Madhukar Rajasthani: The Song of the Unsung Poet

Lyricists have always played second fiddle to the music directors in Hindi movies. Yet, good lyricists have often drawn their own fan following. To the discerning listeners  of Hindi Cine Sangeet, they have always been as important as the composer  and the singer, if not more. And in the world of geets and ghazals, they have more fan following than the composers.

Yet, I was fairly surprised to find that even some of the connoisseurs of light music that I know could not even recognize the name of Madhukar Rajasthani. A few who did, correctly identified him as a writer of bhajans and were completely unaware that he has penned so many beautiful geets. That prompted me to write this post. Unfortunately, not much information on his personal life is available, except that he was born in Churu district of Rajasthan.

Madhukar, in my opinion, is the most underrated lyricist in the history of Hindi light music. One reason could be that he did not write for too many films. His first film was Bhed, with music by Mukul Roy. He did work with popular composers such as Husnlal Bhagatram, Roshan and Ram Ganguly but only occasionally. He has written for close to two dozen movies, none by a big banner.

His non-film work can be broadly divided into two broad categories (my classification): bhajans and geets.  It is not just a genre classification. His bhajans are among the most popular bhajans in the history of recorded music in India, though they are identified with the singers and few know the lyricist who has penned such soulful words. On the other hand, his other songs are barely known.

Tere bharose hai Nandlala, written by Madhukar, is arguably the most popular bhajan song by Mohd. Rafi. Most of the popular non-filmi Rafi bhajans such as  Shyam se neha lagayaPaon padoon tore Shyam, and Main Gwalo rakhwalo maiya are written by Madhukar. These are bhajans many of us have grown up listening to.

That is, however, not the case with his other songs. Most of them are among the best that I have listened to – filmi or non-filmi. But few have even heard them. If anyone is interested, one can go to and search for his songs. You would get some 30-odd songs. Here are some of my favourites. Each of them is an absolute gem.

1. Meri bhi ek Mumtaz thi (Manna Dey). One of my all-time favorites. In a class of its own. And if you listen, even if you are an occasional  listener, you will ask: who is the poet?

2. Pal bhar ke pehchan aap se (Manna Dey).  Another gem. One of the most soulful romantic songs that I have listened to.

3. Ja tujhe bhul gaye (Hemant Kumar)

4.  Ek gaon ke ujale daman mein (Talat Mehmood). One of the best by Talat.

5. Yeh awara ratein (Manna Dey)

6. Chalo na gori (C H Atma). An extremely hummable song, very different from all the rest. I sing this often in small get togethers.

It is an absolute pity that so little is known about the poet. Would be delighted to know more.

I am compiling a list of his songs, which I will put up here as a separate page.



Filed under Music, Non-filmi light music

29 responses to “Madhukar Rajasthani: The Song of the Unsung Poet

  1. Shyamanuj, so apt that you should write on music/composers/with Rafil featuring prominently.
    Can’t forget your passion for this, and I am glad to see it reflected here. Very nice feature…how we do forget names, or don’t bother to remember, sometimes…

  2. saint Tyagi

    Dear Shyamanuj,
    I admire your effort for giving some credit to Poor Poet who has written some of most beautiful songs — (Bhajans I a have not heard much..). You have not mentioned some of the best songs sung by Mukesh written by him for example
    1. AAJ GAGAN SE CHANDA UTRA (One of best best songs written by him)
    Whenever I listen to his songs sung by Mana Da & Mukesh I try to search for something about this Poet but found nothing..


    • shyamanuja

      Well, I have listed only a few. Aaj gagan se chanda utra aa gaya mere baho mein…..beautiful. I do not remember the third one Gaaun kahan tak. Will look for it

    • vikas

      saint tyagi
      thank for giving this valuable information for us. i am sarching 3 one song
      if you have it pls shere with me.i am thank full to you…………my id is…………..i am weight for regard……….

  3. Thank You……The given Information on your blog is very useful.Visit :-times music retailmartBuy Hindi Film Music Online, Bhindi Baazaar (VCD), Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge, Alag, Aasma – Sky Is The Life, 60’S Filmfare Collectibles, 1971,Bubblegum (DVD).

  4. Good to see us all remembering Madhukar Rajasthani. I have grown up listeing to all the great singers (Rafi, Talat, Manna Dey) singing geets written by him on the non-filmi section of vividbharti. I remember and have some of these songs.
    Paanv padun tore shyam – Rafi
    Tere Bharose hey nandlala- Rafi
    Tum Aao rimjhim karte – Rafi
    Sawan ki rimjhim mein thirakte – Manna Dey
    Nathli se toota moti re – Manna dey

    Very nice songs and lyrical and sung beautifully by these great singers. Some available at youtube as well..

  5. Arvind

    Thank you Shyamanuj ji.
    You did a great service in providing a platform to this person and topic.

  6. Govind Mathur

    Sawan ki rimjhim main thirak thirak naache mayurpankhi re …. Sung by Manna Dey is another beautyful song in this chain .

