Songs of Angana

October 19, 2016

Aanagn me upnayanWe have seen in the songs of atariya how its vantage location at the back of a house makes it an ideal secret meeting point for the lovers. Aangan or angana, i.e. courtyard, on the other hand, is a central feature of the house. Open to the sky, and surrounded on the four sides by verandah and living rooms, this quadrangle is the place where the family lives out its life, does all its mundane chores of daily existence, and also holds all its ceremonies and special occasions.

The most prominent image of an aangan in my mind is of drying of papads, pickles, chillies, spices and grains. After drying, they need to be pounded, dehusked and ground. Therefore, chakki, okhal, dhenki and assorted such primary processors, operated by hand or foot, would be placed in the aangan. Since we are a deeply religious society, there would be a tulsi plant, too, in the aangan, evoking Main tulsi tere aangan ki. In the afternoon winter sun, this would be the place where women would be doing their knitting. Come evening, the chulha or tandoor would be fired in some corner of the aangan. And after the family is done for the day, cots would be spread in the aangan for the people to sleep in natural air-conditioning. Readers would recall the overgrown country wastrel Amitabh Bachchan, in deep slumber in the aangan in Haryana heartland, being dragged out of his sleep by his exasperated Daddu, Om Prakash, in Namak Halaal.

Then there are sanskaars, ceremonies and special occasions. Where else can the mandap for marriage be set up? Many families at the transition between tradition and modernity, while they have the modern part of the celebrations, such as Jaimaal and the banquet, at a five-star hotel, revert late night to their modest aangan to complete the religious marriage rituals to Hamaare angana aaj baaje shehnaai and traditional wedding songs by women.

And after the child is born, where do you think the toddler would crawl on all the fours? Tulsi’s child Ram (ठुमक चलत रामचंद्र बाजत पैजनिया) and Surdas’s child Krishna (घुटरुन चलत रेणु तन मण्डित; यशोदा हरि पालने झुलावे) played out their बालक्रीड़ा in the aangan to their mothers’ delight, inspiring some of the most memorable poetry by Bhakti poets.

This beautiful feature of our homes is on the verge of extinction under the pressure of urbanization when we are forced to go vertical. While the high-rise builders would continue to sell a three-feet protrusion in a match-box apartment as a balcony, they can’t even make such a pretense for aangan. And with the aangan, their songs too would become extinct.

But in the days gone by, we had beautiful songs of aangan or angana, no less than atariya songs. Let me present some of my favourites.

1. Gori kaahe khadi angana atariya pe aao by Anil Biswas and Maya Banerjee from Apna Paraya (1942), lyrics Pt. Indra, music Anil Biswas

It is obvious that angana is a chaotic public square in a private home. Conscious of the fact that such a place can be hardly suitable for a romantic meeting, the tradition-bound Anil Biswas invites the lady to come to the atariya instead. The lady is quite prompt in accepting the invite. I have to thank two readers, Canasya and DP Rangan, for retrieving and restoring this song, which had been removed by YT. I can’t still figure out the ways of YT. They permit all kinds of vulgarity on the site, but they remove a 75-year old song on some prankish third-party claim. Canasya deserves double thanks for he was the one who first introduced us to this song in my series on Anil Biswas.

2. Kabhi yaad kar ke gali paar kar ke chali aana hamare angana by Chitalkar and Binapani Mukherjee from Safar (1946), lyrics GS Nepali, music C Ramchandra

However, Anil Biswas’s protégé C Ramchandra became famous for breaking traditions. He has no qualms about calling the lady in the angana itself. You might have seen most anganas also have a backdoor. I presume, he would have set up this rendezvous in the night when most of the family would have been away for some reason. The lady here, too, is quite enthusiastic – Raja mere man ke, teri rani ban ke chali aaun tumhare angana.

3. More angana mein aaye aali main chaal chalun matwali by Kanan Devi from Vidyapati (1937), lyrics Kidar Sharma, music RC Boral

The guys can be brazen, but a dainty lady like Kanan Devi would be more restrained. There would be just a little lilt in her gait. You don’t often find the literary word ‘aali’ in film songs.

4. More angana mein balma aye main sharmai by Shamshad Begum and Moti from Nishan (1949), lyrics Pt Indra, music Rajeshwar Rao (and MD Pathasarathy and BK Kalla)

Shamshad Begum’s reaction on balma’s coming would be very different from Kanan Devi’s on the arrival of her aali. Though she declares that she is bashful, the lady is anything but. You can see Bhanumati getting out from the backdoor of the aangan to meet her lover, Ranjan.

5. Angan more aaoji sajan dheere dheere by Shamshad Begum from Rail Ka Dibba (1953), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Ghulam Mohammad

Aangan must have been very common in Punjab, and you find several songs by Shamshad Begum on this theme. Ghulam Mohammad was one of the best composers we had, though he was not officially reckoned among the biggest names. Here is a beautiful melody,  with some hint of Naushad style, by  Shamshad Begum, now in a pathos-filled song.

