Pooja Goswami Pavan

kaise keh duuN (How Shall I Say?)

innova 232


The Ghazals featured on this album bring a fresh whiff of resplendent warmth from an otherwise frigid parcel of land known as Minnesota. Performed by Dr. Pooja Goswami Pavan, the renditions are a throwback to a bygone era of an unrushed world of undulating melodies and thriving classicism.


Composed and performed in a style reminiscent of the legendary Begum Akhtar, the Ghazals weave a tapestry of emotions emanating from the myriad manifestations of love and passion. Pooja’s tuneful peregrinations chart the poetic expressions of such eminent exponents of Urdu as classical heavyweights Zauq and Momin and later luminaries as Dagh and Shakeel. Each composition stems off solid classical roots, with one prominent Hindustani Raga constituting the gestalt of its melodic contours. India’s premier instrumentalists, with their Tabla, Sarangi and Harmonium accompaniment, superbly round off the tonal palette of this album.


The Ghazals speak of the vicissitudes of life, of eternal yearning, of love’s laments and its triumphs, and of relationships that were or that could have been. Through it all, a far reaching desire to connect with the spirit, is constantly but obtusely suggested. The incumbent mood of the Ragas, the sonorous strains of the Sarangi, the flickering notes of the Harmonium and the pulsating bursts of the Tabla, all contribute admirably, in a harmonious confluence of sublime poetry and music. This rainbow of musical compositions is contributed by the renowned semi-classical vocalist and Pooja’s Guru, Vidushi Shanti Hiranand, Pooja’s father and Guru, Pandit Surendra Goswami, and Pooja, with three original compositions of her own.


All tracks performed by Dr. Pooja Goswami Pavan (Vocals)

All musical arrangements by Dr. Shailendra Goswami



Vidushi Shanti Hiranand (Tracks 5, 6)

Pandit Surendra Goswami (Tracks 1, 3)

Pooja Goswami Pavan (Tracks 2, 4, 7)


Tabla: Pandit Sudhir Pande

Harmonium: Ustad Mahmood Dholpuri (Tracks 1, 3, 5, 7), Vinay Mishra (Tracks 2, 4, 6)

Sarangi: Murad Ali Khan

Tanpura: Sunil Goswami


Pooja Goswami Pavan


Pooja Goswami Pavan is a Minneapolis, MN based performer, composer, teacher and scholar of Hindustani (North Indian classical) music. She was born in a musical family and received her early training in Hindustani vocal music from her father Sri. Surendra Goswami. She received a Ph.D. in Music from the University of Delhi in 2005 for her thesis on the life and music of Pandit Amarnath, who was one of the prime disciples of Ustad Amir Khan.


Pooja is also trained in semi-classical music by the eminent vocalist Vidushi Shanti Hiranand, the reigning queen of Thumri and Ghazal and the universally acclaimed successor of the legendary vocalist, the Late Begum Akhtar. The versatility in Pooja’s repertoire is evident in her ability to sing Thumri, Dadra, Ghazal, Bhajan and various folk genres (e.g. Chaiti, Kajri, Sawani) besides Khayal.


Pooja has received prestigious National Scholarships in Hindustani classical music awarded by the Ministry of Human Resources and the Sahitya Kala Parishad in India. The prominent venues she has performed at include the India Habitat Center (New Delhi), the Vietnam International Tourism Festival (Hanoi), the Guthrie Theater (Minneapolis) and the Ordway Center for Performing Arts (St. Paul). She has performed widely and lectured at several premier academic institutions within the USA. An active composer, she frequently collaborates with many leading music, dance and theater organizations nationally. Pooja has been an adjunct faculty at the School of Music, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and at Macalester College, St. Paul, where she has taught courses in Indian music and culture.