  7. Madhukar Rajasthani was extremely popular wih radio listeners in 1950s and’60s when radio Ceylon and Vividh Bharathi used to play regularly his songs sung mainly by Md. Rafi, Talat Mahmood , Manna Dey and Hemant Kumar. With the advent of TV the only artists new generation knows are RD Burman and Kishore Kumar. .What a cruel joke!. Madhukar ji belongs to the refined lyricists of Kavi Pradeep,Pt.Narendra Sharma, Kidar Sharma, and Bharat Vyas, Neeraj category. It is his good fortune that he got first class music directors and singers to give shape to his high quality songs. One cant forget songs like ” Kal teri tasveer ke sajde kiye hsin raat bhar”(Hemant da), Mera pyar mujhe louta do(Talat), Woh jo khat tune mohabbat mein likhe the mujhko(Usha Mangeshkar), Veda ki bela tumne kaha tha (Talat), Jiyenge magar muskura na sakenge (Mukesh) and scores of other songs. At that time Fayyaz Hashmi, Bharat vyas, Jan Nisar Akhtar, and many accomplished poets found radio a solid ground to reach millions of populace to elevate common musical and poetic taste to higher levels. That is why those who were young then could appreciate and understand finesse and artistic nuances of good lyrics and venerated quality writers. Today all that is gone. Education is greater today than before. But new generation fails to understand Hindi or Urdu or even Graceful English with their semantic subtleties, lyricists of our day know none of these languages and what they write doesnt rise above crude cupidity (or stupidity).
    I am glad that some people are trying to restore the forgotten great personalities like Madhukar Rajasthani on internet.
    —-Sharad Rajimwale

    • Nalin Saraf

      Dear Shri Sharadji, I am searching the details of life and work of lyricist Madhukar Rajasthani. I being a writer (of course in Hindi) like to write on this unsung lyricist. I would appreciate if you could provide any detail or photo or full text of his lyrics, both filmi and non filmi. My email ID is. Thanks and Regards.

  8. i am from rajasthan, and have been listening madhukarji’s writing sung by various singers, but sadly do not know where he was born and where he is today. can not some body from the family put together his biography on wikipedia?

  9. Deepak K Mehta

    I came across this only today. He was a real gem

  10. I remember Madhukar Rajasthani from listening to Radio and I totally agree with the sentiments of the author.

  11. bhanu sharma

    my heartful regards to sri madhukar ji.

  12. Madhukar Rajasthani`s most popular song is Sajani nathuli se toota moti re sung by Manna Dey. I have heard this song frequently on Radio ceylon and Vividh Bharati during 60-70.

  13. Hemant

    Tum Aao Rumjhum Karati is a gem of songs. I has listened to it some 30 years ago and then discovered it on youtube. Rafi and Khayyam make it so easy to listen.

  14. Satish Bahadur

    Can someone put the lyrics of “Nathli se toota moti re”

    Satish Bahadur

  15. Bhupen

    Oh, how sweet! Listened to his songs on Goa Radio (Does anyone remember?) as a young boy. Radio anchor’s favorite he was, and Hemantda’s too! On ‘Meri Pasand’ program he’d have this combo often, also the silken voice of Talatsaa’b.
    Btw, anyone an help me find Hemantda’s ‘Tajmahel ke dwar milo tum Akbar ke ek bar kabhi?

  16. Mukesh Bansal

    Yes, It’s a big thing for me to read something about my all and old time favourite lyrist Madhukar Rajasthani.

    I have been his fan since my childhood and now at the age of 67 yrs, I do sing his songs and bhajans – many of these songs and bhajans are on You Tube.

    His name ‘Madhukar Rajasthani’ has always given me a great feeling of regard and affection.

  17. Sudarshan Dubey

    It is very unfortunate that we have to search for the superb work of these great artistes. How can we forget the gems from the poet, which are very soothing and meaningful. I am grateful to Shyamanuja Ji for remembering him.
    I was searching for the music director Shri Murli Manohar Swarup Ji on internet but not much is available. Can you please share whatever you know about his work and him.

  18. Prem mathur

    I was pleasantly surprised to see this!
    I used to listen to old non film songs, on radio, on tapes, and now on CD. However there is little awareness of such music and poetry among the masses. There little known about Madhukar or Hasrat Jsipuris lives even though the latter is a well known film lyricist / shayar.

  19. Mukesh Bansal

    It’s a wonderful feeling to recall my favourite ‘Madhukar Rajasthani’ once again and find my comments about this great Poet 4 yrs ago.
    Today, I am going to dedicate his three songs to him and the public on You Tube. His association with Khayyam is also worth remembering.
    Pankaj Mullick to CH Atma to Hemant to Talat to Rafi to Mukesh- All these great singers of their time have sung Madhukar’s songs and bhajans.
    For me it’s an honour to remember him today and pay Tributes to this great favourite of mine. Mukesh Bansal (71yrs)

  20. Vijay Sevak

    Good service to real listeners. I listened to his geets and bhajans on Vividh Bharatee during 60s and 70s. I liked them most with soft music and emotional voices that they touched my heart. I admire him. Thanks that you wrote about him. If you find details of his life, please, share again.

    • Dr Arup Basu

      Is there no where where one can find out about such a great poet, lyricist ?
      It is a really sad thing for Hindi literature to forget such a gem. Like all of you I too have grown up listening to his “gair-filmy geet” in VividhBharati in the 60s. My heart does not accept the fact that such a talented person should be lost to posterity. Iam sure we can try and start some sort of a remembrance foundation for him, even if it is online. Great regards to Shyamanujaji, Mukesh Bansalji, Sharad Rajimwaleji and all the others for starting this forum and providing some facts on this hugely underrated literary giant . Iwould like to know from Shri Nalin Sarafji, whether he was succesful in compiling some more details about Madhukar Rajasthaniji.

  21. Prem Mathur

    Madhukar got more freedom as a post in the nonfilm Geet and ghazsls mostly composed by Khayyam, and sung by all the great male singers of the time.
    Yes, I am just discovering that so little is known about poets such as HasaratJaipuri also from Rajasthan.
    In small music gathering I always remind my friends that in all great songs poetry plays equally important role as music and voice.
    Our education has not given has tools of appreciation of the arts – literary, performative, or visual.
    And we take pride in our culture! We urban people of India are far less cultured than the relatively less ‘educated’ rural population. Far less than Europeans, they at least educated to listen QUIETLY!

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