Chhaap Tilak Sab Chheeni - Qawwali Interpretation on the Occasion of Eid

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Eid is on the 1st of August and I did not know much about Muslim culture until visiting Nizamuddin Dargah for the very first time last year in November. I spent a whole day there and felt something different. It is needless to say that I enjoyed my time there. One thing which stood out was the Qawwali performance.

Since, we will soon be celebrating Eid, I wanted to relive my experience through this article but at the same time gave an attempt to interpret the Qawwali that I listened to. The interpretation of the same will be followed by the lyrics of the Qawwali -


छाप तलक सब छ नी र मोस नना मलाइक 

बात अगम कह द नी र मोस नना मलाइक 

म भट का मधवा पलाइक 

मतवाल कर ल नी र मोस नना मलाइक 

गोर गोर बईया, हर हर च ड़या 

बईया पकड़ हर ल नी र मोस नना मलाइक 

बल बल जाऊ म तोर रग रजवा 

अपनी सी रग द नी र मोस नना मलाइक 

ख़सरो नजाम क बल बल जाए 

मोह सहागन क नी र मोस नना मलाइक 

बात अजब कह द नी र मोस नना मलाइक 

I had heard Kun Faya Kun before but neither could understand its meaning before, nor understood its meaning while listening to it at the Dargah. I was completely engrossed in the Qawwalis, it felt really soothing.

While listening to Chhaap Tilak, I felt so engrossed in it that I didn't even realize I was surrounded by people, it was relaxing, in fact, it took me to a completely new world. The lyrics of the song and the 'Dhun' of the Qawwali is the reason that I have chosen this particular Qawwali.

The Interpretation of the Song

I think the lyrics of the song are written from a woman's perspective. The song literally talks about love. In मोस नना मलाइक’, words like 'naina' are generally used in songs which demonstrate love. The song according to me uses the perspective of a young girl who eulogizes the greatness of losing oneself in the love of her beloved.

The girl addresses her lover and says in the first part that she has been taken off by the man by just his glance. But, the end lines,

“ख़सरो नजाम क बल बल जाए 

मोह सहागन क नी र मोस नना मलाइक 

बात अजब कह द नी र मोस नना मलाइक” 

Confuse me a little as I can't understand why Amir Khusro would pay tribute to his Guru when the first half of the song conveys a different meaning altogether. Khusro says to Nizam that,

"I give my whole life to you, Nizam,

Yov've made me your bride,

by just a Glance."

I remember someone telling me that this song was written for Nizam himself, while some people say that "Chaap Tilak" delineates the adoration between the God and his beloved. It's really difficult to understand, therefore, for whom the original composition was written. I was not present during the time period nor do I know the language of the poem.

Though if you ask me, I believe this composition was written directly for Allah. I could feel the vibe in the Dargah. I could feel that I was saying to God that he has made me his follower by making me drink the heavenly nectar.

Written by - Kshitij Kumar Ojha

Edited by - Daity Talukdar

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