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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Jo Wada Kiya Woh Nibhana Padega Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

PK BR
The eternal love story of emperor Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal is presented in Taj Mahal (1963)

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day 2014, we continue our series on Taj Mahal (1963) with the lyrics and English translation to the film’s most popular song: Jo Vada Kiya WohFor our previous posts on this film, please see our translations of khudaa-e-bartar, jurm-e-ulfat pe, and paa.nv chhuu lene do.

As its name suggests, Taj Mahal (1963) directed by M. Sadiq tells one of the greatest love stories in India’s history: how Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (played by Pradeep Kumar) fell in love with his (third!) wife Mumtaz Mahal a.k.a Arjumand Banu Begum (played by Bina Rai) and eventually built the Taj Mahal in her memory following her demise. While the film’s historical — yet often fictional — narrative earned commercial success and critical acclaim, it is mostly remembered today for its soundtrack composed by Roshan and penned by Sahir Ludhianvi.

It is no surprise that this immortal duet sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi earned the well-deserved #1 position in Binaca Geet Mala for the year of 1963. In fact, this song was played for so long on Binaca Geet Mala that the program had to change its rules regarding the maximum number of weeks that a single song could be featured on the list! Ever since, this blockbuster song, tuned to Raga Pahadi, has remained an all-time romantic favorite in Hindi cinema. Although some may consider its charm to be hampered by overexposure, even the most diehard fans may be surprised to learn that this song has two additional versions featuring lyrics that differ from those in the song’s most popular version. Among the three renditions found in the film, my personal favorite is the “sad” version (transcribed as Version 2 below).  I mean, how could you not love that beautiful Lata alaap played as Bina Rai’s spirit descends from the Moon to meet Pradeep Kumar?

Will the romance of this song be enough to charm your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day this year? Share this poetry with that special someone and you’re guaranteed to score some major points from him or her today! Until next time…

-Mr. 55
PK
Pradeep Kumar exudes a regal aura as he plays Shah Jahan in Taj Mahal (1963).

Jo Wada Kiya Woh Nibhana Padega (Version 1): Lyrics and Translation

jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
You must fulfill the promise that you made.
roke zamaanaa chaahe, roke khudaayii
Should society or divinity attempt to stop you,
tum ko aanaa paDegaa
you must still come to me. 

tarastii nigaaho.n ne aavaaz dii hai
My pining eyes have called out to you.
muhabbat kii raaho.n ne aavaaz dii hai
The paths of love have called out to you.
jaan-e-hayaa, jaan-e-adaa, chhoDo tarsaana
Oh beloved, please stop tormenting me.
tum ko aanaa paDegaa
You must come to me.
jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
You must fulfill the promise that you made.

yah maanaa hame.n jaa.n se jaanaa paDegaa
I accept that I must leave this life.
par yah samajh lo tum ne jab bhii pukaaraa
But understand this: whenever you call out to me,
ham ko aanaa paDegaa
I must come to you.
jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
I must fulfill the promise that I made. 

ham apnii vafaa pe na ilzaam le.nge
I will not tolerate accusations concerning my fidelity. 
tumhe.n dil diyaa hai, tumhe.n jaa.n bhii de.nge
I have given you my heart, and I can offer you my life too. 
jab ishq kaa saudaa kiyaa, phir kyaa ghabraanaa?
When I have already bargained with love, what is there to fear?
ham ko aanaa paDegaa
I must come to you.
jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
I must fulfill the promise that I made.

chamakte hai.n jab tak yah chaa.nd aur taare.n
As long as the Moon and stars continue to shine,
na TuuTe.nge ahd-o-paimaa.n hamaare
our promises and pledges will not be broken.
ek-duusraa jab de sadaa hoke diivaanaa
When one of us calls the other in the pangs of love,
ham ko aanaa paDegaa
we must come to each other.
jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
We must fulfill the promise that we made.

Moon
Bina Rai’s spirit descends from the heavens to come meet Pradeep Kumar in his old age in Taj Mahal (1963).