Recorded at MLB Surtaal, Delhi, India by Afsar Ali


Mixed at Nine Volt Studio, Burnsville, MN by Joy Islam and A. Pavan


Mastered at Rare Form Mastering, Minneapolis, MN by Greg Reierson


Graphic Design by Greg Herriges


Artwork by Sumana Chowdhury

[Front and CD: “Beginning”, acrylic on canvas, 48” x 36”, 2008]

[Traycard Outside and Booklet: “Reflection”, oil on canvas, 60” x 60”, 2009]


Urdu poetry translations by Riyaz Latif


Song titles in Nastaliq script by Anwar-Ul-Islam


Liner notes by A. Pavan


Produced by A. Pavan for innova Recordings, St. Paul, MN


innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation

Philip Blackburn, director

Chris Campbell, operations manager


This project was funded in part by a subito Grant for Career Advancement from the

American Composers Forum


Special Thanks to:


Vidushi Shanti Hiranand, Bimla and Surendra Goswami, Vandana and Shailendra

Goswami, Leela and A.H. Devadas, Indian Music Society of Minnesota (IMSOM),

innova Recordings, American Composers Forum, Sudhir Pande, Mahmood Dholpuri,

Murad Ali Khan, Vinay Mishra, Sunil Goswami, and Neptune.


Poetry Translations


1. kabhii kahaa na

kabhii kahaa na kisii se tere fasaane ko
na jaane kaise Khabar ho gayii zamaane ko

duaa bahaar kii maaNgii to itne phuul khile
kahiiN jagah na milii mere aashiyaane ko 

sunaa hai Gair kii mahafil meN tum na jaaoge
kaho to aaj sajaa luuN Gariib-Khaane ko

dabaa ke chal diye sab qabr meN duaa na salaam
zaraa sii der meN kyaa ho gayaa zamaane ko

wafaa ka zikr jahaaN se hua zamaane ko
wahiiN se bhuul gaye tum mere fasaane ko

- Qamar Jalalabadi (1919-2003)

Never did I say a word to anyone about your episode,
Wonder how the world became privy to it!

So many flowers bloomed when I prayed for spring,
That nowhere did I find a spot for my nest.

It has been heard, you do not go to the soirees of others,
At your wish, shall I adorn my humble abode today?

Quietly, they buried me and left, no farewells, nor goodbyes!
In a split fraction, what happened to the world?

There, from where the mention of fidelity was made to the world,
From that very place, you became oblivious to my episode.

2. sazaa ye Khuub mili

sazaa ye Khuub milii unse dil lagaane kii
woh kyaa phire ki nazar phir gayii zamaane kii

abhii to zikr sunaa thaa rihaaii kaa maine
buland ho gayi diiwaar qaid Khane kii

hamaarii unkii mohabbat meiN farq hai itna
unhe bigadne kii aadat hameiN manaane kii

ye keh rahe the kafan se nikal ke haath mere
ki dil meiN rah gayii hasrat gale lagaane kii

- Bahadur Shah Zafar (1775-1862)

Such punishment I received for giving my heart to her,
The moment she turned away, the gaze of the world turned away [from me].

I had just heard the mention of freedom,
And the wall of the prison rose lofty.

The difference in my love and hers is just this,
To sulk is her habit, and to make entreaties is mine.

Emerging from the shroud, my arms are saying,
The desire to embrace [her] remained buried in my heart.

3. kaise keh duuN

kaise keh duuN ki mulaaqaat nahiiN hotii hai
roz milte heiN magar baat nahiiN hotii hai

aap lillaah na dekhaa kareN aaiinaa kabhii
dil kaa aa jaanaa baDii baat nahiiN hotii hai

chhup ke rotaa huuN terii yaad meN duniyaa bhar se
kab merii aaNkh se barsaat nahiiN hotii hai

haal-e-dil puuchhne vaale terii duniyaa meN kabhii
din to hotaa hai magar raat nahiiN hotii hai

- Shakeel Badayuni (1916-1970)

How shall I say that there is no meeting?
We meet everyday but there is no conversation.

For God’s sake, do not ever keep looking into the mirror,
It is a mere trifle for the heart to be enchanted!

Missing you, I weep, hidden from all world,
When ever do my eyes not shower rain?

Oh my well-wisher, does it ever happen in your world,
That there is day but no night?

