strangely it was from this introductory part that ghazals evolved later. Since emotional attachment to women was an important part of human constitution and winning listeners’ hearts even from the opening lines an objective of all poets, there was no wonder the beginning part nasîb of the qasîdahs of Arabia became the foundation for ghazals to base themselves on later. 

The risky, dangerous and brittle Arabian Bedouin life created ghazals for solace and escape.



Bass Guitar. Kishwer Allahditta.

Ancient Arabians were mostly Bedouins and their life was dangerous, risky and brittle. Love and emotional attachment was the only momentary respite, relief and diversion in their lives. As life became harsher, laborious and more painful, affinity for indulging not in moralizing and boasting poems but in love songs made embracing ghazals more natural and their development inevitable. Old world scholars like Ibn Qutaybah have analyzed the origin of qasîdahs, nasîbs and ghazals up to the rising of Arabian written literature. The unrecorded periods were guessed and synthesized by modern day scholars like Theodor Gaster Hayât Jâsim, Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych and Jaroslav Stetkevych who have tried to trace Bedouin life and their literature back to ancient Middle Eastern times. 

Arabian urbanization made people demand for music, dance and entertainment and made ghazals shorter and lighter.

  
Bass Guitar. Kishwer Allahditta.
During the Ummayyad Era from 661 to 750, Arabian urbanization grew and townsfolk wanted more music, dance, songs and entertainment. Ghazals were an apt poetic form to be adapted, converted and used for these entertainment purposes. Deserts preferred classic traditional form but cities liked ghazals modified and separated into nasîb, rahîl and madîh in the qasîdah. The qasîdah form of ghazals consisted of couplets. Each line ended in the same rhyme. Each line in a couplet was called bayt in Arabic language and sher in Persian. Using the same rhyme scheme by a poet was termed qâfiyah.

Popularity and development of ghazals also led to different schools of ghazals coming into being. Courtly love, free of eroticism and physical desire, developed as udharî, the proponents of this school being puritans like `Abd al-Rahmân, `Urwah b.Hizâm, Jamîl b. Ma`mar, and Tawbah b. al-Humayr. Erotic hissî was nothing but graphic and vivid descriptions, mostly written by `Umar b.Abî Rabî`ah. Poets like Abû al-Nuwâs practiced mudhakkar which was homo erotic. The only school of ghazals which based not on theme but on form was tamhîdî which was a transitional form with only two parts in it, the introductory part nasîb entering straight into the last part madîh without the middle part rahîl.


Arabian urbanization made ghazals becoming generally shorter and lighter also. Stiff meters like kâmil, basît, and rajaz which were used in the classical ghazals changed to lighter ones like khafîf, ramal, and muqtarab, to suit mass entertainment. Themes diverted more from memories of clan, home and heroism to romanticism and erotic, to suit people’s tastes. 

Like great rivers, ghazals received everything from the lands they flowed through.


Ghazal. Senior Violin. Saeed Ahmed.
The chronological and geographical development of ghazals can be traced by following the names of the most important persons associated with ghazals. Persian mystic poets like Jalal al-Din Muhammad and Rumi in the 13th century, Hafiz in the 14th century, Turkish poet Fuzuli in the 16th century, Indian poets Mirza Ghalib in the 18th century and Muhammad Iqbal in the 19th century and finally the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in the 19th century, will give a rough outline of the countries through which ghazals travelled and the time segments in which it progressed. Or, will we have to doubt, was it a progress really? It certainly became more popular and accepted and certainly recordings of them could be made as science and technology advanced, but its traditional form deteriorated through centuries. When it reached England, Thomas Hardy was the first to pick it up but even his was a poor attempt. Even though using this form by German poets Friedrich Rückert and August von Platen in the 19th century was considered somewhat of a success, its use by the American Indian poet Agha Shahid Ali and poetess Adrianne Rich in the 20th century was thorough flop, for failure in keeping metrical perfection. It is because ghazals from Arabia spread to Persia and Turkey that we have now a vast production of literature before us. But we have not yet considered the result of its spreading to two other vast regions, namely Africa and Spain. 

Ghazals travelled through Africa, Spain, Persia, Turkey and India and reached Germany and England.



Ghazal. Sitar. Imdad Hussain.
Arab culture and education permeated into Africa, Spain and Persia, resulting also in the spread of ghazals. Western African poets who wrote ghazals in their languages wrote in Arabic also. Hausa and Fulfulde are the African languages wherein we see so many ghazals. Spanish poets like Moses ibn Ezra of the 10th century wrote ghazals both in Spanish Hebrew and Arabic. Either in Africa or in Spain, the prominent Arabic characteristics of ghazals did not wane but they controlled the movement. Neither did these Arabic characteristics wane in Persia. In fact, the earliest Persian ghazals were more Arabic than Persian. Even though experiments and changes in their musical adaptability were undertaken by Persians, they preferred to follow the same lighter meters perfected by Arabians. The Persians did not only content themselves with the love ghazals of the Arabs; they assimilated and experimented with other Arabian poetic forms like satires, moralizers and boasting and praising poetry forms also. The first great poet of Iran, Abdullah Jafar Rudaki of the 9th century, surpassed all Arabic and Persian poets till then in excellence in composing ghazals, culminating in the fruition of all good Arabic and Persian characteristics in one single poet. 