6. Tum aye more angana mein by Parul Ghosh from Seedha Rasta (1947), lyrics Amar Verma, music SK Pal

All the arrivals in the angana so far have been of lovers. In this poignant song, we see a young mother addressing her newly born in the cradle in the angana, whether she should be sad or happy at its arrival. The cut to flashback, when she is joyous at the child’s birth, suggests that the husband/lover has deserted her

7. Pawan more angana mein dheere dheere ana by Asha Bhosle from Shehnai (1964), music Ravi

Another mother-pulling-a-cradle song. The sad tune and the all-white dress indicates that not everything is all right.  Ravi also developed his own stock orchestration.  You can hear strains of some familiar tunes, such as Tujhe suraj kahun ya chanda.

8. Chanda dheere se aa aangan mein, nindiya ankhiyan mein soye meri laadli by Lata Mangeshkar from Sitara (1955), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Ghulam Mohammad

Without the video I am not able to make out the context of the song’s picturisation. Here is another soft lori, now by Lata Mangeshkar, composed by the great Ghulam Mohammad again. I came across this song for the first time while working on this post.

9. More angana mein laaga amua ka ped by Anil Biswas & chorus from Aurat (1940), lyrics Safdar ‘Aah’, music Anil Biswas

Tulsi plant is quite common in aangan, but amua ka ped? If it means mango tree, it must be a huge aangan. Not impossible – in the days gone by, we did live in very open spaces. There was a charming Marathi movie (I am forgetting its name) in which the young man, accompanied by his wife, goes to his village to sell off his huge ancestral house in order to buy a tiny apartment in Mumbai. It is the wife, having no roots or sentimental attachment with the place, who persuades the husband not to run away from his past, including his heart-breaks in the village, which was a part of his identity. (I would be grateful if any reader can give its details.)

10. Mere angane mein tumhara kya kaam hai by Amitabh Bachchan from Lawaris (1981), lyrics Anjan, music Kalyanji-Anandji

Angana songs are about inviting and eagerly waiting for someone. But here is a contrast in which the guy is very blunt that he does not need her in his angana, though he can accept someone who is too short, or too tall, or too fat, or too dark-skinned.

11. Angana mein baba duare pe ma by Kumar Sanu and Sadhna Sargam from Ankhen (1993), music Bappi Lahiri

We should grant it to Bappi Lahiri and Govinda – they say it boldly.  The man is doubtful how he could come, with the father in the angana and mother at the front door, but the girl assures him that the father has gone to the fields and the mother to the market.

12. Nihure nihure bahaare anganawa goriya nihure, Purvi folk by Begum Akhtar

Songs of atariya was dedicated to Begum Akhtar for her immortal Hamri atariya pe aa ja re sanwariya dekha dekhi balam hoi jaye. Can she create a similar magic for angana? All the unpleasant household chores would be thrust upon the newly-wed, which would also include sweeping the angana. You would think the lady would be wiping off sweat and grime and cursing her new ‘family’. But no, in Begum Akhtar’s imagination, the lady is wearing bracelet (कंगना पहन गोरिया अंगना बुहारे) and stealing sly glances to her man who might be hiding himself behind one of the columns surrounding the angana (झुकी झुकी ताके नयनवा). I present this purvi by the Queen of Thumri, Dadra, Kajri and folk of Eastern UP. There is some doubt created by the comments on the YT about the singer of this song. If it is another singer, then she deserves our compliments, because there couldn’t be a truer reproduction of Begum Akhtar’s voice and technique, not even by Shanti Hiranand and Rita Ganguly.

13. Sundar angana baithi nikas ke by Ustad Amir Khan (Raga Shahana)

Angana is a place of contrasts, and we have seen contrasts in angana songs.  We just heard Begum Akhtar’s folk.  For purists, classical is the other extreme of folk. Among the doyens of classical music, no one could be purer than Ustad Amir Khan. Known as a musicians’ musician, he didn’t sing for ‘popularity’ – his singing was meditative.  From someone who could do alaap in Marwa for an hour,  here is a rare 3-minute 78rpm rendering of the romantic bandish Sundar angana baithi nikas ke in Raga Shahana.  This is a great favourite with singers across gharanas and generations. Our expert Ashwin can post dozens of classical songs on the theme of angana.  I would keenly wait for Ustad Rashid Khan’s Sundar angana and Ustad Shujat Khan’s lec-dem of Shahana in his series ‘Mausiqui Ek Khoj’ on DD Bharti.

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ravindra Kelkar October 19, 2016 at 9:56 am

Excellent write-up on a very innovative theme. It stirred up old memories for sure. Alas, the anganas have become now extinct. The songs 3 & 4 are good. Amir Khansaheb’s rendition is also beautiful. Most of the old songs I heard for the first time, at least I didn’t recall them hearing earlier.

2 AK October 19, 2016 at 11:10 am

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. I decided to choose vintage songs for the theme.

3 ASHOK M VAISHNAV October 19, 2016 at 11:50 am

The memories of Aangan does make our generation nostalgically emotional.

