Yeh Zindagi Usi Ki Hai Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Bina Rai's lovely smile in Anarkali (1953)
Bina Rai’s enchanting smile commands the screen in Anarkali (1953).

Today we present the lyrics and English translation to “Yeh Zindagi Usiki Hai” from Anarkali (1953). “Yeh Zindagi Usiki Hai” is a true Bollywood legend, one of Lata Mangeshkar’s most iconic numbers picturised upon a nail-biting thriller of historical mythology.

The doomed tale of 16th century Mughal Prince Salim and fabled courtesan Anarkali has been a favorite of the Bollywood film industry dating back to the pre-talkie days. A silent film in 1928 and then a talkie in 1935 starred Sulochana in the title role (who incidentally also plays Queen Jodha in the 1953 version).

In 1944, K. Asif too announced he would remake the film with Nargis as the lead, but unfortunately, the film was put on hold with the partition of India when his producer Shiraz Ali Hakim moved to Pakistan. Almost a decade after Bina Rai’s 1953 version became a blockbuster, K. Asif picked up steam on his “period” project, toyed with casting Nutan before honing in on Madhubala, and eventually released his magnum opus Mughal-e-Azam (1961).

Pradeep Kumar and Bina Rai star in Anarkali 1953.png
Pradeep Kumar and Bina Rai star as Prince Salim and his songstress lover in Anarkali (1953).

In Filmistan’s magnificent 1953 version, the song “Yeh Zindagi Usiki Hai” both opens and ends the film. A romantic version starts the movie on a high note (literally) while an ominous version carries the film’s climax as the heroine is entombed alive. The cinematography, particularly of the first iteration, is stunning: dream-like extreme close-ups of Bina Rai lend a lyrical quality to the Salim-Anarkali courtship. Every shot is infused with languid glamour matched by the actress’ complete command of the screen. I remain awestruck by Bina Rai’s performance–she possess that elusive je ne sais quoi, which eclipses beauty or theatrics to make her unquestionably a star. You cannot stop watching her even as the last brick is placed in front of her face (Geeta Bali from that era possesses a similar enchanting appeal).

Let me be clear: no matter how you slice it, the biggest star of this piece is Lata Mangeshkar whose vocals could overpower any Mughal army–from her gorgeous opening alaap to the haunting final farewell. It’s one of those mind-numbing songs that makes me sad when I remember some people live their whole pathetic lives without ever hearing this angel’s voice. Music composer C. Ramachandra famously shafted Geeta Dutt by switching the soundtrack to a pure Lata production halfway through (fortunately, one Geeta Dutt number was salvaged). The expert sitar that punctuates both versions of “Yeh Zindagi Usiki Hai” is performed by none other than Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan (yes, the same genius who wowed you in “Madhuban Mein Radhika“).

Now that your cup runneth over with tea, check out the lyrics and our English translation to “Yeh Zindagi Usiki Hai” below!

Yeh Zindagi Usiki Hai Lyrics & English Translation:

Romantic version:

Yeh zindagii usii kii hai jo kisii ka ho gayaa
This life belongs to only to whomever gives themselves to another
pyaar hii mei.N kho gayaa
To whomever becomes lost in love

Yeh bahaar yeh samaah keh rahaa hai pyaar kar
This spring and this moment are telling us to fall in love
Kisi kii aarzuu mei.N apne dil ko beqaraar kar
They tell us to make ours hearts restless in desire of another
Zindagii hai bewafaa
Life is unfaithful
Zindagii hai bewafaa, luuT pyaar kaa mazaa
Life is unfaithful, so we must steal the pleasures of love
Yeh zindagii usii kii hai…

dhaDak rahaa hai dil, to kyaa? Dil ke dhaDakane.N na gin
So what if my heart is racing? Do not count your heartbeats
Phir kahaa.N yeh fursate.N, phir kahaa.N yeh raat-din
Where again will we have this leisure time, where again will we have these days and nights?
Aa rahii hai yeh sadaa
The call is coming
Aa rahii hai yeh sadaa mastiiyo.N mei.N Duub jaa
The call is coming for us to immerse ourselves in these intoxications
Yeh zindagii usii kii hai..

Yeh zindagii usii kii hai jo kisii ka ho gayaa
This life belongs to only to whomever gives themselves to another
pyaar hii mei.N kho gayaa
To whomever becomes lost in love

Bina Rai as Anarkali entombed alive
Bina Rai as Anarkali gazes at the audience one final time before she is (in theory) entombed alive in Anarkali (1953).