Multi language proficiency was characteristic of ghazal writers in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries.

During the years from when Persians borrowed ghazals from Arabians to the years when they were invaded by Ottoman Turks, the Persian Empire had spread and Persian had become the prominent and official language in Central Asia. Luckily, it was the refined ghazals of the 14th century that seeped into Afghanistan, Hindustan, Turkistan and Russia. Like those who were directly influenced by Arabic wrote both in Arabic as well as in African, Spanish and Persian languages, those who were now influenced by Persian ghazals wrote both in Persian as well as in Hindi, Urdu, Afghan, Azerbaijan, Uzbek and Turkish. Besides in Persian, Amir Khusru in 14th century wrote in Hindi also, Ali-Shir Nava’I in 15th century in Afghan Turkish also and Fuzuli in 16th century in Azerbaijani Turkish also. Ali-Shir Nava’I is called ‘the Chaucer of the Turks’ and the founder of Uzbek literature. Mirza Ghalib in 19th century wrote in Urdu. Since then, every regional language in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia and Turkey has had ghazals, entirely die to bilingual proficiency becoming prevalent. 

Mongol attacks of 13th century made Persians shed Arabic conservatism in ghazals and begin their thinning.


Listeners to Salman Alvi's ghazal concert.
Arabians were somewhat reluctant to spell the author’s name in the ghazals directly; they made only hidden allusions and references in the end. Even in Rudaki’s time in the 9th century, this had not changed in Persia. But before or at the time the Mongols attacked Persia in the beginning of the 13th century, this seems to have changed. Perhaps ghazal poets of this time might have decided to shed anonymity and obscurity, or they might have decided to preserve some fame for posterity before barbarian Mongols burned everything including them. Poets became more open and less shy in mentioning their names in ghazals. They devised the method called takhallus to record their name in the final couplet. It was a major change in subtlety of expression in ghazals under the care of Persians. Couplets also began to declare independence and began to look distantly-placed components in the garland more. Muslih-ul-Din Saadi of the 13th century who had to flee from Mongols to save his life was the finest example for stubbornness against this thinning in the integrity of ghazals. Topics also varied liberally with the Persians by the end of the 14th century. 

Persians attached refrains to ghazals and Sufis diverted theme from erotic to mystic and divine.
Arabs also did not use refrains after the end rhyming word but Persians insisted on them as a rule. Persian poets from the 10th to 13th centuries commonly used end-refrains in ghazals. Like takhallus which was their new devise for inserting the author’s name shamelessly, use of this refrains called radif also was the Persians’ unnecessary contribution to ghazals. Poets like Abu Shukur, Daqiqi, Shahid-i Balkhi, Ma`rufi, Farid al-Din`Attar and Mahmud-i Varraq, and even the noted Jalal al-Din Rumi, liberally used it. Poetical critics and philosophers of that time like Rashid al-Din Vatvat supported it. The only exemption was again Muslih-ul-Din Saadi who used it only in a few of his poems. Eventually radifs became the characteristic of Persian ghazals to distinguish the Pre-Islamic from the Post-Mongol Invasion productions. These poems with the refrain came to be called muraddaf. When it was the time of Hafiz in the 14th century, Persian poets wrote rarely without refrains. It became a certification of mastery in poetical craft. It was after the 14th century that this practice waned and finally vanished. There was a cause for this also, which was advent of Sufism. Sufis not only tempted poets to do away with this unnecessary ornament but keep manifestation of longing and desire remain, but they also diverted ghazals’ themes to divinity and the mystic from eroticism. At the end of the 14th century, we have thus the Arabian ghazals more or less intact with us, with only a slight independence and autonomy for couplets as declared by Persians, but cleansed of fleshly desires by Sufis, aspiring for divinity. 


When direct contact with Arabic, Persian and Urdu languages ceased, the fountain of inspiration for ghazals also dried up.


Listeners to Salman Alvi's ghazal concert.
It was in their Persian and Urdu form in the 18th and 19th centuries that ghazals arrived in Europe, directly introduced in Germany by Goethe and indirectly introduced in Britain by the bored British East India Company officers, as we have already seen. We can say, in conclusion, that the Golden Age of Ghazals ended with the 14th century, and the tree continued to rain till the 18th century, long after the rain had actually ceased. Perhaps Goethe, Edward Fitzgerald, Atkins, and A. J.Arberry were the last ones to see Arabic and Persian ghazals in their originality and magnificence and take them to Europe. When direct contact with Arabic, Persian and Urdu languages ended, contact with original ghazals also ended, and the fountain of inspiration got ghazals also dried up with it. People but still continued to write ghazals for the simple reason that they wanted to be known as ghazal writers, for writing ghazals had been made so easy after abandoning metrical form, rules and themes and declaring full independence and autonomy for couplets. This applies to all ghazals created in Europe and America in the 19th and 20th centuries, without any direct contact with Arabic, Persian or Urdu languages. Today, the trend in writing ghazals is, whatever is strenuous, difficult and demanding is abandoned and whatever is cool, easy and effortless retained, as is in the case of all other forms of poetry. Limitations of length are now strictly adhered to because today no one can write too much. Poets proclaim that emotions flow from their heart as free verse and they are entitled to present it as poems and ghazals without editing or transfiguration which would be unnatural and taboo. Ghazals are going that way in Arabia, Persia, Afghan, India, Russia and Europe, deteriorating every day. Every compromise and relaxation brought about by these lazy, uninspired and untrained ‘poets’ is innovation in their terms and degeneration in our terms. Like when oral epics like Beowulf were translated from semi-German into modern English, Song Of Roland was translated from French and Rubaiyat was translated from Persian, rhyme and meter systems used by the original poets in their original languages are no more researched on, experimented with and modified for adaptation with translation by modern poets. They are now thought of as hindrances, not as intellectual challenges. The Persians, Africans, Spaniards, Turks, Afghans, Indians and the Russians took great care in incorporating alien rhyme schemes and unfamiliar meters into their complicated language systems and retaining the beauty of the original works or they devised new meters or rhymes to accommodate the guest. Modern day poets with lesser intelligence and lesser still patience challenge the poetical excellence and exotic versifications of pious centuries with their licenscious and poor creations. Arabian ghazals are so now dying away, vanishing with those grief-stricken and crying ghazelle birds of Africa. 

