Friday Fictioneers: The Maestro


Ashiq Hussain hangs out his shirt on the clothes line as he watches his grandson playing in the dirt next to a big pile of rubbish.

An all too familiar beat comes wafting out from the shanty next door. Ashiq strains to hear; somebody is listening to his brainchild “Dama dam mast qalandar” on the radio. He wonders about the city people who interviewed him and told him that he was a great maestro suffering an immense injustice.

“Oh well” he thinks, shaking himself out of his reverie, “I hope Ali beta can earn a few rupees today so we can have dinner before going to sleep.”

Ashiq Hussain, the man behind the melody “Dama dam mast qalandar” that has been sung by famous singers of the Indian subcontinent; today resides in a slum near Bhaati Gate, Lahore.

This story has been written for the Friday Fictioneers. For details see the link below:

24 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers: The Maestro

  1. Lovely story. Thank you for enlightening us about the injustice (and having a man hang up laundry.) It seems sad that someone who came up with such a beautiful song gets no credit.

  2. I read Ashiq Hussain’s story and the passing away of his son Ali. You’ve captured the pathos of his life and the dark side of showbiz where many stars have faded away after having ruled the roost, forgotten by the same fans that once worshipped them.

    • You’re most welcome, I’m thrilled that you listened to the song. This is a very popular song, it’s been sung by many famous singers and is commonly sung on weddings in my country.

  3. Dear Znjavid, interesting story. I listened to the music video but I didn’t know what he was singing about. I enjoyed your story, and sorry if he’s living in squalor now. If the picture across your banner is your son, he is growing up. 2 of my sons spent time in India and loved it, the people were so nice, the scenery (they sent us pictures galore) and they enjoyed the friends they met – all computer engineers and extremely fun! Thanks for the story, the music/video, and the fun! Nan 🙂

    • Hi Nan, I’m so happy you took out time to hear the song (I apologize for putting such a long clip with the very long intro, that was all I could find). It’s song that many singers from India and Pakistan (I belong to Pakistan) have sung and it is a popular song on weddings. Yes the picture is of my son, he’s my inspiration for a lot of what I write. Thank you for your comment and sharing your story with me. Best wishes, Zainab

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