Paar Chanaa De

This song that everyone’s been talking about.. Paar Chanaa De? It’s got a story. And if you don’t know this, I think you may be interested.

Before you go ahead and try to understand the meaning of the song, you need to know the story of Sohni and Mahiwal. Theirs was one of the tragic love stories from Punjab. If you don’t know what it was, hold tight, because this is gonna pull at your heart strings. And then go and listen to this song again. And read the lyrics.

It will make all the difference in the world. Honestly, it will only reveal how wonderful and hard love really is.

Here are the lyrics first. The story follows after.


Paar Chanaa de
Disse kulli yaar di
Ghadiya ghadiya
Aa ve ghadiya

Right there
Across the Chenab river is my lover’s hut
Dear pot, oh pot
Come on, let’s keep going

Raat haneri nadi thaa-thaan maardi
Adiye adiye..Haan ni adiye

The night is deathly dark
The river’s waters are clashing against us
Don’t go girl, don’t be stubborn.. Don’t get stuck

Paar Chanaa de
Disse kulli yaar di

Ghadeya ghadeya aa ve ghadeya
Raat haneri nadi thaa-thaan maardi
Adiye adiye.. haan ni adiye

Across the Chenab
Is my lover’s home
Dear pot, oh pot.. Come on, let’s get there
This night is dark and the river’s being rebellious
Don’t go don’t be stubborn.. Yes, let’s go


Kacchi meri mitti
Kaccha mera naam ni

Haan main nakaam ni
O main nakaam ni

Kacchiyaan da honda kaccha anjaam ni
Eh gal aam ni

I am made of only clay, unbaked
It’s only my fate that I’ll melt away in the waters
I have failed, I have
Yes, I have failed
Things which are unsound, like me, will have a fate like mine too- uncertain.
And this is usual. It is what it is.


Kaccheyaan te rakhiye na umeed paar di
Adiye adiye.. haan ni adiye

But don’t expect the unsound to help you cross this river
And you, girl, don’t be stubborn.. come on

Raat haneri nadi thaa-thaan maardi
Adiye adiye.. haan ni adiye

The night is deathly, the river’s clashing against us
But we can’t stop.. Let’s keep going

Paar Chanaa de disse kulli yaar di
Ghadeya ghadeya aa ve ghadeya
Raat haneri nadi thaa-thaan maardi
Adiye adiye haan ni adiye

*the utterly beautiful music of Noor Zehra on the Sagar Veena at 3.49*

Ho oh o.. Ho..

Vekh chhallan paindiyaan
Na chhadeen dil ve
Vekh chhallan paindiyaan
Na chhadeen dil ve
Ajj Mahiwaal nou..
Main jaana mil ve

Look, the tide is getting only getting higher 
But don’t lose heart, you, dear pot
Today I must go and meet Mahiwal..
At any cost

Ajj Mahiwaal nou.. Main jaana mil ve.

I must meet Mahiwal today.

Vekh chhallaan paindiyaan
Na chhadeen dil ve
Haan laike khil ve
Ajj Mahiwaal nou main jaana mil ve
Haan aiho dil ve

Look, the waves are crashing against us
But don’t lose heart

Come help me get there
I have to meet Mahiwal
My heart needs to

Yaar nou milegi ajj laash yaar di
Yaar nou milegi ajj laash yaar di

Yaar nou milegi ajj laash yaar di..
Ghadeya ghadeya.. aa ve ghadeya

Tonight a lover’s going to be greeted with his beloved’s corpse
Tonight her lover’s going to find her dead

Tonight he’ll find her corpse..
Dear pot, oh pot.. Keep going, get her there

Paar Chanaa de disse kulli yaar di
Ghadeya ghadeya aa ve ghadeya
Raat haneri nadi thaa-thaan maardi
Adiye adiye.. haan ni adiye

Paar chaana de disse kulli..
Haan kulli

Ve kulli yaar di
Ghadeya ghadeya.. aa ve ghadeya
Raat haneri nadi thaa-thaan maardi
Adiye adiye.. aa ni adiye

Phad pallara
Phad pallara pakke murshad da
Jehda.. tainu paar lagaave
Tainu paar lagaave.. Ghadiya

Hold on tight
Hold on to the pot and hold on strongly
It’ll get you across safely
It will
It will get you there.. Oh pot.


Ghadiya.. Ghadiya.. Ghadiya

Oh pot, dear pot.

Tainu paar lagaave
Tainu paar lagaave.. Tainu paar lagaave
Tainu paar lagaave.. Ghadiya

Ghadiya.. Tainu paar lagaave

Oh pot
It’s going to take you across
It will take you ashore.. Across
It will get you there, love.. This pot
This pot.. It’ll carry you there



The pot.



Sohni & Mahiwal.