English ghazal writing has reached the bizarre stage where radif is invariably present and rhyme is totally absent.



Salman Alvi in concert.
In conventional poetry, in general, there has to be a continuity flowing though all lines maintained but in ghazals, today, there needn’t be any such necessity and obligation for keeping continuity, provided lines are arranged in couplets to show likeliness of ghazals, remotely. This self-declared simplicity of form attracts everyone to writing ghazals. English ghazals writing has reached the bizarre stage where radif is invariably present and rhyme is totally absent. The author of this article went through a few of the most famous volumes of ghazals published recently in English, including those by John Thompson in Canada and Adrienne Rich in America, and is of the opinion that they all belong to the vain category of pseudo ghazals. They failed to obey true-to-form principles and became bastard ghazals. They only have the word Ghazal printed on their covers, mere copyrighted creations with no Arabic, Persian or Indian glory, magnificence and generosity, in conviction or in execution.



Once, ghazals meant a well-cut and defined poetic form and a genre. Now, they mean only a genre. Form has been sacrificed for easiness in writing. Free verse penetrated Arabian, Persian, African, Spanish, Afghan, Indian and Russian ghazals in the 20th century. There is no possibility of ghazals ever regaining their traditional form. Today, ghazals are being written about anything and everything, even without keeping ever even a trace of a longing and desire for a beloved human being. So, imperceptibly, ghazals are unbecoming a genre also. With the passing of each day, ghazals are distancing themselves more from a defined form and genre as ‘a love song of longing’. 

The heritage of ghazals does not continue through modern poets anymore.

Ghazals have traditional restrictions of form. They have strict rhyme and rhythm patterns. Traditional ghazals are composed of five to fifteen couplets, with the poet’s signature skillfully embedded in the last one. Iranian, Indian and Pakistani singers, who take up old ghazals, orchestrate record and distribute them and hold live concerts are who keep the interest in ghazals alive. Turkish, Pashto, Urdu, Hindi, Spanish and German languages have fine ghazals. Americans are not introduced enough to ghazals, for none of the poets except the 18th and 19th century British translators who introduced ghazals to that continent did justice to traditional form, rhyme and meter. Translations from other languages into English are still in the infancy stage, or we can say that it stopped at the infancy stage with the passing away of such talented poets like Prof. A.J.Arberry. Nearly all of them have only been able to copy the theme of ghazals, not its form. Lack of patience, reverence and training, and over-orientation for publishing were what made their ghazals flop. There indeed are several modern names associated with translation of ghazals into English or creating them of their own, such as Aijaz Ahmad, Agha Shahid Ali, Adriane Rich, David Ray, Edward Lowbury, Elise Paschen, Elizabeth Gray, James Clarence Mangan, James Elroy Flecker, John Hollander, John Thompson, Phyllis Webb, Spencer Reece, William Hunt, William Stafford, W. S. Merwin, etc. which needn’t imply that the heritage of ghazals continues through them anymore. Deviating from traditional form has become such unquestioned and common that there are now scores of writers in every language who seek shelter and fame in the folds of ghazals. 

What keep alive the interest in ghazals are the presence of exquisite singers and the availability of their recorded creations.

Indian and Pakistani singers touring abroad and conducting concerts made ghazals very popular in the modern day Europe. Famous Urdu ghazal writers include Mirza Ghalib, Muhammad Iqbal, Nasir Kazmi, Sahir Ludhiyanvi, Makhdoom Mohiuddin, Morza Rafi Sauda, Majrooh Sultanpuri. Singers who made ghazals in Asia popular include Kundan Lal Saigal, Ustad Barkat Ali, Begum Akhtar, Mehdi Hassan, Noor Jehan, Iqbal Bano, Amanat Ali Khan, Jagjit Singh, Farida Khanum, Ghulam Ali, Begum Akhtar. Mohammad Rafi popularized them through films. Bengali and Gujarathi have quite a number of ghazals. Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam languages in South India also have many ghazal singers.

When someone wants to build a collection of ghazals which are first class ones worthy of being listened to again and again and which also are recorded and available for purchase, the main problem he faces is, every CD has good and bad ghazals. Not all singers are good. There is the other option of searching for selected songs and downloading them from You Tube as videos or from pay or free sites as audios. Here is a selection, the really first class ones without which no collection will be complete. 

