Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the man with a magical voice, masterfully recorded over 300 albums, which have sold millions of copies. His mission was to spread the message of Sufi poets and mystics. A man of utter simplicity and someone truly of his times, Nusrat made Sufi music a global favourite.
On 16 September, Friday, the Bangla translation of 'Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: Le Messager du Qawwali' was launched at La Galerie, Alliance Française de Dhaka. The book has been translated from French to Bengali by Kazi Abdullah Al Muktadir and published by Pathak Shamabesh.
This book is a personal account of the great qawwal's life as observed by Dr Pierre-Alain Baud, a French music researcher. Dr Pierre has studied Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's life and music for over a decade. "Nusrat's simplicity and humbles fascinated me the most," Pierre said.
The book became very popular in France after its first publication in 2008, winning several awards. Pierre said that even five years ago he was unwilling to translate the book into Bangla because Nusrat was Pakistani. However, after the massive success of its English translation, he realised that "Nusrat was not just Pakistani; rather, he was a desi persona like Lata Mangeshkar and Farida Parvin." They all share the same desi soul in different façades, commented the author.
The interpreter of the book, Kazi Abdullah Al Muqtadir, was an English graduate who started learning French as a hobby during his student days. He has worked successfully at home and abroad as a French Language teacher, translator and interpreter.
As a great admirer of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's songs and his personal acquaintance with the author, he undertook the difficult task of translating this book. Despite his experience in translation, he said, "this book has no comparisons in terms of challenge."
A renowned critic and translator, Professor Fakrul Alam, appreciated the translation work. "Fluency is there, and the narrative flowed well, meaning the translator could grasp the core of the book," he said.
Prof. Kaiser Haq, a prominent poet, critic and academic, found the enthusiasm and the passion with which Pierre pursues his interests remarkable.
Prof. Kaiser said "this book will go some way towards increasing the popularity [of Nusrat] or giving the people who take the trouble of reading the book some insights into Nusrat's life, philosophy and the essential characteristics of the music that he is famous for."