4. kyoN mujhe maut ke

kyoN mujhe maut ke paiGaam diye jaate heiN
ye sazaa kam to nahiiN hai ki jiye jaate heiN

nasha donoN meiN hai saaqii mujhe Gam de yaa sharaab
may bhii pii jaatee heiN aaNsuu bhii piye jaate heiN

unke kadamoN pe na rakh sar ki hai ye be-adabi
paa-e-naazuk to sar aaNkhoN pe liye jaate heiN

aab giinoN ki tarah dil hai GariboN ke ‘Shamim’
tuut jaate heiN kabhi tod diye jaate heiN

- Shamim Jaipuri

Why am I given missives of death?
Is this penalty not enough that I keep on living?

Both are intoxicating, oh, cup-bearer, whether you hand us sorrow or wine,
We drink wine, as we keep drinking tears.

Do not put your head at her feet, for it is transgression,
Delicate feet are held up to eyes and heads.

The hearts of the deprived are like crystal goblets, Shamim,
They shatter often, and often they are shattered.

5. ab to ghabraa ke

ab to ghabraa ke ye kehte heiN ki mar jaayeNge
mar ke bhii chain na paayaa to kidhar jaayeNge

aag dozaKh kii bhii ho jaayegii paanii paanii
jab ye aasii arq-e-sharm se tar jaayeNge

ham nahiiN vo jo kareN Khuun kaa daavaa tujh par
balqi puuchhegaa Khudaa bhii to mukar jaayeNge

'Zauq' jo madarase ke bigDe hue heiN mullaah
unko maiKhaane meN le aao saNvar jaayeNge

- Sheikh Mohammed Ibrahim Zauq (1788-1855)

Though we say in dread, we shall depart this life,
Where shall we go, if death too, fails to bring us relief?

Even the fires of hell will be watered with shame,
When we the needy, flooded with remorse, go there.

We are not the ones to accuse you of murder,
Even if the Almighty asks, we shall outright deny.

‘Zauq’, those spoilt mullahs of the seminary,
Get them to the pub; they would then be redeemed.

6. royaa kareNge aap bhii

royaa kareNge aap bhii pahroN isii tarah
aTkaa kahiiN jo aap kaa dil bhii merii tarah

mar chuk kahiiN ke tu Gam-e-hijraaN se chuuT jaayeN
kehte to heiN bhale kii, lekin burii tarah

nai taab hijr meN hai na aaraam vasl meN
kambaKht dil ko chain nahiiN hai kisii tarah

nai jaaye vaaN bane hai na bin jaaye chain hai
kyaa kiijiye hameN to hai mushkil sabhii tarah

huuN jaaN-ba-lab butaan-e-sitamagar ke haath se
kyaa sab jahaaN meN jiite heiN "Momin" isii tarah

- Momin Khan Momin (1801-1852)

You too shall shed tears for hours on end if,
Your heart, akin to mine, gets entangled somewhere.

“Go, perish, so you are relieved of the pain of separation,”
She says for my own good, though so heartlessly.

No respite in parting, nor is there comfort in union,
Whatever the state, the desolate heart finds no peace.

To go there, I am unable; without going, I suffer,
What to do? I am in distress either way.

My life drains away at the hands of tormenting beauties,
Does everyone in this world, Momin, exist like I do?

7. sabaq aisaa parhaa diyaa …

sabaq aisaa parhaa diyaa tune
dil se sab kuchh bhulaa diya tune

laakh dene kaa ek denaa hai
dil-e-be muda’a diyaa tune

be talab jo milaa, milaa mujhko,
be Garaz jo diyaa, diyaa tune

mit gaye dil se naqsh-e-baatil sab
naqsha apnaa jamaa diyaa tune

mujh gunaahgaar ko jo baKhsh diyaa,
to jahannum ko kyaa diyaa tune

dagh ko kaun dene waalaa thaa
jo diyaa, ai Khudaa, diyaa tune.

- Nawab Mirza Khan Dagh Dehlvi (1831-1905)

What a lesson you have imparted!
All else, you have made my heart forget!

It’s a bestowing worth a million bestowals,
You have gifted me an unencumbered heart.

Whatever I received, I received without seeking,
Whatever you gave, you gave unabatedly.

All untrue impressions are purged from my heart,
So deep have you imprinted your own!

If I, the sinner, was absolved,
What then did you feed the fires of hell?

Who was there to support Dagh?
Whatever I have Oh Lord, is your benevolence.