01. Amanat Ali....1. Ghar Wapas Kab Aaoge. 2. Honton Pe Kabhi. 3. Insha Ji Utho.
02. Anup Jalota....1. Dil Hi Nahin To Dil Ke. 2. Do Din To Junoon Ke Hain 3. Ruk Jao Subah Tak. 4. Tumne Kitne Sapne Dekhe.
03. Fareeda Khanum....1. Kuch Ishq Tha Kuch Majboori. 2. Woh Ishq Jo Hum Se.
04. Ghulam Ali....1. Ae Dard E Hijre Yaar. 2. Chamakte Chand Ko. 3. Chhup Chhup Ke Piyo. 4. Gugunati Hai Hawa. 5. Hum Tere Shahar Me Aaye Hai.
05. Gul Bahar Bano....1. Dard Kay Saz. 2. Dhal Gaee Raat. 3. Hamain Jahan Mai. 4. Kabhi Kabhi To. 5. Kya Kya Ye Rang. 6. Tu Pass Bhi Ho To.
06. Habib Wali Muhammad....1. Aa Hum Thode Zindagii. 2. Chaahat Ki Har Geeth Niraalii. 3. Deir Lagii Aane Mein Unko. 4. Kab Mera Nache Man. 5. Lagta Nahin He Dil Mera. 6. Pehla Sahaal Pehle Hii. 7. Thume Meri Na Mujh Ko Na. 8. Yeh Na Dhi Hamari Hota.
07. Iqbal Bano....Daag-e-Dil Hum Ko.
08. Jagjit Singh....1. Aap Aaye Janaab Barson Mein. 2. Aap Se Gila Aap Ki Kasam. 3. Jhuki Jhuki Ki Nazar. 4. Nazar Nazar Se Mila Ker Sharab.
09. Mehdi Hassan....1. Aye Kuchh Ab Kuchh. 2. Gali Gali Teri Yaad. 3. Yun Zindagi Ki Raah.
10. Munni Begum....1. Chaman Roye. 2. Koi Humnafas Nahin. 3. Koi Mujh e Gul Se. 4. Kuch Din Kate Hain. 5. Is Jagah Pyar Karna Ma'na Hai. 6. Tumharaa Shaharka Musam Bara.
11. Musrat Nazeer....Raat Dhammi Dhammi.
12. Nayyara Noor....1. Ae Jazba-e-Dil. 2. Mor Macha Way Sor.
13. Noor Jehan....Dil Ke Afsaane.
14. Talat Mehmood....1. Aaja Tujhe Mohabbat. 2. Aansoo Samajh Ke Kyu.
3. Bechain Nazar. 4. Hum Se Aaya Na Gaya. 5. Jalte Hai Jiske Liye.
6. Zindagi Denewale Sun.

And of course, 15. Salman Alvi.


Salman Alvi, the last bird from the golden age of ghazals and the music ambassador of Asia.



Salman Alvi orchestra in ghazal concert.

The latest and one of the finest ghazal singers is Mr. Salman Alvi in Pakistan whose services in keeping the interest in ghazals are invaluable. The other equally enchanting gentleman singer from Pakistan is Habeeb Wali Muhammad. In the modern age, the biography of almost all singers is available in the internet. Wikipedia is the first and foremost and then comes the famous and popular music downloadable sites. And there is Face Book too. But Salman Alvi is the most elusive bird in the world of ghazal singers. Not a line regarding his life is available anywhere in the whole digital world, except three or four lines in his Face Book page. You Tube Channels including tahayyur, hilalconfectionery, Sain Shaada, kukdila, tauseefqau and RAORASHID1982 have selected and uploaded his songs. They are available as audio compact discs and video compact discs in music stores around the world. His is perhaps the finest ghazal orchestra in the world now, a few pictures of which are included here, as graciously allowed by him, as a concession to an admirer. Also links to his most famous ghazal videos are attached here. Today, if someone wants to know what ghazals are, his is the best introduction. If someone follows these links and becomes an addict of ghazals, do not blame the author.


________
Dedication
________


We dedicate this article to Ghazals Guitarist Qamar Allahditta who thrilled us through his many vibrant performances and who is no more.

Salman Alvi's immortal ghazals can be viewed here.

1. Yeh Kiya Keh Sab Se Bayan Dil Ki Halatain Karni 7:09 RAORASHID1982
http://youtu.be/_QhUIi2eGa8

2. Sakht Hai Isaq Ki Rah Guzar 7:29 tauseefqau
http://youtu.be/PDITr4XdRfA

3. Us Ki Gali Mein Phir. Salman Alvi 7:37 kukdila
http://youtu.be/WoMZT-l0aS0

4. Nazm, Jan-e-Pidar 6:42 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/tKvMvsAgitA

5. Dil Dhoondta Hai - Live Tribute 6:58 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/sdjD1l_Xe5k

6. Is Jagah Pyaar Karnaa Mana Hai 4:17 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/6IZnAIF2RJ4

7. Meri Kahani Bhoolney Waley 4:10 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/LUgO-lm8blQ

8. Jinhe Bhoolne Mein 3:48 Sain Shaada
http://youtu.be/2LVXWlLa1hY

9. Ae Mere Noor-e-Nazar by Salman Alvi 5:14 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/Z5BujlbLI_o

10. Zindagi Mein Ek Pal Bhi 3:21 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/xwNE2GyhQk8

11. Tumhe Pukarlo Tumhara Intezar 4:48 hilalconfectionery
http://youtu.be/-ZR2NsKEqk8

12. Apni Soi Hui Dunya 6:21 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/uNnGta07xWI

13. Muhabbaton Mein Agar 6:30 tahayyur
http://youtu.be/A1LqOVoGH2k

Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, with his permission, has set up a venue where Salman Alvi’s ghazals can be reached and downloaded from You Tube. It is ‘Bloom Books Channel Kerala’ in Google Plus, constituted via Weebly.