Sad version:

Yeh zindagii usii kii hai jo kisii ka ho gayaa
This life belongs to only to whomever gives themselves to another
pyaar hii mei.N kho gayaa
To whomever becomes lost in love

Jo dil yahaa.N na mil sake, mile.Nge us jahaa.N mei.N
Those hearts which could not meet here will meet in the other world
Khile.Nge hasrato.n ke phuul, jaa ke aasmaan mei.N
The flowers of our wishes will bloom as they reach heaven
Yeh zindagii chalii gayii…
Even if this life goes away
Yeh zindagii chalii gayii jo pyaar mei.N, to kyaa huaa?
Even if this life goes away, if it was for love, then so what?
Yeh zindagii usii kii hai…

Sunaayegii yeh daastaa.N, shamaa mere mazaar kii
The flame of my shrine will tell this story
Khizaa.N mei.N bhii khilii rahii, yeh kalii anaar kii
This pomegranate flower will keep blooming even in Autumn
Isse mazaar mat kaho…
Do not call this a shrine
Isse mazaar mat kaho, yeh mahal hai pyaar kaa
Do not call this a shrine, this is a palace of love
Yeh zindagii usii kii hai…
This life…

Hai zindagii kii shaam aa, tujhe gale lagaauu.N mai.N
Let the evening of my life come, I would take you in my arms
Tujhii mei.N Duub jaauu.N mai.N
I would immerse myself in you
Jahaa.N ko bhuul jaauu.N mai.N
I would forget the world
Bas ek nazar, mere sanam
Just one last glance from you, my dear

Alviidaah….alviidaah…
Farewell…farewell…
Alviidaah….alviidaah…
Farewell…farewell…
Alviidaah….alviidaah…
Farewell…farewell…
Alviidaah….alviidaah…
Farewell…farewell…

Glossary:

zindagii: life; pyaar: love: kho jaanaa: to become lost; bahaar: Spring; samaa: moment, time; aarzuu: desire; beqaraar: restless; bewafaa: unfaithful; luuTnaa: to steal; mazaa: enjoyment, pleasure; dhaDaknaa: to beat [heart]; dil: heart; ginnaa: to count; fursaat: leisure time; raat-din: night and days; sadaa: call, cry; mastii: intoxication; Duubnaa: to drown, to immerse; hasrat: wish, desire; phuul: flower; aasmaa.N: sky, heaven; sunaanaa: to tell, to make heard; daastaa.N: story; shamaa: light, flame; mazaar: shrine, tomb; khizaa: Autumn; khilnaa: to bloom; kalii: flower; anaar: pomegranate; mahal: palace; shaam: evening; gale lagaanaa: to take in [one’s] arms; bhuulnaa: to forget; nazar: glance; sanam: lover, dear; alviidaah: farewell

Sulochana or Ruby Myers as Anarkali and Queen Jodha
Sulochana (also known as Ruby Myers) was a silent Indian film star of Jewish ancestry who starred in Anarkali (1928) (left) and later played Queen Jodha in the 1953 remake (right).

You are doubtless asking yourself, why did they have to entomb Anarkali alive though? Was there no more humane way of doing things? Okay, fine, the Mughals were not exactly known for their humane war strategies, but sheesh, when Prince Salim arrives at her tomb, don’t you think he would try tearing it down and checking if she’s alive rather than just having a meltdown and crying? Seriously, there had to be enough oxygen in there to last at least a little while longer!

As it turns out, Indian audiences couldn’t get enough of Pradeep Kumar and Bina Rai in a good old Mughal romance so they were cast again ten years later as Shah Jahan (Prince Salim’s real life son) and his queen Mumtaz Mahal in the film Taj Mahal (1963). Check out “Jo Wada Kiya Woh” or “Paao.N choo lene do” for more epic period Urdu poetry!

– Mrs. 55

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Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

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On June 12, 2016, the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history took place at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. This tragedy took the lives of 49 innocent victims and wounded at least 53 more. The majority of victims targeted in this violent massacre were LGBT people of color. We stand in solidarity with Orlando and pay tribute to the lives lost in this hate-fueled tragedy through the English translation of a timeless song from Mughal-E-Azam (1960): “Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya“?