Jo Wada Kiya Woh Nibhana Padega (Version 2): Lyrics and Translation

jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
You must fulfill the promise that you made. 
roke zamaanaa chaahe, roke khudaayii
Should society or divinity attempt to stop you,
tum ko aanaa paDegaa
you must still come to me.

sabhii ahal-e-duniyaa yah kahte hai.n ham se
All the people of the world tell me that
ki aataa nahii.n hai koi muD ke adam se
no one returns from the next world.
aaj zaraa shaan-e-vafaa dekhe zamaanaa
Today, let this world see the splendor of faithfulness.
tum ko aanaa paDegaa
You must come to me. 
jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
You must fulfill the promise that you made.

yah maanaa hame.n jaa.n se jaanaa paDegaa
I accept that I must leave this life.
par yah samajh lo tum ne jab bhii pukaaraa
Yet, understand this: whenever you call out to me,
ham ko aanaa paDegaa
I must come to you.
jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
I must fulfill the promise that I made.

ham aate rahe hai.n, ham aate rahe.nge
I have been coming to you, and I will continue to do so eternally.
muhabbat kii rasme.n nibhaate rahe.nge
I will continue to fulfill the duties of love.
jaan-e-vafaa, tum do sadaa phir kyaa Thikanaa?
Oh beloved, at which dwelling shall we meet when you call? 
ham ko aanaa paDegaa
I must come to you. 
jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
I must fulfill the promise that I made. 

BR
Bina Rai stars as the elegant Mumtaz Mahal a.k.a Arjumand Banu Begum.

Jo Wada Kiya Woh Nibhana Padega (Version 3): Lyrics and Translation

jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
You must fulfill the promise that you made. 
roke zamaanaa chaahe, roke khudaayii
Should society or divinity attempt to stop you,
tum ko aanaa paDegaa
you must still come to me.

yah maanaa hame.n jaa.n se jaanaa paDegaa
I accept that I must leave this life.
par yah samajh lo tum ne jab bhii pukaaraa
Yet, understand this: whenever you call out to me,
ham ko aanaa paDegaa
I must come to you.
jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
I must fulfill the promise that I made to you.

hamarii kahaanii tumhaaraa fasaanaa
My story and your tale
hameshaa hameshaa kahegaa zamaanaa
will be narrated eternally by the world.
kaisii balaa kaisii sazaa, ham ko hai aanaa
Whatever misfortune or punishment falls upon me, I must come.
ham ko aanaa paDegaa
I must come to you.
jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
I must fulfill the promise that I made.

jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
You must fulfill the promise that you made.
roke zamaanaa chaahe, roke khudaayii
Should society or divinity attempt to stop you,
tum ko aanaa paDegaa
you must still come to me.

*Female lines in red are sung by Lata Mangeshkar. Male lines in green are sung by Mohammed Rafi. Lines in black are sung together by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi.  

Glossary

vaadaa nibhaanaa: to fulfill a promise; roknaa: to stop; zamaanaa: society, world; khudaayii: divinity; tarasnaa: to pine; nigaah: eyes; aavaaz denaa: to call out; muhabbat: love; raah: path; jaan-e-hayaa: beloved; jaan-e-adaa: beloved; tarsaanaa: to torment; maanna: to accept; jaha.n: world; samajh lenaa: to understand; pukaarnaa: to call out; vafaa: fidelity, faithfulness; ilzaam: accusations; ishq; love; saudaa karnaa: to bargain; ghabraanaa: to fear; chamaknaa: to shine;  TuuTnaa: to break; ahd-o-paimaa.n: promises and pledges; sadaa denaa: to call; diivaanaa: mad, crazy in love; ahal-e-duniyaa: people of the world; muD ke aanaa: to return; adam: non-existence, the next world; shaan-e-vafaa: splendor of faithfulness; rasm: duty, rule; jaan-e-vafaa: beloved; Thikaanaa: dwelling, place; kahaanii: story; fasaanaa: tale; hameshaa: always, eternally; balaa: misfortune, calamity; sazaa: punishment.

