Paar Chana de- Punjabi Folk Song


This song describes the final moment of Sohni-Mahiwal, one of the four tragic romances from Punjab.


Story of Sohni-Mahiwal:

In a village along the Chenab River in Punjab, there was a potter named Tulla who created the most lovely earthenware pots in the region. Tulla and his wife had a daughter, they named her Sohni, meaning “beautiful” in Punjabi.

One day, a very wealthy young man from the great city Bukhara in Uzbekistan came to Tulla’s home to buy some pottery.  His name was Izzat Baig. While he saw Sohni, he could not take his eyes off of her. He found excuses to return to Tulla's house day after day.


Love, by nature, is an infectious disease.  If one is affected, others around the sickly cannot help but feel the same symptoms. Sohni saw Mahiwal every day. She knew he came only to see her and she had grown accustomed to it. Tulla decided to hire Izzat Baig as a water buffalo herder.  Because of this, Izzat Baig became known as Mahiwal, or buffalo man.

However, in the eyes of people, their love was forbidden. Sohni was married off to a wealthy potter merchant.

Mahiwal, distraught, took up residence in a small hut across the river from Sohni’s house.  He renounced the lands he came from and believed that the earth under Sohni’s feet was his dargah, or shrine


Sohni’s husband was a pottery merchant who had to travel long distances that caused him to be away for days on end.  At night, Sohni would sit up and look across the river at her lover.  One night she got the idea of using a baked earthenware pot to aid her to stay afloat as she crossed the river.  As she did not know how to swim, she held on the pot tightly. 


One day Sohni’s sister-in-law came to know about these unsolicited meetings.  Following night she replaced Sohni's pot with an unbaked pot.


The next night, Sohni took the pot and began her journey to meet her lover. On her way across the river, the pot started melting.  She cried out for Mahiwal. While holding on to each other, they both drowned in the Chenab River.

The song demonstrates a hypothetical conversation between Sohni and the pot.


Lyrics:


Paar chanaan de disse kulli yaar di

Right there across the Chenab river lies my beloved’s hut

Ghaṛiya ghaṛiya aa ve ghaṛiya

Come on, clay-pot, let’s keep going

Paar chanaan de disse kulli yaar di

Right there across the Chenab river lies my beloved’s hut

Ghaṛiya ghaṛiya aa ve ghaṛiya

Come on, clay-pot, let’s keep going


Raat haneri nadi ṭhaaṭhaan maardi

The night is deathly dark, the river waves surge high around us

Aṛiye aṛiye haan ni aṛiye

Oh listen, girl, don’t be stubborn

Kacchi meri miṭṭi kaccha mera naam ni

I am a pot made of unbaked clay, bound to melt away in the river

Haan main na-kaam ni

Being unsound and unsteady, I cannot but fail in carrying you across

Kacchiyaan da hunda kaccha anjaam ni….

The unsound can only reach an unsound end…

Eh gal ‘aam ni

This is a truth known to all

Kacchiyaan te rakkhiye na umeed paar di

Don’t rely on the unsound to help you reach the shore

Aṛiye aṛiye haan ni aṛiye

Oh listen, girl, don’t be stubborn

Raat haneri nadi ṭhaaṭhaan maardi

The night is deathly dark, the river waves surge high around us


Wekh chhallaan paindiyaan nah chhaḍḍeen dil ve

Look, the waves are splashing higher and higher, but don’t lose heart

Ajj mahiwaal noon main jaana mil ve

I must go to meet Mahiwal this night at any cost

Haan lai ke khillh ve

So help transport me there

Ajj mahiwaal noon main jaana mil ve

I must go to meet Mahiwal this night at any cost

Haan aiho dil ve

Yes, my heart insists on going

Yaar noon milegi ajj laash yaar di

Tonight, a lover will be greeted with the corpse of his beloved

Ghaṛiya ghaṛiya aa ve ghaṛiya

Come on, clay-pot, let’s keep going


Phaṛ pallaṛa

Hold firmly to…

Phaṛ pallaṛa pakke murshad da jehṛa tainoon paar lagaawe…

Hold firmly to the sound guide who will take you safely to the shore…

Jihṛa tainoon paar lagaawe

… who will take you safely to the shore

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