Madhubala’s portrayal of Anarkali in Mughal-E-Azam (1960) is widely considered to be her greatest work.

Mughal-E-Azam (1960), directed by K. Asif, narrates the story of forbidden love between Anarkali (played by Madhubala) and Salim (Dilip Kumar). Salim, prince of the Mughal empire, falls in love with Anarkali, a beautiful dancer in the royal court. Emperor Akbar, Salim’s father, is outraged by his son’s relationship with a lowly courtesan. The ensuing conflict between Akbar and Salim, with Anarkali caught in the middle, results in a war between father and son that culminates in a tragic conclusion on all sides.

Although the love story of Salim and Anarkali has been dramatized several times over the decades, this depiction has become immortalized as a masterpiece in the realm of Hindi cinema. This film is considered a crowning glory of the careers for several of the artists involved, especially actress Madhubala, playback singer Lata Mangeshkar, music director Naushad, and lyricist Shakeel Badayuni.

With poignant eloquence, “Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya?” embodies the spirit of bravery in love.  Indeed, this song expresses a universal message that originates from the time of Mughal emperors yet still resonates today. It inspires us to fight for those we love, to have courage in the face of adversity, and to live our lives freely without fear.

In light of the recent tragedy, let it also be a reminder that love can be expressed in many different ways. Those who love differently from the norm should not be afraid of expressing themselves simply for being who they are. By promoting tolerance over hate, we must come together and take a stand against the persecution of the LGBT community in today’s society.

After all, we cannot forget that love is love.

-Mr. ’55
Madhubala brazenly defies societal norms in the royal court of Emperor Akbar in Mughal-E-Azam (1960)

Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya: Lyrics and English Translation

insaan kisii se duniyaa me.n ek baar muhabbat kartaa hai
An individual only falls in love once in this world.
is dard ko lekar jiitaa hai, is dard ko lekar martaa hai 
He lives with this pain, and he dies with this pain.

pyaar kiyaa to Darnaa kyaa?
If I have loved, then why must I be afraid?
pyaar kiyaa koii chorii nahii.n kii
I have simply loved; I have committed no theft.
chhup chhup aahe.n bharnaa kyaa?
Then, why must I heave these sighs of pain in secrecy?

aaj kahe.nge dil kaa fasaanaa
Today, I will narrate the story of my heart,
jaan bhii le le chaahe zamaanaa
even if the world takes my life.
maut vahii jo duniyaa dekhe
If death is only accepted when witnessed by the world,
ghuT ghuT kar yuu.n marnaa kyaa?
then why must I die by suffocating alone?

unkii tamanna dil me.n rahegii
My desire for him will continue to grow in my heart.
shamma isii mahfil me.n rahegii
The flame will continue to burn in this gathering.
ishq me.n jiinaa, ishq me.n marnaa
After living in love and dying in love,
aur hame.n ab karnaa kyaa?
what else remains for me to do?

chhup na sakegaa ishq hamaraa
My love cannot be hidden,
chaaro.n taraf hai unkaa nazaaraa
it can be seen in all four directions.
pardaa nahii.n hai jab koii khudaa se,
If I do not wear a veil in front of God,
bando.n se pardaa karnaa kyaa?
why must my love remain veiled from society?

pyaar kiyaa to Darnaa kyaa?
If I have loved, then why must I be afraid?

Glossary

insaan: person, human; dard: pain; Darnaa: to fear; chorii: theft; aahe.n bharnaa: to heave sighs; fasanaa: story; zamaanaa: society, world; maut: death; ghuTnaa: to suffocate; tamanna: desire; shamma: flame; ishq: love; nazaaraa: sight; pardaa: veil: banda: person, human.

Mughal-E-Azam (1960) became the first Hindi feature film to be digitally colorized for re-release in theaters in 2004.

Bekas Pe Karam Kijiye Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Madhubala
Shackled by chains, Madhubala pleas for mercy by singing a naat in Mughal-e-Azam (1960)

Today, we present the lyrics and English translation to a treasured gem from the regal soundtrack of K. Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam (1960): bekas pe karam kiijiye. Imprisoned by Emperor Akbar for falling in love with Prince Salim, Anarkali sings this song as a plea for mercy and delivery from her troubles. This composition is an example of a naat — a song in praise of the Prophet Mohammed — and it remains one of the most beautiful naats to grace Bollywood’s silver screen to this day.