The below text has been taken from:


“Sometime during the late Mughal period, there lived in a town on the banks of the Chenab, or one of its branches, a potter (kumhar) namedTulla. (The town is identified either as present day Gujrat or one of the nearby towns.) Tulla was a master craftsman and his earthenware was bought and sold throughout Northern India and even exported to Central Asia. To the potter and his wife was born a daughter. She was such a beautiful child that they named her Sohni, meaning beautiful in Punjabi.
Sohni spent her childhood playing and observing things in her father’s workshop. She watched clay kneaded and molded on the wheel into different shaped pots and pitchers, dried in the sun, and then fired and baked. Sohni grew up not only into a beautiful, young woman but also an accomplished artist who made floral designs on the pots and pitchers that came off her father’s wheel.
Sohni’s town was located on the trading route between Delhi and Central Asia, and trading caravans often made a stopover here. One such caravan that stopped here included a young, handsome trader from Bukhara, named Izzat Baig. While checking out the merchandise in town, Izzat Baig came upon Tulla’s workshop where he spotted Sohni sitting in a corner of the workshop painting floral designs on the pots. Izzat Baig was taken by Sohni’s rustic beauty and charm and couldn’t take his eyes off her. In order to linger at the workshop, he started purchasing random pieces of pottery. He returned the next day and made some more purchases at Tulla’s shop. His purchases were a pretext to be around Sohni for as long as he could. This became Izzat Baig’s routine until he had squandered most of his money.
When the time came for his caravan to leave, Izzat Baig found it impossible to leave Sohni’s town. He told his companions to leave, and that he would follow later. He took up permanent residence in the town and would visit Sohni at her father’s shop on one pretext or the other. Sohni also began to feel the heat of Izzat Baig’s love and gradually began to melt. The two started meeting secretly.
Izzat Baig soon ran out of money and started taking up odd jobs with different people, including Sohni’s father. One such job was that of grazing people’s cattle — mainly buffaloes. Because of his newfound occupation people started calling him Mahiwal, a short variation of Majhan-wala or the buffalo-man. That name stayed with him for the rest of his life — and thereafter.
Sohni and Mahiwal’s clandestine meetings soon became the talk of the town. When Sohni’s father came to know about the affair he hurriedly arranged Sohni’s marriage with one of her cousins, also a potter, and, ignoring Sohni’s protests and entreaties, bundled her off to her new home in a village somewhere on the other side of the river.
Mahiwal was devastated. He left town and became a wanderer, searching for Sohni’s whereabouts. Eventually, he found her house and managed to meet her in the guise of a beggar and gave her his new address — a hut across the river. Sohni’s husband, meanwhile, discovering that he could not win Sohni’s heart no matter what he did to please her, started spending more time away from home on business trips. Taking advantage of her husband’s absence, Sohni started meeting Mahiwal regularly. She would swim across the river at night with the help of a large water pitcher (gharra), a common swimming aid in the villages even today. They would spend most of the night together in Mahiwal’s hut and Sohni would swim back home before the crack of dawn. On reaching her side of the river, she would hide the pitcher in a bush to be used for her next trip the following night.


One day, Sohni’s sister-in-law (her husband’s sister) came visiting. Suspecting something unusual about Sohni’s nocturnal movements, she started spying on her. She followed Sohn,i one night, and saw her take out the pitcher from the bush, wade into the river and swim across. She reported the matter to her mother (Sohni’s mother-in-law). Both of them, rather than informing Sohni’s husband, decided to get rid of Sohni. This, they believed, was the only way to save their family’s honor. The sister-in-law quietly took out Sohni’s pitcher from the bush and replaced it with sun-dried, unbaked pitcher.
As usual, Sohni set out at night for her meeting with Mahiwal, picked the pitcher from the bush, as she always did, and entered the river. It was a stormy night. The river was in high flood. Sohni was soon engulfed in water. She discovered, to her horror, that the pitcher had begun to dissolve and disintegrate.
What shall she do now? Different thoughts rushed through Sohni’s mind. Abandon the trip? Or continue trying to swim without the help of a pitcher — and drown? Her inner struggle at this point is best expressed in a saraiki song made memorable by Pathanay Khan in his inimitable voice: Sohni gharray nu aakhdi aj mainu yaar mila gharrya
Roughly translated and paraphrased the song runs as follows:
Sohni (addressing the pitcher):
It’s dark and the river is in flood
There is water all around me
How am I going to meet Mahiwal?
If I keep going, I will surely drown
And if I turn back
I would be going back on my promise
And letting Mahiwal down
I beg you (O pitcher!), with folded hands,
Help me meet my Mahiwal
You always did it, please do it tonight, too
(The pitcher replies):
I wish I, too, were baked in the fire of love, like you are
But I am not. I apologize; I cannot help
Hearing Sohni’s cries, Mahiwal, from the other side, jumped into the river to save her. He barely managed to reach her. As the story goes, their bodies were washed ashore, and were found the next day, lying next to each other.
With their death, Sohni and Mahiwal entered into the world of legends and lore. And, in their death the sinners became saints.”




6 thoughts on “Paar Chanaa De

Add yours

  1. Another gem of a translation Prachi! The story was always a tragic heartbreaking one and this song is just like that. Thank you for introducing me to one more lovely song! 😊💕


  2. Ah! these tragic romances of Punjab. ‘Heer-Ranjha’ is my favorite among them.

    About these tragic romances, I love them and how they have stood the test of time. The society is the same as it was before. It opposes lovers. It detests love as if it is a disease. The family is same too. It trod down the lovers in the name of honor.

    I love the way these romances define love, how they put it in perspective. The way the lovers gave themselves to love and how love is akin to God’s worship. So few words and the stories are much more than them.

    Liked by 1 person

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