AKji has captured that mood so well in his narrative and the selection of the songs, yet not merely remaining confined to the past.
Ameer Khan Saheb’s bandish would keep me rooted in the aanagn…

4 arvindersharma October 19, 2016 at 11:54 am

AK Ji,
A fabulous addition to the earlier theme post of Atariya songs.
I recall that it was my initial stage of getting introduced to music on internet, and a lovely nazm from Aasman Mahal was used by you in Atariya songs. (Main aahen bhar nahi sakta by MK and Vijaya Chaudhary). I had posted the song thinking it was from a Mushaira kind of setting, but it came out as a double Atariya song.
That was the time when I started viewing YouTube seriously.

Now coming to the topic of Angana, some old favorites

More aangan me chitki Chandni by Parul Ghosh from Jwarbhata composed by Anil Biswas

One of Zohra Bai’s earliest songs,
Chota Sa balma mere aangan me Gilli khele
(No idea about the composer or film)

More aangan me Chandni by Rajkumari and Lata from Usha Haran composed by Saraswati Devi.
(This was the first duet of the duo)

Hamare Angana Aaj Baaje Shehnai by Amirbai Karnataki and Shamshad Begum composed by C Ramchandra

Will be continuing…

5 arvindersharma October 19, 2016 at 12:11 pm

One more addition

Asha’s first song for OP Naiyyar from Chham Chhama Chham
Aa Pardesi baalma more Angana

6 Anu Warrier October 19, 2016 at 12:24 pm

Loved the write-up, AK; brought back memories of our ancestral home, which as you rightly said, held a tulsi plant; the inner courtyard, as we called it connected the living quarters with the domestic one. When I was a child, this was where the women performed the traditional Kaikottikali for the Thiruvathira festival. You’re so right that in going vertical, we lose these spaces, and these songs… progress is not quite all that it’s cut out to be, is it?

Haven’t listened to the songs, many of which are new to me, but I will do so when I have the time.

7 AK October 19, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Ashok Vaishnavji, Anu,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation.

Arvinder Sharmaji,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation and the lovely songs you have added.

8 arvindersharma October 19, 2016 at 3:35 pm

Adding two more melodious songs

O Ji dhire dhire Angana me aana re Piya by Lata from Pardes composed by Ghulam Mohammed

Dekho Kaisi suhani ghadi aayi
Aaj Angana me baaje Shehnai by Asha and chorus from Inspector composed by Hemant Kumar

To be continued…

9 arvindersharma October 19, 2016 at 5:12 pm

Adding three more

A vintage gem from Rajkumari from Hua Savera composed by Gyan Dutt
Mope daaro na tirchhi najariya
More Angana me aao sanwariya

Mere Angana me ujiyara
Meri godi me Gopala by Geeta Dutt and Lata from Pyar Ki Pyas composed by Vasant Desai

Angana me Sooraj muskaye by Lata from Stree composed by C Ramchandra

To be continued..,

10 Dustedoff October 20, 2016 at 3:20 am

Great post, AK (and what an eclectic collection of songs) – thank you!

I was reminded of Shahjahanabad. My sister had one told me that the narrow galis and kuchas of the Walled City are deceptive, because they make the entire area look very congested and cramped – whereas the actual space is in inside the havelis. Not just one aangan, but several, scattered across each haveli. Not many are open to all passersby, but some are still such a good example of the use to which aangans were put (still are, in some cases).

11 AK October 20, 2016 at 8:57 am

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. Beijing has preserved such alleys and connented courtyards, as a living tourist attraction. They call it Hutong. I have seen their angana in rural China, which would have a handpump in the corner, assorted agricultural implements lying around, and chillies drying in the sun.

12 SSW October 20, 2016 at 10:29 am

AK , your nostalgia brought back memories of chillies being pounded and mangoes and coconuts being dried and a host of other smells and courtyards. Now I like this song by not your favourite MD , the rhythm emphasized by the pestle.:-)

13 mumbaikar8 October 20, 2016 at 11:33 am

Being a true Mumbaikar:) ( born and brought up in Bombay) I was deprived of anganas and atariyas.
I have realized, after reading your blogs of, what a deprived childhood I had?
It will take a long time to go through all the songs. Most of them are unknown as well.
Thank you for introducing to Angana

14 AK October 20, 2016 at 4:00 pm

That is a beautiful song. I think one can have a very nice selection of women songs doing various chores in the angana, though the word ‘angana’ may not figure in them.

15 AK October 20, 2016 at 4:01 pm

I can imagine your plight. In the US itcis even more unlikely.

16 arvindersharma October 20, 2016 at 4:34 pm

Three more from the olden days

De de mora Kangana Tu de de mora Kangana
Laaj ke pehre tod ke chhaliya aayi hoon tore Angana by Lata from Rajdhani composed by Hansraj Behl

Khanke Kangana bindiya Hanse
Aayenge sajna hamre Angana by Lata from Dr Vidya composed by SD Burman

Janu janu ri Kahe khanke hai tora Kangana
Mai bhi janu ri chhup ke kaun aaya tore Angana by Geeta Dutt and Lata from Insaan Jaag Utha composed by SD Burman

17 ksbhatia October 20, 2016 at 5:58 pm

AK ji ;
You have brought my childhood back . The description of the aangan/ courtyard is exactly what we had in our houses where we lived from time to time . During the British regime , during 30s and 40s , they constructed lot of single story houses and banglows in New Delhi and other states . Depending upon the status and rank of my father we lived in about six such houses on every promotions my father got . Mostly we lived around General Post Office and the houses we lived were …..Aaram Bagh, Lodhi Road [ my birth place ] , Reading Road , Rouse Lane , Maan Nagar , Irwin Road, Mahdev Road and lastly Allenby Road from where my father Joint Secy , Education Ministry . That was in 1967 . The last house where we stayed is now under occupancy of a Minister of State .

