Paar Chanaa De

Sohni Mahiwal is a tragic love story of Punjab. Sohni’s father was a potter and she used to help her father decorate pots. They used to live in Gujarat, Punjab near the banks of river Chenab. This place was part of a trade route and one day an Uzbek trader Izzat Baig came to Gujarat for business. Sohni and Baig fell in love. Baig never returned back, took a servant’s job in Gujarat and started herding buffaloes, thus came to be known as Mahiwal (buffalo herder).

But it was not acceptable that a girl from Kumhar (potters) community will marry an outsider, so Sohni’s parents immediately married her to a potter. Mahiwal started living as Faqir (hermit) across Chenab river from Sohni’s in-laws’ home.

In night, when everyone was asleep Mahiwal would come to riverside and Sohni would swim across with the help of a baked inverted pot to meet her lover.

Rumours of Sohni-Mahiwal’s meetings started spreading. One day, Sohni’s sister-in-law replaced the baked pot with an unbaked clay pot. This beautiful song from Coke Studio Season 9 (default, Coke Studio Pakistan), Par Chanaa De (Across river Chenab) is the conversation that takes place between Sohni and that unbaked pot when Sohni tries to swim across the river that night.

Ali Hamza from Noori starts the song with these lyrics-

paar chanaan de disse kulli yaar di
ghaṛiya ghaṛiya aa ve ghaṛiya

Sohni: Right there across the Chenab river lies my beloved’s hut
Come on, clay-pot, let’s keep going

raat haneri nadi ṭhaaṭhaan maardi
aṛiye aṛiye haan ni aṛiye

Pot: The night is deathly dark, the river waves surge high around us 
Oh listen, girl, don’t be stubborn

kacchi meri miṭṭi kaccha mera naam ni
haan main na-kaam ni

ho main naakaam ni

I am a pot made of unbaked clay, bound to melt away in the river
Being unsound and unsteady, I cannot but fail in carrying you across

kacchiyaan da hunda kaccha anjaam ni
eh gal ‘aam ni
kacchiyaan te rakkhiye na umeed paar di
aṛiye aṛiye haan ni aṛiye

The unsound can only reach an unsound end
This is a truth known to all
Don’t rely on the unsound to help you reach the shore
Oh listen, girl, don’t be stubborn

The pot expresses his inability to get Sohni across the river to which she replies and Shilpa Roa blows up the stage as she sings —

wekh chhallaan paindiyaan nah chhaḍḍeen dil ve
ajj maheenwaal noon main jaana mil ve
haan aiho dil ve

Look, the waves are splashing higher and higher, but don’t lose heart
I must go to meet Mahiwal this night at any cost
Yes, my heart insists on going

The extent to which she’s ready to go to meet her lover is very evident in next line which pours your heart out when rendered by Shilpa Rao so exquisitely in the song-

yaar noon milegi ajj laash yaar di
ghaṛiya ghaṛiya aa ve ghaṛiya

Tonight, a lover will be greeted with the corpse of his beloved
Come on, clay-pot, let’s keep going

Then, Ali Noor takes up the lead vocals and gives voice to the ultimate invocation in climax

phaṛ pallaṛa
phaṛ pallaṛa pakke murshad da jehṛa tainoon paar lagaawe
jihṛa tainoon paar lagaawe
jehṛa tainoon paar lagaawe

Hold firmly to…
Hold firmly to the sound guide who will take you safely to the shore
… who will take you safely to the shore
O clay-pot
… who will take you safely to the shore

Evidently the pot and Sohni sink in the river that night. When Mahiwal watches this from the other shore, he too jumps in the river and drowns; thus Sohni and Mahiwal reunite in death.

Lucky are those who find love in life and those are luckier who don’t see anything else but love in their lives.

Here you go, thank me later :)