WHEN “KANJRIS” STARTED CUTTING LABEL RECORDS,
NEWER FAME, NEWER RESOURCES AND TOTAL ENTERTAINMENT
Professionals became respectable names in Industry
Our elders were very fond of music. Where could one hear music? Obviously in those times at brothels sung by kanjris. Very respectable people frequented these music shows. The lust for music would not grow away. My grandfather used to visit some music houses to hear music at the end of the day. His Phopha (uncle) used to play the Sitar in the Hujra of the Wazeer Khan Mosque. Music was totally acceptable to people in Lahore as well as other places, before the Mullah put his idiotic stamp on it. But that is a different story.
The invention of the Gramophone brought new energy to the Industry. It invaded our region like a storm. No house was complete without one. Different people could afford different versions of same. My cousin had access to one of his own, which was actually owned by a friend of his own (Khalid of Omnibus Lahore). The needle was perfected at all times and the same wound again and again. My mother lamented all her life of the Gramophone and records she left behind in her Amritsar home. A house burnt to the ground in the area of Farid da Chowk, Amritsar. Music was here to stay in our region.
This was the time when these prostitutes realized that instead of people visiting their brothels, it was time for them to go to the people. Thomas Edison had perfected the gramophone and it had come to our region. The top brothel centers of this region, namely Calcutta, Delhi, Bombay, Lahore, Multan and Peshawar were forefronts in providing singers to cut records for the first time. In the beginning the records were on STONE, even marble. People here have records in their possession of this era. Many people have tried to preserve the Songs of those times in the greatest music ever written or recorded in our region. But the apathy of our people is phenomenal. No one really cares. The collection of Hafeez Jullundri’s brother is actually rotting under the bed of his grandson. The cultural machinery is ever silent.
In one function Hafeez Jullundri along with Malika Pukhraj, sang his immortal poem of ABI TO MAY JAWAN HOON. Strangely it is being sung by prostitutes even today. A singer and dancer lamented that when they perform it is called a MUJRA and when others perform, it is called a PERFORMANCE. The difference created by society. But once everyone knew the background of the musician and nobody cared for that. Music was the only worthy thing to be concerned about.