We being a big family had all the facilities at our disposal where we could play, hockey, football and cricket . The courtyard had enough space to acomodate number of cots and as you described the servant used to make beds in the late evening itself to let them cool before we all go into our respective beds . The rooms were well protected from heat and dust because of front and rear verandahs . And above that the walls were thick and brickwork was done with lime surkhi mortar which acted like a quick cooling agent . The height of the ceiling and presence of ventilaters made the house a very comfortable to sleep even in summer period also .

Having said all I am posting a song which may not fit the bill but what is filmed is the life we used to enjoy during 1952/53 on wards .

yeh zindgi hai yoye yo…..Manmoha Krishan….Aaram[1952]…Anil Biswas

18 ksbhatia October 20, 2016 at 6:10 pm

Arvinder Sharma ji ;;
Within a short period of time you have flooded the post with a well staged bouquet of songs . Some I have listened earlier and rest I am in process of going thru along with the vintage period songs posted by AK ji in the main theme . It is good that we can look for songs where household activites by ladies are also covered without mentioning the word aangan / aangana [ AK @ 14] .

19 AK October 20, 2016 at 6:14 pm

KS Bhatiaji,
You were lucky to have an angana in the heart of Delhi . Angana was very common in the second-tier and smaller towns. But these are also disappearing very fast.

20 ksbhatia October 20, 2016 at 7:06 pm

AK ji ;

Here are few songs which I think should cover the theme .

1. Na bol pi pi more angana….Shamshad ,…Dulari….Naushad

Naushad being your fav. this song should have found its place in the main list .

2.Jyoti kalash chalke….Lata…Bhabhi ki Chhuriyan…Sudhir Phadke

This song beautifully captures the early morning chores of practically all women of that era .

3.Chali kaun se desh….Chhalke maat pita ki akhiyan , Roye tere bachhpan ki sakhiyan , bhhaiya kahe pukaar na jaa ghar aangan chhad ke…….Talat…..Boot Polish…..SJ

This symbolic song is beautifully picturised in the the courtyard sit out atmosphere with girl child dancing to the beautiful tune , again a RK production speciality .

4. Now hold your breath and your tears as well . This song depicts the love of deevar and bhabhi and brings back the memories in the form of flashback thru out the song covering most of the house hold choirs .

tum se hi ghar ghar kahailaya….Mukesh….Bhabhi ki Chhuriyan….Sudhir Phadke

I think this one is Mukesh’s one of the best sad song .

… be contd….

21 ksbhatia October 20, 2016 at 7:17 pm

… continuation…

One song I missed to post is from Bambai ka Babu , again by Mukesh with music by SDB .

This is a vidaai from angna song , the word appears in second stanza .

5. Chal ri sajni aab kya sochey…

22 Ashwin Bhandarkar October 21, 2016 at 1:36 am


Am flattered by your mention of my name in the post :). but I am going through some kind of aangan-block right now, and so the only bandish that comes to mind, other than the Shahana bandish that you have posted, is ‘Anganaa more aa jaa’ in Raga Bhinna Shadaj rendered here by Kishori Amonkar (the bandish started at 3:08)

23 Ashwin Bhandarkar October 21, 2016 at 1:43 am

Angana finds mention in these two Lata songs from the 70s:

1. Satyam Shivam Sundaram from the movie of the same name (MD-LP):

2. Jis dwaare par ghar ki bahu from Jeevan Jyoti (MD: Salilda)

24 AK October 21, 2016 at 2:33 am

Thanks for the songs. It is my impression that there should be many bandishes around angana, at least in light classical genre.

25 Dustedoff October 21, 2016 at 2:50 am

Oh, yes! I have seen some of those hutongs when I went to Beijing a few years ago. Sad that most of them are fast disappearing, making way for high-rise buildings – but at least there are still some around.

26 Mahesh October 21, 2016 at 12:46 pm

AK ji,
Many Thanks for this post. Many songs are unique and less heard.
Arvinder Sharma ji has flooded the aangan with so many flowers. Thanks to him.
“Usha Haran” was probably the only film in which Lata sang for Saraswati Devi.

Mukesh in “Anand” has a solo wherein the word is predominantly mentioned though in the context of thoughts.

Rafi saab and Lata in “Jeevan Mrityu” is my personal favourite.

I have visited such houses and am familiar with the layout but would like to know if the front verandah is also sometimes loosely referred to as aangan.

Angana and aangan are different?


