I’ve been recently indulging myself in the study of etymology, turns out my obsession with the origin of things is not only limited to mankind, I’m yet to understand though why I feel this gratification, this solace in finding how things started. Perhaps as I wrote in previous blogs, man is perpetually running in circles finding its way back to where it came from; to fill that void that is left when the creator and creation parted.
The word maqam is supposed to have originated in the 18th century from Arabic qāma, meaning to stand. Maqam could mean a position, place, a situation or a tune or a melody. At first the contrast in the meanings of this word made me confused and I kept looking through the internet trying to make sense out of it, but nothing substantial came up.
But then as I was washing the dishes, I started to hum a romantic song which perfectly reflected the state of my mind. A moment later an old melody “Yaar ko humne ja ba ja Dekha” by Abida Parveen started to play on the television and I couldn’t help but drown in nostalgia. It was only when someone called my name twice that I found myself deep in my thoughts contemplating God and how I see him ja ba ja yet posheeda. Maybe this shift in our state of mind, where we stand, is directly correlated to the melodies and tunes in our hearts. Each person, each moment has its own melody which takes us back to that place where we once stood; where sometimes we belonged, sometimes estranged. Powerful enough to sway us from one maqam to another effortlessly always looming between the past and the future. It’s been half an hour since I’ve been listening to the sacred Ney by Hakan Mengüç, feels like I’m at a maqam that doesn’t even exist.
کہیں وہ بادشاہِ تخت نشیں
کہیں کاسہ لئے گدا دیکھا
یار کو ہم نے جا بہ جا دیکھا
کہیں ظاہر کہیں چھپا دیکھا
یار کو ہم نے جا بہ جا دیکھا ۔۔