Bloom Books Channel Kerala
bloombookstrivandrum.weebly.com

______________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Dear Salman Alvi.
Via his Face Book Page. With his permission
______________________________



Dear Reader,
If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

To read about the life and people of Kerala, the author’s native land, visit KERALA COMMENTARY here.

For more articles of this kind, visit SAHYADRI BOOKS here or BLOOM BOOKS, TRIVANDRUM.

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Afghan Poets, African Poets, Arabic Literature, Arabic Poets,Asian Literature, Bloom Books Trivandrum, English Essays,Ghazal Singers, Ghazal Writers, Ghazals, Indian Poets, Iranian Poets, P S Remesh Chandran, Persian Literature, Persian Poets, Poetical Studies, Poetry, Pre Islamic Poetry, Russian Poets, Sahyadri Books Trivandrum, Spanish Poets, Turkish Poets, Urdu Poets

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra

Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of 'Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book'.

Unmarried and single. Born and brought up in Nanniyode, a little village in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Kerala...

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Comments

Madan G Singh
25th Aug 2013 (#)

Must congratulate you for a wonderful and interesting post


Bloom Books Channel Kerala 
Internet Channel For Literature


Friday, August 2, 2013

055. Will Online Writing Bring Enough To Live? Essay By P S Remesh Chandran

055. 

Will Online Writing Bring Enough To Live? Essay By P S Remesh Chandran
 

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

By PSRemeshChandra, 17th Jul 2013.  Short URL http://nut.bz/2b8ztc_w/
Posted in Wikinut  Essays



Well-written, informative and thoughtful articles are the ones that decide the future of a writer’s career. Writers, who are loved by readers for their style of writing and also for the interesting things they generally write about, are eagerly sought after by publishers and their commission agents. A publishing platform which pays and helps writers to distribute content directly to readers all over the world without advertisements is the dream of all writers.

An ideal publishing website will want to pay writers more and pay more writers


Tears And Laughter. Prototype Cover.

1. WHERE MONEY FOR PAYING WRITERS COMES FROM.

What a writer expects from a web site is, offering him payment and paying him more. The ideal web site would want to do both and also want to not only pay writers more but also to pay more writers, the right indication of health for a publishing website. Exposure for writers is not substitute for payment and exposure will not feed the hungry family of writers. The time and effort a writer puts into his craft should be compensated and paid well for.

Famous magazines are vanishing for their refusing to pay writers.

In general, web sites which do not pay writers, especially freelancers who have not yet established themselves, are found to be dwindling in circulation. Their readers pay them one way or another, by way of money or by way of time. But the readers do not get back good content from these publishers because, in the long run, it would be underpaid writers or dissatisfied writers who would be writing for them. We have heard of the famous English magazine noted for its satirical cartoons which was one of the largely read publications in the world, keeping that envied position for decades. By adopting this non-paying policy, they made regular readers and writers dissatisfied and caused their own decline. So many famous and once-reputed magazines, news papers and weeklies which went online for existence are now struggling for last breathe due to insistence on this non-paying policy. We can name many such publications in one breathe but it is not right to mention their good names here, for they have served the world well in their time. Pay writers well, make them satisfied and happy, get rich content from them, publish it and make readers also satisfied and happy; that is the only known way to success for publishers.

If there are no web pages, where will they show these advertisements?


Tears And Laughter. Cover Design for I Proclaim..
It is generally writers who do not care for money who usually write for websites which pay them a part of the advertisement revenue they generate. Even if a writer publishes for years and years in them, he will not get enough to live upon and enough to support his family. For amateurs and for those who aim only at wide circulation of their articles, it is a good idea to follow. Because advertisers are actively involved in this enterprise and they are committed to spend their budgetary provision in full for fear of reprimands from their board of directors for non-achievement of targets, these sites are rich and sure to get wide circulation for writers’ articles and for their advertisements, provided they have good pages also. If there are no web pages, where will they show these advertisements? Can they create these advertisements and the web pages too for displaying them? If they do, it would be like entering the publishing field as well, something outside their portfolio and purview of activities. Therefore, in paying- websites which depend solely on advertisement revenue for existence, the writer is the king. He will be provided with every resource the web site can imagine and is able to provide to create rich good web pages. Even then online writing cannot entirely be depended upon to support a family. If one is in need of making money by publishing articles to support his family and has the necessity to do it so by remaining online, he certainly has to refine his writing skills, make a very good reputation as a content writer, take up assignments from content-ordering sites and execute them neatly and punctually and deliver in time.

Publishing field can be conquered single handedly, knowing editing and formatting.