27 mumbaikar8 October 21, 2016 at 3:01 pm

In US we have open space (front yard and back yard) but nothing like angana and atariya (we cannot even use it dry our stuff we are used to do)
In Bombay only open space available was terrace called GACHCHI in local language. Drying masalas, aachar and flying kites were done there with community.

28 AK October 21, 2016 at 4:32 pm

You are welcome.

Jhil mil sitaaron ka aangan hoga is a fabulous song.

‘Aangan’ is an enclosed space. Front veranda can’t be called ‘aangan’.

‘Aangan’ or ‘angana’ convey the same meaning. In proper language, the correct word is आंगन. In songs the form ‘angana’ would be used for matching the rhyme and meter.

29 Ashwin Bhandarkar October 21, 2016 at 4:52 pm

‘Kaisi nikasi chaandni’ is a popular cheeez in Raga Bahaar, and its antara begins with the line ‘china aangana china jaata bhawan mein’. Here is a recording of the late D.V.Paluskar singing this cheez:

30 Ashwin Bhandarkar October 21, 2016 at 5:05 pm

Can’t believe that none of us came up with this Rabindra Sangeet-inspired Burmanda composition from Abhimaan sung by Lata-Kishore. The first antara begins with ‘Nanha sa gul khilega angana’:

Tere mere milan ki yeh raina:

31 Ashwin Bhandarkar October 21, 2016 at 5:19 pm

The Great Indian Family Gig in the Aangan:

‘Bhor Aayi Gaya Andhiyaara’ from Baawarchi:

32 Ashwin Bhandarkar October 21, 2016 at 5:29 pm

‘Man bhaavan ke ghar jaaye gori’, the Lata-Asha duet from Chori Chori has the line ‘tere aangan baje badhaai gori’ in one of the antaraas:

33 Ashwin Bhandarkar October 21, 2016 at 5:34 pm

‘Naach na jaane aangan tedha’ is a much-used Hindi adage. It features in the immortal ‘Ek chatur naar’

34 Ashwin Bhandarkar October 21, 2016 at 5:55 pm

The classic ‘Dheere dheere machal’ that Lata sang under Hemantda’s baton for Anupama has the line ‘Mere sapnon ke aangan mein gaata hai pyaar”:

35 AK October 22, 2016 at 12:46 am

Too good. Thanks.

36 arvindersharma October 22, 2016 at 5:56 am

AK Ji, Bhatia Ji and Mahesh Ji
Many thanks for your appreciative words.
Bhatia Ji and Ashwin Ji have added some lovely songs to the post, and it seems that the aangan is being beautifully decorated for the coming Deepawali.
Here are a few more additions

A lovely devotional song by MS Subbulakshmi
Mere angane me Murli bajao

More Angana baalam ka murga bole by Shamshad Begum from Actress composed by Shyam Sundar

Nache more Angana me Munna pehla pehla by Shamshad Rafi and Kishore from Mastana composed by Madanmohan

Mere Angana kaag Na bole by Geeta Dutt from Padmini composed by Ghulam Haider

Rimjhim barse Pani Aaj more Angana by Meena Kapoor from Pardesi composed by Anil Biswas

Janam liyo lalana ki chand more Angana utar aayo by Asha from Godaan composed by Pandit Ravi Shankar

Books mera kya Naam re
Peepal jhoomne more Angana by Shamshad from CID composed by OP Naiyyar

O saajna mere ghar Angana by Lata from Saanjh Aur Savera composed by Shankar Jaikishan

Will continue…

37 ksbhatia October 22, 2016 at 8:00 am

Ashwin Bhandarkar ji;

A great inputs of songs . The Bawarchi song…Bhor ayee gaya andhiyaara…says it all about the happiness of joint family fully enjoying their choirs in their courtyard . Thoroughly enjoyed all the songs .

AK ji ;

There is one more song that will touch many hearts . The song is from the 1964 movie ..Haqeeqat …sung by Lata ji with music by Madan Mohan ….Ayee ab ki saal diwali,…maa ki godi suni suni angan kaise saware…a beautiful song penned by Kaifi Aazmi ….a fine tribute .

38 Shalan Lal October 22, 2016 at 9:38 am

“Aangan” in the films

It is a very welcoming post on the “Aangan” and it was very good post on the “Atariya” as well. Both are the part of the heritage of India whether they are still in remants or ruins or in the subconscious of the Indian minds. The Indian classical songs, folks songs and poems and in literatures and filmy cultures as well have treasures within them of the “Aangan”. The post has written in very evocative words and presented in the related songs from 1932 to 1993 and many readers have brought out their reminiscent memories whether they had “Aangan” experience or not.

A Kannad Saahitya Akadami Award winner ran some workshops at the Nehru Centre, London, some twenty five years ago on his literature. There are more Kannad writers who are the winners of the Sahitya Akadami Awards than any other Indian language writers.

He called his workshop but it was actually a lecture in which he talked and we listned. He described his Kannad house. There was a courtyard in front where the owner of the house would meet all his male guests from morning until evening. In th evening the courtyard would have been sprinkled with the cow piss and washed and the young girls or ladies would do their Rangoli patterns and sing some hyms or songs around the Tulsi plant etc.