For the soundtrack of Mughal-e-Azam, Naushad and Shakeel Badayuni teamed up to create a lyrical and musical masterpiece whose iconic splendor shines brightly in the annals of Hindi cinema. In particular, this composition has been tuned skillfuly by Naushad to the lilting notes of Raga Kedar, an ancient and revered raga named after Lord Shiva that is known for its complex melodic phrases and evocation of the shanta (tranquil) rasa. The tranquil piety of this song has been expressed most beautifully by melody queen Lata Mangeshkar, whose artistic genius is featured prominently throughout this film’s soundtrack. Not surprisingly, for a special record released in 1967 on the occasion of her silver jubilee in playback singing, Lata selected bekas pe karam kijiye as one of the top ten favorite songs of her career. Take a listen to a live version of this song from Lata’s famous Royal Albert Hall debut (London, UK) in 1974. Flawless as usual!

The poetry of this song employs a number of phrases and metaphors that are traditionally found in naats and other Muslim prayer songs. Specifically, Mohammed is referred to as mushkil-kushaa.n (remover of difficulties) and sarkaar-e-madiinaa (leader of the holy city Medina). The city of Medina occupies a revered position in Muslim history because it is believed that the migration of Mohammed and his followers from Mecca to Medina to escape perseuction in the year 622 A.D marks the beginning of the Islamic Era. In addition, this song employs two common metaphors used in religious songs to describe tragedy and misfortune: an ark stranded in a whirlpool (bha.nvar me.n safiina) and the sinking boat (Duubtii kashtii). Along with Madhubala’s devastating portrayal of Anarkali, such lyrics throughout the soundtrack of Mughal-E-Azam provide additional poignancy and artistry to the narration of this tragic epic. 

See our translation of Teri Mehfil Mein Qismat Aazmaakar for more discussion about Mughal-E-Azam, and stay tuned as we translate the rest of the songs from this monumental film. Until next time…

-Mr. 55
Madhubala
Even during imprisonment, Madhubala’s beauty shines in this classic scene from Mughal-e-Azam (1960)

Bekas Pe Karam Kijiye: Lyrics and Translation

ai mere mushkil-kushaa.n fariyaad hai
Oh, my savior! Please heed this complaint.
aap ke hote hue duniyaa merii barbaad hai
Although I remain devoted to you, my world is being destroyed.

bekas
pe karam kiijiye, sarkaar-e-madiinaa

Please have mercy upon this wretched soul, oh leader of the holy city.
gardish me.n hai taqdiir, bha.nvar me.n safiinaa
My fate revolves in a vicious cycle, while my ark is stranded in a whirlpool.

hai vaqt-e-madad, aaiye bigaDii ko banaane
As the time for aid has arrived, please come and resolve my troubles.
poshiidaa nahii.n aap se kuchh dil ke fasaane
I keep no tales of my heart hidden from you.
zakhmo.n se bharaa hai kisii majbuur kaa siinaa
This helpless devotee’s chest is marked by many wounds.

chhaayii hai musiibat kii ghaTaa gesuuo.n vaale
The dark lock-like clouds of misfortune have cast upon me.
lilaah merii Duubtii kashtii ko bachaa le.n
May the Lord rescue my sinking boat.
tuufaan ke aasaar hai.n, dushvaar hai jiinaa
With signs of an impending storm, my life is in danger.

bekas pe karam kiijiye, sarkaar-e-madiinaa
Please have mercy upon this wretched soul, oh leader of the holy city.

 

Glossary

mushkil-kushaa.n: remover of difficulties, savior; fariyaad: complaint; barbaad: destroyed; bekas: wretched, destitute; karam karnaa: to have mercy; sarkaar-e-madiinaa: leader of Medina (holy city of Islam), God; gardish: cycle; taqdiir: fate; bha.nvar: whirlpool; safiinaa: ark; vaqt-e-madad: time for aid; bigaDii banaanaa: to resolve troubles; poshiidaa: hidden; fasaanaa: tale; zakhm: wound; majbuur: helpless; siinaa: chest; musiibat: misfortune; ghaTaa: cloud; gesuuo.n: locks, hair; lilaah: Allah, God; kashtii: boat; tuufaan: storm; aasaar: signs; dushvaar: difficult, arduous.

Madhubala
The heavy chains used during the shooting of this song took a physical toll on Madhubala, who was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition known as Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) or colloquially as a “hole in the heart”.