A writer cannot create a market and then write for it, catering to it. He can only write well and the writing shall have to do the marketing and advertising for him. A producer of high quality content will seldom have to face competition in the field. The higher the quality of his content, the lesser the competition he would have to face in the field be, for there would be fewer writers of that caliber to compete with him who can write well and deliver in time too. The more the quality of articles falls, the fiercer would be the competition in the field of content marketing, because the general trend is to get articles for cheaper prices. Those clients who go for top quality will go out, find writers of that caliber and pay whatever they ask. It is not inconceivable if, at one stage, you will be getting 50 pounds for 500 words. But to reach that level of a selling rate, before reaching the level of creating fast-selling articles, a writer has to learn a lot in editing and formatting content. Or else, he simply will have to have the assistance of an experienced team of staff and a secretary. To remain single-handed and conquer the publishing field, one has to have a tremendous knowledge of editing and formatting, which qualities, coupled with writing talents, is a rare specialty, much in demand in the writing and publishing field. The demand and supply for such intelligentsia is not balanced in Internet, resulting in high price for those who are there. Training one’s self in that line is not at all impossible, but tricky. In the voluptuous maneuver of becoming such a writer, there is every possibility of overcrowding one’s brain with too much information and loosing brain’s ability to assimilate that information at the same time, resulting in tilting the chemical equilibrium of brain and the author finally becoming a total vegetable. It is doubly so, since writers are imaginative. Sought-afterness is a very rare faculty to tread and step upon, demanding extreme caution. Learning how to become a much sought-after writer is not at all difficult, it is easy. A few websites pay nothing but are noted for teaching writers how to work well with editors, the knowledge and experience of which later becomes the intellectual asset to launch themselves from, when they turn to serious writing. Some web sites which pay less will however provide extensive feed back on the writer’s published works which serves as encouragement for writing well and writing more.

Internet is like providing a limitless sky for writing advertisements.


Tears And Laughter. Cover Design. Unused.

2. DEPTH AND BREADTH OF ONLINE ADVERTISING.

Industries and businesses need advertisements to make people know about their products and services. Name boards, display boards, bills and notices, wall posters, film theatre slides and pamphlets were the old methods for advertising. When radio and television came into existence, their wide possibilities and scope for advertising came to be exploited. Advent of Internet was like providing a limitless sky for displaying advertisements. Cinemas provided intervals of time when advertisement slides could be shown. What would have happened had cinemas been produced only with advertisements? No one would have gone to cinema theatres to see them. That is the case with Internet advertising also. If a website has only advertisements to show, who will visit it? The advertisers want web pages for them to show and good web pages too. They themselves cannot create web pages by hiring writers to create them for it would involve larger spending to create content, and be moving out of corporate portfolios. For this, they either create websites for authors to write pages for them or they contract with websites who have attractive pages to show their advertisements.

Web sites reveal their advertisement income to no one but auditors.

Advertising is a huge industry, second only to weapons manufacturing. How much amount each industry and business set aside for advertising in their budgets is an interesting thing to know, if they make it known. A large percentage of this budget now goes to Internet, to be shared by websites and their writers. Writers of articles are paid a portion of the advertisement revenue their pages generate. In most cases they are paid only that and nothing more. Most websites do not reveal how much advertisement revenue they make and how much of it is paid to writers. How much page impressions they deliver to advertisers and how many unique browsers they have each day accessing these advertisements would never be revealed to anyone, except to their auditors.

How much amount does a company set aside for advertisement?


Tears And Laughter. Cover Design for Create Space.

The amount companies set aside for advertisements is, generally, in the range of 7 to 15% of their gross sales, we believe. But wiser companies base their budgetary provisions for advertisements on a percentage of cost, -gross profit above cost called markup-, not on a percentage of profit,-gross profit above selling price called margin. An item selling at 9 dollars costing 3 dollars will have a markup of 200 percent and a margin of 66.6 percent. That company can set aside safely even 50 percent of this markup for advertising. Companies marketing expensive items will have low markups averaging around 15%, but setting aside 15% of this 15% for advertising will mean huge advertisement budgets due to their mammoth sales.

Positioning of advertisements determines its price.

When some one wants information, he searches internet and links to where that information is available will appear on the screen, along with advertisements. Some advertisements come positioned above search results. Positioning of advertisements is predetermined according to how much one is prepared to spend. Display networks will decide in advance where ads are to be positioned and what rates to be levied for each positioning. Getting your ads above search results will involve spending more money but it will also guarantee more traffic to target site. Placing ads on Microsoft, Google and Yahoo searches involves more money than placing them on websites and blogs. Showing them on mobile phones and tablet devises also is costlier still and search providers will revise rates frequently too. Showing ads along side email is another choice.

Advertisers can target or exclude sensitive languages, locations and religions.

Advertisers can set target options in display networks. They can target a particular geographic location or language or exclude ads from a sensitive location or language. They can pinpoint ads to a selected village. Display networks have options for matching ads to types of audience, types of religious and ethnic tradition, types of country or a specific geographic location. Ads may or may not correspond to the context of the page. No geographic location, type of devise, type of visited site or time range is devoid of advertisements, if there is scope. Even if it is an obituary page, a coffin maker and mortuary dresser are sure to advertise there.

What goes on behind screen even before you finish typing.