The women visitors would visit the household from the rear of the house in the morning or afternoon. The backyard would be the place where women would do their daily chores and long term pickles, Masala and preserves etc. would be done there All grinding, pounding and talking and singing would go on.

And both front and back yard supplied him the characters male female, children ambiance etc for the creation of his literature.
Sadly I did not read any of his novels or works though the Sahitya Akadami had produced translations of all the award winners translations in English and other languages

The ancient Indians also seemed to have similar plans in their housing situation. The Sanskrit play “Mrichhkatikam” has the housing of the merchant Charudatt. His courtyard is used for evening worship and is being invaded by Shakar the son-in law of the king chasing Vasantsena at late evening watched tremblingly by Vidushak and bravely rescued by Charudatt both of them fall in love with each other. There are some wonderful songs in the play and verses in the Angan. Modern composers could turn them into songs. Sadly two versions of this into films were both failures.

The Indian plan of household with front yard and back yard seemed to have copied by the English into Bungalow taken from the Bengali houses when early East India men worked in the East India Company.

Just before I finish this piece, most of the old companies who produced films in the period of thirties to fifties have “Aangan” in their films. Besides the “Angan” was existing in literatures like those of Sharat Chandra and writers of the Bombay Talkies and Prabhat as well.

In the New Theatres the religious singers would visit the householders and sing for the “Bhiksha”. Notice I did not use the word begging. The woman of the house devotionally would give some money or rice or food portions.

This song situation was good for filming as the scen could be set in the studio.

Forties started with the film “Khajanchi 1941”. There is a song “Diwali Phir Aa Gayi Sajani” in Samshad’s voice and chorus . The girls light the lamps in the “Angan” and sing the above song.

There are many films in the same period that “Angan” have been created in them. For example the Jhoola of the Bombay Talkies with Chitnis and Ashok Kumar.

Aangan as a filmy device is easy for the directors to create in the studio as most of the films were shot in the studio.

Shalan Lal

39 Siddharth October 22, 2016 at 1:27 pm

Thanks for bringing back the memories.
We had this open space extending our house though not exactly “aangan” but it was used for all the activities mentioned in the post…..especially remembering ” jaadon kee narm dhoop aur, aangan mein let kar” etc.
It also had a huge mango tree right in the middle and guava and custard apple tree on either side.

Few wonderful songs with aangan /angna –

Gori tere sapnon ke sajna aaye tere angna (New Delhi)

Man ke aangan mein aana sakhi ri – Preet Ka Geet 1950

Shubha Mudgal – Ali More Angana

Sachi kahe tohre aawan se hamre angna main aayi bahaar

The famous Kabir doha –
“Nindak niyare rakhiye aangan kuti chhawaye;
Bin sabun pani bina nirmal karat subhaye.”

Finally a sher- (Anjum Rahbar)
jin ke aangan mein amiri ka shajar lagta hai
un ka har aib zamane ko hunar lagta hai

40 AK October 22, 2016 at 5:59 pm

Shalan Lal,
Thanks for your appreciation. You have given an excellent description of Kannada house. Such houses now promote home stay tourism.

Thanks for your appreciation and superb songs you have added.

41 Hans October 22, 2016 at 8:29 pm

Sweet is the only word I would use for this post. While Ranganji in his earlier post had traversed the whole world, you have brought us to our homes. When I read this post two days ago, I continued to remember in my minds eye various experiences of the angana for almost two hours. The songs posted were also all class. Number 4 and 6 were new to me and no.8 I had discovered just about a fortnight ago.

You have rightly included the songs which have various activities going in the angana, though the word angana is not explicitly mentioned. That would enable the readers to have a birds eye view of the various uses of angana, if we can find some songs. I would write about my view of the anganas later, but for now I will proceed with posting some songs. A number of songs have already been posted by Sharmaji, Bhatiaji (including a lot from my list) and others of which Sharmaji’s lot is easily the best. Today itself, I had to strike of five from my list after seeing Sharmaji’s list. So, I would quickly proceed to post some songs, lest I may not be left with any. This theme being a female oriented one it would include mostly female songs and Lata would take the cake.

The first one is ‘hamre aangan bagiya, bagiya men do panchhi’ from Teen Bahuraniyan. This song shows the activities and a good view of what the angana can include. The song is sung by all the three bahus and the singers are the three sisters Lata, Asha and Usha. This film is recommended for having a good look at the aangan as well as a joint family.

The second is ‘babul chhoot chala tera angana’ from Rakhi. This is another aspect of the female going from one aangan to another aangan. Bhatiaji mentioned ‘chal ri sajni’ in this context.

The third is ‘mera chhota sa gharbar mere angana men’ from Prem Parbat for which video is not available.

Fourth one is this beautiful composition by Madan Mohan ‘chhayi barkha bahar’ from Chirag. Here everything is happening in the angana.

And finally a duet by Lata and Rafi ‘aadhi raat ko khanak gaya’ from Toofan Men Pyar Kahan.

