Tum Hi Mere Mandir Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Nutan_Khandan
Nutan embodies the essence of an archetypal pativrata wife in Khandaan (1965)

Today, we present the lyrics and English translation to “Tum Hi Mere Mandir” from Khandaan (1965).

In light of the ongoing #MeToo movement that has now made its way to the echelons of Bollywood elite, perhaps this song was not the most timely choice. Let me be clear: I do not support the misogynistic undertones of husband-worshipping expressed in this song. I do, however, love this song for Ravi’s delicately crafted tune that has been rendered to perfection by Lata Mangeshkar in her all-time prime.

Viewed with modern eyes, Rajendra Krishan’s words can certainly be construed as misogynstic and downright cringeworthy. However, appreciating these lyrics in the context of the story depicted in Khandaan adds a bit of tempering nuance. In this film, Sunil Dutt plays a man with special needs who feels that he is not a worthy partner to his wife. To strengthen his spirit, the ever-graceful Nutan comforts him with a serenade of this lilting gem. The lyrics of “Tum Hi Mere Mandir” take on a more egalitarian meaning in this context: instead of espousing blind subservience, marital love is portrayed as a divine commitment that should not be weakened by judging our partners for their flaws and imperfections.

This iconic song took home some of the big prizes at the Filmfare Awards Ceremony of 1966. Ravi won Best Music Director, Rajendra Krishan won Best Lyricist, and Lata Mangeshkar received a well-deserved Best Singer award (her third of four total). I mean, it can’t just be my heart that skips a beat as Lata begins to hum that lullaby in the third stanza?

-Mr. ’55
Nutan_SunilDutt_Khandan
Nutan comforts her husband Sunil Dutt with this iconic love song in Khandaan (1965)

Tum Hi Mere Mandir: Lyrics and English Translation

tum hii mere mandir, tum hii merii puujaa
You are my temple, you are my prayer.
tum hii devtaa ho
You are my God.
koii merii aa.nkho.n se dekhe to samjhe
If someone were to see through my eyes, they would understand
ki tum mere kyaa ho
what you mean to me.

jidhar dekhtii huu.n, udhar tum hii tum ho
Wherever I look, I see you and only you.
na jaane magar kin khayaalo.n me.n gum ho
But I do not know what thoughts you are lost in.
mujhe dekh kar tum zaraa muskuraa do
Show me a smile when you glance at me,
nahii.n to mai.n samjhuungii mujh se khafaa ho
or else I will think that you are angry with me.

tum hii mere maathe kii bindiyaa kii jhilmil
You are the sparkle of the bindi on my forehead.
tum hii mere haatho.n ke gajaro.n kii manzil
You are the destination of the flower garlands in my hands.
mai.n huu.n ik chhotii-sii maaTii kii guDiyaa
I am just a little clay doll.
tum hii praaN mere, tum hii aatmaa ho
You are my life, you are my soul.

bahut raat biitii chalo mai.n sulaaa duu.n
It is late in the night; come, let me put you to sleep.
pavan chheDe sargam, mai.n lorii sunaa duu.n, mmmm….
The wind carries a tune, while I sing you a lullaby.
tumhe.n dekh kar yeh khayaal aa rahaa hai
When I look at you, I feel that I am watching
ki jaise farishtaa koii so rahaa ho
an angel in peaceful slumber.

tum hii mere mandir, tum hii merii puujaa
You are my temple, you are my prayer.
tum hii devtaa ho
You are my God.

Glossary

mandir: temple; puujaa: prayer; devtaa: God; gum: lost; muskuraanaa: to smile; khafaa: angry; bindiyaa: decorative mark worn in middle of forehead by Indian women; jhilmil: sparkle; gajraa: flower garland; manzil: destination; maaTii: clay; guDiyaa: doll; praaN: life; aatmaa: soul; sulaanaa: to put to sleep; pavan: breeze, wind; sargam: melody, tune; lorii: lullaby; farishtaa: angel.

Nutan_SunilDutt_Khandan
Nutan serenades Sunil Dutt on a casual bedroom jhoola in Khandaan (1965).
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4 thoughts on “Tum Hi Mere Mandir Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

  1. Starting to read your post, I thought to myself, “What the …!” but your comments shine a completely different light on this song; well said! All it takes is a slight twist of the kaleidoscope and viola! a new pattern emerges. Thanks, I have always liked to melody and singing, though not necessarily the lyrics, but will now listen to it anew.

  2. Lovely song, I appreciate your analysis. I feel the same but it was from a different era so we can only appreciate how well it was done.

  3. This song has been among my favourites for years and I am so glad you’ve addressed it as you have and made it more acceptable in our modern day. There are many who would just read the lyrics and, rightly, it would be damned. Despite the lyrics, I only ever saw her as a woman who was looking upon her man with love-filled eyes and because she saw him as he was, a good and caring person, who considered himself as unworthy of her. To me, he was more of a man because he dried his tears so he wouldn’t upset her.

  4. What else can I say, except that you have so succinctly articulated my very thoughts on this evergreen song! Granted, it sounds like haplessly slavish fawning that can be horribly sexist when one listens to it merely as a song rather than as a component of the very film in which it is featured. In other words it is one of those filmi songs that rely on the film’s plot for context, which unfortunately places it at a disadvantage when listened to by those who do not know what the film is about.

    Having said that, can one also apply the same treatment to other Lata Mangeshkar solos previously blacklisted for misogynistic undertones in one of your previous posts, such as Hum Tere Pyar Main Saara Alam from Dil Ek Mandir (1963) as well as the ghazal Aap Ki Nazron Ne Samjha from Anpadh (1962)? Personally, I feel that the use of phrases such as mere mandir, meri pooja, devta, saara alam or bandaparvar are, although outwardly hyperbolic and, when sung by a female singer/picturised on a female character, may reek of excessive subservience to the opposite gender, instead function (for me) as expressions of the deepest, most subliminal love, which I find beautiful. Then again, lyrics are art, and art is after all subjective.

    I also agree that this post may not be the most appropriate in light of the #metoo movement, and while I salute the brave women who are using their newfound courage to speak up against the bad apples in the crate who find pleasure in exploiting, violating and humiliating them, I also fear that eternal classics like the aforementioned Lataji solos would be rendered vulnerable to the risk of being misconstrued as anthems in favour of female subjugation in an industry that has long been a hotbed of dangerously toxic masculinity.

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