When someone types a word or phrase and searches internet, advertisements with matching keywords appear along with results. Before they appear, many things go on behind stage before they appear on the screen. First, an electronic auction goes on to determine who can show which ad where and selection made according to bid amount, key words and quality of website, or in simpler words, according to ad rank. Bidding may vary from Cost Per Thousand Impressions or CPM if you aim for maximum views and creating awareness, Cost Per Thousand Clicks or CPC for actual clicks to attract traffic to the website instead of just viewing, to Cost Per Acquisition or CPA for more customer actions like signing up or purchasing. Advertisers decide the maximum amount they are willing to pay for the bid they select out of these three bidding options, which determines their Ad Rank. Based on this rank, their ads will appear in the order of their ranks, even before that someone sitting in front of the screen has finished typing. Frequency of ads also has its price. Also, Ad Ranks of each bidder rise up and fall according to competition. This is the usual method adopted by all major service providers.

Other assessment methods also are there for evaluating writers’ performance.


Doctors Politicians. Cover Design. Front.

Regardless of how many clicks a web page of a writer registers, there are other methods also for assessing an online writer’s performance and paying him. Yahoo uses a 10 point scale called Clout Score to assess the performance of a writer and pay him, in Yahoo Voices and Yahoo Shine Blogs of their Yahoo Contributor Network, the revamped old Associated Content. Their scale combines the number of articles a writer publishes with the volume of page views his articles receive. A Clout 1 to Clout 6 writer will get a payment of $1.50 for every One thousand page views and from Clout 7 to 10, it will incrementally rise to $2.00. There will be a 1% bonus for each article besides. A writer with 7 articles and a total 3000 page views will have a clout score of 3000 + 7% = 3210. After 200 articles, bonus remains constant at 200% which is the maximum allowed. PPM is a standard phrase used in performance assessment which means Payment Per Thousand Page Views, M representing Latin Mille, the Roman numerical for 1000, standing for ‘Thousand Page Views’.

How much can a site owner charge for his Advertising Space?

When a writer decides to make a few dollars out of his blog or site by opening up for advertisements, he will not know how much he can charge. Nor is there any place for him to get good advice from or check whether his rates are standard, high or low for the market. If it is too high, he will not get advertisers and if it is too low, he will become too cheap a target for dignified advertisers to contact him. This happens because there is no one there to tell him the price at which he can sell his site space. Digital ads can be positioned on the header, footer or sidebar of a page or blended with content. They can be of any format from 125 x 125 and 120 x 600 to 468 x 60. Prices will vary for each, corresponding to the CPM of the site which in its turn is based on the number of page views, visitors, unique visitors and a host of other things of metrics, traffic being the prominent. In physical marketing, cunning companies price their wares just below the market leaders’ or considerably lower than their’s. In digital marketing also the method is the same, adopted by most site owners. Or one can do research. Taking a particular format and position and doing some research will bring one to the standard CPM of 1.5 dollars for 125 x 125 buttons on top of sidebar for one month. For starters, it is wise to sell space at flat rates if they are lucky to get advertisers, without resorting to counting page impressions, till they master strategies of marketing.

The blog is there, and you have nothing to loose by advertizing.

Experimentally signing up with ad sense and placing a banner spot on CPC terms will reveal the site’s CPM easily without much trouble, though the only trouble would be backing away from the contract. To eliminate commissions and deal directly with advertisers would be bringing in more money at the risk of jumping into an un-trusted pool, for a beginner. Going to sites who advertise about selling space would also help in forming a general picture of how digital space is sold. Cost of ad divided by page views gives Cost Per Mille impressions; page views multiplied by CPM should give the cost which one shall notify in the site. Unluckily, whatever multiplications we do will not bring page views unless content is good. Simply ask for half a dollar on the safe side for a month in the beginning, which will bring revenue of 5 dollars when page view becomes ten thousand per month. One 125 x 125 button on top of side bar will thus bring this much for the beginning, if you are persuasive enough to tempt your neighbourhood merchant to go online. The blog is there, and you have nothing to loose. Ads on header or blended with content should bring more revenue, those on the sidebar less and those on footer the least, generally.

Writers are like composers; good listeners become them.


Doctors Politicians. Cover Design. Back.
3. HOW WRITERS PROMOTE THEIR WORKS.

It is a good listener to music who finally becomes a great composer; and it’s a good reader who eventually becomes an accomplished writer. Before writing a book, one will have read thousands of books. Before writing a good web article, you ought to have seen and read hundreds of captivating web articles. A blog of one’s own is the best laboratory to experiment with writing. It is a show case for the skill of the writer, doing publicity for him, creating ever-increasing audience, attracting literary agents and publishers. And blog articles can even be assembled together and turned into books. Already there are publishers who do this. Providing just the link to the blog would serve the purpose of submitting a manuscript to the book publisher, in future. It is like one writing each chapter of a book and publishing it piecemeal.

Leave your footprints in good places, to show you walked there.

Good articles in a blog attract not only readers and advertisers but those who hunt for good content writers also. For writers who provide quality content, they pay at the rate of dollars or pounds per 100 words or 500 words. 1 pound per 100 words is not too high a rate nowadays for a good writer. Top-rated writers can expect not less than 7 pounds per 500 words. For such writers, their blogs are not places for them to make money but places for exhibiting samples of their writing. Participating in online discussions is also a good way to advertise skills. Discussion Forums annexed to major publishing web sites are regularly scanned by people who wish to recruit promising and proven writers. Some writers write not for their own blogs but for other’s blogs, for a payment.

Writing good pages everyday will make you one day the authority in the field.

Creating an excellent and regularly updated web site which is linked to advertisers, is a good way to prove to advertisers and hirers that you are a good and rare writer and to publicize and earn. If you persevere continuously and add informative and attractive web pages each week, some day you are going to become the authority in your field, considering the fact that the experts in that field will not have the time for writing and publishing and writers who do have time for writing and publishing and are good too will not have necessary expertise to write as authoritatively as you do. Webmasters are in constant search of good writers on chosen subjects who deliver in time. Someday they will be coming after you.

Do not go after all social sites to advertise skills. Select yours.


The Swan. Cover Design. Unpublished.

Creating profile pages in social sites which have heavy traffic is good for writers. Face Book, My Space, Linked In and Twitter are there to allow this service free. A profile page acts as a mini web site where writers can post links to their books, articles and web sites, good platforms for writers to launch themselves from. Before joining, it is better to learn about what types and social levels of people usually join these sites. Face Book is the most prominent among them, nearly sixty percent of members being above the ripe age of forty, of which forty percent are with rich average annual income. This also means, these members can afford to engage good writers to write for them. Do not get bewildered at the richness of content these members have in their pages and do not gauge them as geniuses, because these contents are not written by them or they may not even have thought about any such things in their lives. My Space is currently vogue and is primarily meant for youngsters below thirty years. If you are above age, do not go crowding there, unless you write books which thrill that age group. Twitter which tests the skill of conveying what one thinks in just 140 characters was once the tide has now ebbed, due to this very challenge of keeping brevity in conveying thoughts in a world over-thronged by people of lesser intelligence. Linked In is the ideal stage for professionals to present themselves in, for befriending and connecting with other professionals in the world. There are dozens of others, some confined within geographic regions and some limited to certain professions.

Fall not thoughtlessly into bogs and marshes, after reading large print. Read the small print.

Writing articles to be published as print books is an option for writers which, if printed, published and sold, would surely bring good revenue. But this field is also not devoid of pits and bogs and treachery. Modern day publishers ask for an investment on the book from the writer. Do-it-yourself publishers would not release all facilities except to premium customers. E-Book publishers will have difficult formats for writers to follow. Publishing books as tablets and apps is costly. Writing articles for print magazines is also an option for writers but the waiting is interminable there. Editors won’t reply to you for months and most magazines have autumn, fall and summer issues only. Their busily engaged editors dissuade writers from post-submission queries. If these magazines are on-line publications, logging-in, submission, logging-out and then cancellation of account after a week or so is a standard procedure they see each day.

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Pictures Courtesy: Sahyadri Books Archives.
Prototypes or used book covers. Books made
from online articles.
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Also please read:

How Advertisements Help Pay Online Writers? P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Think Twice Before Publishing With Free Article Directories. P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Dear Reader,
If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

To read about the life and people of Kerala, the author’s native land, visit KERALA COMMENTARY here.

For more articles of this kind, visit SAHYADRI BOOKS here or BLOOM BOOKS, TRIVANDRUM

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Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra


Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of 'Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book'. Unmarried and single. Born and brought up in Nanniyode, a little village in the Sahya Mountain Valley...

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Comments

Md Rezaul Karim
17th Jul 2013 (#)

Very motivating but no easy answer of what the issue is about!

PSRemeshChandra
20th Jul 2013 (#)



It is not a light issue that writers face in securing enough to live by publishing online. There is also not an easy answer to their questions. This here is a simple attempt to focus more light on their problems with various kinds of publishers, digital and print. The real issues are more complicated than what appears here to explain them more experience and practical knowledge than what I possess are needed. Thank you dear Md. Rezaul Karim for noting.

Madan G Singh
18th Jul 2013 (#)

This is an excellent post. Very topical and deserving a star

PSRemeshChandra
20th Jul 2013 (#)

There have been so many articles and many voluminous books also written on this subject. But a writer who simply has to know about a few basic things of importance cannot read them all and be a master on this subject of publishing online and earning a living. This is a brief attempt to bring all relevant things at one place, for a writer like me to learn that what problems I face are common which in itself shall be an encouragement. Better and more comprehensive single piece articles are needed in this subject and they will surely come, if writers like you, Mr. Madan G Singh, Md Rezaul Karim, Sivaramakrishnan A, Rathnashikamani Bijja and other put their minds to and find time.

Mike Robbers
20th Jul 2013 (#)

Great article, indeed! Thanks for sharing!

PSRemeshChandra
20th Jul 2013 (#)

I am satisfied that this article is being appreciated. I certainly know that many facts which ought to have been included have been omitted, ignored or forgotten, which I expect to appear here as comments by learned and experienced readers. Thank you Mr. Mike Robbers for the words of encouragement.

Phyl Campbell
22nd Jul 2013 (#)

Lots of info. Good job.

PSRemeshChandra
22nd Jul 2013 (#)

Information is weapon. Making more information available to a writer regarding his profession or vocation is arming him to the teeth. Writers shall have to live as well as publishers. But one shall not exploit the other too much. Great publishers have organizations and tacit agreements among them but online writers do not have neither such organizations nor such agreements among them except a few weaklings here and there. If publishing is going to remain a profitable business and writers are going to write for their living, strong organizations are sure going to be established in the online writing field. Whether we know it or not, dissatisfaction of writers over publishers are more and more appearing as articles in the internet, a pre-condition for organizations. Thank you Mr. Phyl Campbell.