There is a suggestion for consideration. Since in some cases the lyricists used ‘dware’ or ‘ghar’ in the same sense, can the songs with these words be posted. This would include songs like ‘koi matwala’ and ‘main to bhool chali’.

42 AK October 23, 2016 at 3:30 am

Thanks a lot for your high praise. You have added songs which have long been my favourites. I am especially fond of Aadhi raat ko khanak gaya. In the songs I have posted the word ‘angana’ appeared. An interesting suggestion has come about songs showing women doing various chores in the angana. There is a whole body of marriage rituals which is entirely the women’s domain (this too is becoming a victim of modernity). Then there are daily chores, or rituals related to various pujas, fasts and religious occasions.

Ghar/dwar becomes too wide. One would have to find its creative uses.

43 Ashwin Bhandarkar October 23, 2016 at 2:54 pm

‘Aangan mein nandlaal’, a drut khayal bandish in Raga Multaani, sung by Rajan and Sajan Mishra begins at 24:41 of this recording:

There is another bandish, more well-known than the one cited above, that has a similar sounding (musically) mukhda: ‘Nainana mein aan baan’. Here is a virtuoso performance of this cheez by the late Bhimsen Joshi. I understand it is from the late 50s:

44 KB October 24, 2016 at 2:27 pm

Sri AK,

Aaja mere pyar ke sahare from Humsaya (1965) is als one such song. However we believe it was deleted.Can be added to the list.

45 AK October 24, 2016 at 2:41 pm

Is there ‘angana’ in it? I have selected songs where ‘angana’ figures very prominently.

46 KB October 24, 2016 at 3:53 pm

Sorry this remark was meant for bachhu songlist . It was a mistake.

47 D P Rangan October 25, 2016 at 4:38 pm

This is outside my field. However I want to draw a similarity in south Indian houses. Majority of the houses in urban areas and almost all the residences in villages used to be paved with tiles on sloping roofs. In the interior the four sides of the roof used to slope downwards at an angle creating an empty space, either square or rectangular. This served purely as a place to dry food grains and also lighted up the corridor on three sides and the fourth side used to be a wall common to the next house. The house I lived in as a young boy did have such an open space and I used it as my observatory to have my view of the stars in the sky with the makeshift telescope made by my father. In the nattukottai chettiar houses in Chettinad as the area around Pudukotai in south used to be called, this open space is very big and could almost qualify as an angana.

48 N Venkataraman October 26, 2016 at 7:10 am

SoY would always have something new and given a much needed variety. Yet again you have delighted us with another interesting post. Aangan or Angana is a very interesting subject. The vintage songs go well with the vintage subject. You have presented a fine selection of songs from the vintage period and going well beyond the self-set time period and a couple from the classical genre too.

Your post reminds me of old Indian houses built mandatorily with courtyards in the middle of the house.I believe many affluent households in different regions had a courtyard or multiple courtyards in early days. A typical Keralian Joint family lived in a homestead known as “Naalukettu”, a typical rectangular structure where four halls are joined together with a central courtyard open to the sky. Some of the larger families had Ettukettu, eight halls with two central courtyards or Pathinarukettu, sixteen halls with four central courtyards.

A typical Chittinad household in Tamilnadu had three courtyards, called “mutrram”, with a raised seating area at one or both ends of the first court yard, mainly used for ceremonies. There were a series of rooms on both sides of the courtyard for storage, prayer and sleeping. The other two courtyards, smaller in size were used by women for socializing, cooking. In fact the last courtyard had the kitchen on one side.

I believe a Wada, a courtyard housing form in Maharashtra, was typically a large building of two or more stories with groups of rooms arranged around open courtyards. Similar to the Chettinad style, there were multiple courtyards called “chawk(s)”.

We did not have any courtyards in our paternal or maternal houses. But my in law’s house in Behala, now part of Kolkata, even today has an open courtyard surrounded on three sides by rooms, halls and kitchen. Even a few years back the entire family members used to meet here on the ‘Bijoya”Dasami day of the Durga Puja. In Bengali, I think, they refer to the courtyards as ‘Utthon’.

I am sure each region had their version of courtyard.

This time too I am late to arrive and love to sit back and listen to the songs presented in the comments section as well.

Thanks a lot

49 Shalan Lal October 26, 2016 at 9:18 am

DP@ 47 and Venkatraman @ 48

You both have described the houses very well.

Here in London last twenty odd years a chain shops called “Chennai Dosa” serve South Indian dishes. I occasionally go and enjoy their Culinary arts,. We are lucky that now we are far way from the memories of the Colonial Days and restaurant owners too coming out of the Imperial conditioning they are providing the taste of the Sub-Continent in origin with decor as well.

One Branch of “Chennai Dosa” in Croydon has created a South Indian feel, On the walls they have pictures form the Old Madras City where I spent some time. They also have pictures of the South Indian Houses probalby of comfortable Brahmin family. In one of picture I saw the paved courtyard with side resting high place around the courtyard and the family activities go on. On one side I saw a young student siting by his study table studing. His head is all shaved but he has a long tuff of hair in Hindi it is called “Choti”. And his Choti is tied up to a peg in the wall. I wonder was it punishment or he wanted to straightening it up. But very funny. And women busy doing their washing and cleaning in one corner etc.

