Soz Khwan – Jyoti Swaroop Pandey

Love of Hazrat Imam Hussain needs no religion

Mr. Jyoti Swaroop Pandey had his schooling at the Campion School, Mumbai, and at the age of 23, post graduated in Economics from the University of Mumbai, in the year 1973.

He qualified for the Indian Foreign Services in 1974 and was appointed Ambassador to Brazil the same year. He has since served as the Indian Ambassador to Malaysia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine (2009). Mr. Pandey was very interested in music since his childhood and learnt music from the late Krishna Rao Kamhetkar of Mumbai from 1967 to 1973. After shifting to Delhi, he learnt the art of rag-raginis from Ustad Rahim Fahim ud Deen Khan during the years 1986 – 1987; paying particular attention towards Bhairavi, Dhrupad, Khayal, Patta and Ghazal Gaaiki.

Mr. Pandey’s interest in Soz Khwani was inspired by his attending a Majlis in Delhi, where he was attracted towards a Soz Khwan, who was reciting a Soz in Bhairavi. He was very impressed by the pathos of the Soz that brought tears to his eyes, particularly the various nuances in which the Soz was recited. The beauty of expression and the sweetness of Urdu fascinated him so much that he learnt Urdu and became fluent in reading, writing and speaking it with ease.

His first recital of Soz was in 1990, at a Majlis in Amroha, which was well received and appreciated. He was encouraged by Mr. Ali Sadiq Naqvi of Amroha, the late Nawab Jani Saheb of Aligarh and Professor Mohammad Waqih for his efforts.

A Seminar on Mir Anees was organised by Maulana Dr. Syed Kalb-e Sadiq in 1992, at the Imam Bargah Husainabad (Chota Imam Bada), where he invited Mr. Pandey to recite a Soz of Mir Anees; Mr. Pandey’s delivering the Soz left everyone stunned and spell bound. This recital drew the attention of some Lucknow Door Darshan officials who were covering the Seminar, they approached Mr. Pandey for a recital at Door Darshan, which he gladly accepted. His Soz was broadcasted by Door Darshan, Lucknow, the same year. It was followed by another performance in 1993, for a Door Darshan film – ‘Gham-e Hussain’. By his Soz Khwani for the All India Urdu Service, Delhi, and a Nauha in Persian, for the Persian Service, he created a record of sorts. Some years back, he was specially invited to recite Soz in the Majlis e Chehlum of Mr. Ghulam Husain Naqvi, Advocate, which was very successful and well received by all, including some Soz Khwans of Lucknow.

He has been a regular invitee in Delhi, Lucknow, Amroha, Pihani and Mustafabaad for his Soz Khwani. Mr. Jyoti Swaroop Pandey prefers the old style of rendering the Soz or Nauha. He is an ardent fan of Mir Anees and is well known to the family of Mir Anees. A few of his Soz and Nauhas are available on Youtube, and his style and voice reminds one of the late Mr. Kundan Lal Sehgal.

Ibrahim Ali Khan

Writer is resident of Shish Mahel Lucknow and member of Awadh’s Royal Family.

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