PK BR
Pradeep Kumar and Bina Rai remain united in love through both life and death in Taj Mahal (1963).

Jurm-E-Ulfat Pe Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

This gem penned by Sahir Ludhianvi in Taj Mahal (1963) is probably one of our favorite picks for an old film song that makes the makes the best use of Urdu lyrics. This classic movie narrates the love story between Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. Ludhianvi’s heart-wrenching lyrics combined with Roshan’s beautiful music (a nuanced use of Raga Gaud Malhar!), Lata’s magical voice, and Bina Rai’s graceful portrayal of Mumtaz Mahal on screen make this song a truly memorable masterpiece.

All the couplets in this song are beautifully constructed, but one of the lines in this song is particularly intriguing. In the fourth couplet, Ludhianvi writes: “takht kyaa chiiz hai aur laal-o-javaahar kya hai?” As a whole, this couplet expresses the sentiment that love is so powerful that it transcends wealth, royalty, and even divinity. However, Ludhianvi’s use of the specific word laal-o-javaahar (red jewels, rubies) to symbolize wealth is interesting because it appears to be a reference to Javaahar Laal Nehru, who happened to be Prime Minister of India at the time that this song was written. Nehru was certainly seated on the “takht” of India in 1963, but what is Ludhianvi’s purpose in referencing him in this line of the song?

Although we can’t know for sure, here’s what we think. Because Ludhianvi is known to use his lyrics as a medium for criticism and political satire, it is likely that he is criticizing Nehru for his role in starting the Sino-Indian War of 1962. Nehru’s stubbornness and refusal to negotiate escalated tensions between India and China, ultimately leading to a war that cost thousands of human lives on both sides. (As a side note, the patriotic classic “aye mere vatan ke logo.n” was written to commemorate the soldiers who lost their lives in this war). Here, I would venture to say that Ludhianvi is using the reference to suggest that lovers are prepared to suffer losses greater than those incurred by Nehru in the war.

If you haven’t heard this song yet, you’re totally missing out–take a listen and pay close attention to the glossary below to learn some new and difficult Urdu vocabulary!

–Mr. 55

Lyrics:
jurm-e-ulfat
pe hame.n log sazaa dete hai.n

kaise naadaan hai.n, sholo.n ko havaa dete hai.n

hamse diivaane kahii.n tark-e-vafaa karte hai.n
jaan jaaye ki rahe, baat nibhaa dete hai.n

aap daulat ke taraazuu me.n dilo.n ko tole.n
ham muhabbat se muhabbat ka silaa dete hai.n

takht kya chiiz hai aur laal-o-javaahar kya hai?
ishqvaale to khudaayii bhii luuTaa dete hai.n

hamne dil de bhii diyaa, aur ahad-e-vafaa le bhii liyaa.
aap ab shauq se de le.n jo sazaa dete hai.n

jurm-e-ulfat pe hame.n log sazaa dete hai.n

Glossary
jurm-e-ulfat: offenses in love; sazaa: punishment; naadaan: naive; sholaa: flame; tark-e-vafaa: end of love; jaan: life; nibhaa dena: to fulfill; daulat: wealth; taraazuu: scales; silaah denaa: to respond; takht: throne; laal-o-javaahar: red jewels, rubies; ishqvaale: lovers; khudaayii: godliness, divinity; luuTaa denaa: to sacrifice; ahad-e-vafaa: vow of loyalty; shauq se: with pleasure

Rough Translation
People punish me for the offenses I have committed in love
How naive they must be, for they are only adding air to a burning flame.

Elsewhere, people crazier than I put an end to their love.
Whether I live or die, I will remain faithful to my word.

You may weigh hearts on scales of wealth,
But I respond to love with love.

What is the value of thrones and rubies?
Lovers can sacrifice even divinity.

I have already given my heart and taken a vow of loyalty.
Now, with pleasure, you may deliver my punishment.

People punish me for the offenses I have committed in love.