On the other wall there was this beautiful madras Station building all in the old South Indian building styles.

Mr Venkatraman, many of the New Theatres and Satyjit Rays films have Bengali houses with open spaces.

I mentioned in my early comment that the English took the idea of Bengali Houses and created the “Bungalow” in England and also in India as well.

Most of the cities last ten years are now showing preferences for Skyscrapers and old English houses are fast disappearing.

These “Bungalow” houses had front yard and back yard. And in the old time the servants entered from the back side and visitors from front side. The rear court still used for many activities like parties, sun bathing and drying the clothes etc.

Shalan Lal

50 ksbhatia October 26, 2016 at 10:38 am

Ms. Shalan Lal , Venkatraman ji , D P Rangan ji , Hans ji ;

It is a great journey of life as you witness the change of living styles….. as times goes by . Those born pre independence must have enjoyed the joint family atmosphere in their teens when Veda was essential part of a house . Vedah is a punjabi version of chourtyard or aangan . The rural or even urban houses of punjab and delhi had the layouts similar to south indian houses . While designing houses and other buildings of Chandigarh in 1952, even Le Corbusier , the french architect, kept this lifestyle in mind . He essentially made provisions for cows , tandoor , open kitchen the courtyards of residential houses keeping in mind the typical punjabi way of life .

Having said about Vedah ,above ; i am posting some punjabi songs that shows some activities performed in Vedahs .

1.Vehde vich lai rakh di…..Nikki[1958]…..Vinod

2.Ni aaj koi saade vedeh aaya…..Surinder kaur, Prakash Kaur…Folk song

3. Pehli pehli vaar meinu….Asha…Ch. Karnail Singh[1960]…Harbans

4.Batti baal ke banere uttey….Shamsahad…Bhangara..Hansraj Behl.

51 AK October 26, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Thanks a lot for your appreciation and detailed comments about ‘anganas’ in different regions. The courtyard was a common feature of even modest houses. Lavish houses obviously had multiple anganas or huge anganas.

52 AVADH LAL October 27, 2016 at 6:59 pm

What a lovely post having description of Aangan or Angna and the household chores and domestic activities performed by the ladies therein. A superb collection of songs initiated by AK ji and later enriched by beautiful additions from Sharmaji, Bhatia ji, Hans ji, Siddharth ji, Shalan Lal ji, and, not to forget Ashwin ji.
@49 Shalan Lalji.
Earlier in Gurukul tradition, the learning was mostly by rote, i.e., the students used to indulge in rhythmically chanting the lessons repeatedly and thereby remembering the subject taught. This practice of oral repetition after sometime is quite likely to induce slumber in the learner and hence in order to prevent going into sleep, often the hardworking Shiksharthis (Learners) used to tie their Shikhas or Chotis (hair-tufts) to a peg so that when they were drowsy and falling asleep they got a painful jerk which would keep them awake.
Grateful to the team of SOY and all the fellow friends for their knowledge shared so voluntarily,
Avadh Lal

53 D P Rangan October 27, 2016 at 11:53 pm

Ms. Shalan Lal

The scene you describe of the boy with his tuft tied up to the ceiling by a rope was a familiar phenomenon prior to 1940s. All boys had half the front head shaved and a long hair which was tied up in a bunch and it was called – Kudumi – in vernacular. Boys studying under a kerosin lamp would sleep off. When their head sways the rope gives a jerk and it keeps the poor boy wakeful. That was the sole purpose of the tie up.

54 AK October 28, 2016 at 12:11 am

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. The hair-tuft tied to a peg was obviously a spoof on the practice of learning by rote. It presented an absolutely funny picture. Does the comedian Mohan ‘Choti’ s name have anything to do with it?

55 Shalan Lal October 28, 2016 at 10:24 am

Avadh Lal, DP. AK, Venkatraman and Ksbhatia and all other frequent readers of the various SoY posts.

The discussion and memories of the old Indian houses is very good. So many things are coming out and I am wondering about our communal subconscious mind.

So ” Choti or Kudumi tied up to a peg is a learning device. How cruel!

They say similar bodily punishments were used for music learning as well. A Tabala training was done by putting a coin on the back of the hand so it would not move and only the fingers could learn to produce all those drum beats.

What about that scene in the film Devdas in which Masterji made a boy to bed and hold his toes?

I am glad these cruel methods have gone and I hope we all condmen those sadistic majors used by older generations.

This particular point is for Ksbhatia; It is good to know Punjabi Vedas. But what about “Chhat” or Roof of the house in Punjabi celebrations and meeting?

For your skills there may be many “Chhat” songs. A new post is waiting for you to discover

Shalan La

56 ksbhatia October 28, 2016 at 5:54 pm

AK ji ;

Ms. Shalan Lal request needs to be acceded . After Muunder and Vedha [ courtyard] I think songs on Chaat would make a complete layout of a….ek bunglaa bane nyaara….theme . The Naya Daur song says it all….tu chhat pe aaja goriye jind meriye .

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: