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Main Dekhoon To Sahi Duniya Tumhe Kaise Sataati Hai

June 15, 2022 | By

Tum apna ranj-o-gham is a song that breaks the mould, creating a defining moment in the portrayal of women in our films. Shirish Waghmode explores the immortal song written by Sahir from a woman’s perspective.

Main Dekhoon To Sahi Shagoon (1964)

Traditionally, the man had been the pillar of strength in society. He was known as the builder, preserver and protector of all who are part of his life. Very rarely, and only in some matriarchal systems, women were at the head and men did their bidding. But these were exceptions. Typically, men have been believed to be stronger than women, they have no weakness so they need no support, least of all from the women around them!

But slowly the picture started changing. As more and more women stepped out of home to establish their own identity in society, they started realising their own strength. The latent powers which lay smothered for centuries, had now started to surface. And they started moving boldly and successfully into those arenas which, for long, had been the preserves of men alone. One such woman speaks out in this song with care in her heart and courage in her words (written by Sahir Ludhianvi). This time the roles are reversed –

तुम अपना रंज-ओ-ग़म, अपनी परेशानी मुझे दे दो,
तुम्हें ग़म की क़सम, इस दिल की वीरानी मुझे दे दो !

(Tum apna ranj-o-gham, apni pareshani mujhe de do
Tumhe gham ki qasam, is dil ki veerani mujhe de do)

kanwaljeet shagoon 1964

The man is in the throes of depression. Some failure, some setback, has drained him of his self-belief and plunged him into the depths of despair. It’s a strange, painful sight and she reaches out to him hesitantly at first –

ये माना मैं किसी, क़ाबिल नहीं हूँ, इन निगाहों में
बुरा क्या है अगर, ये दुख ये हैरानी मुझे दे दो !

(Yeh maana main kisi qaabil nahin hoon, in nigahon mein
Bura kya hai agar, yeh dukh yeh hairaani mujhe de do)

She knows he doesn’t think very highly of her, she doesn’t inspire much confidence in his eyes, so she doesn’t offer a solution. She offers him a shoulder to lean on, where he can rest his weary self. And when she senses his reluctance, his unease, she changes her approach, she acquires the facet of a Durga when she says –

मैं देखूँ तो सही, दुनिया तुम्हें कैसे सताती है
कोई दिन के लिये, अपनी निगहबानी मुझे दे दो

(Main dekhoon to sahi, duniya tumhe kaise sataati hai
Koi din ke liye, apni nigehbaani mujhe de do)

She is defiant, she has thrown caution to the winds. She throws a challenge. I don’t recollect any woman in Hindi films ever uttering this kind of a Call to Arms. It’s like staring defiantly into the eyes of the oppressor – with a protective arm around your beloved – only this time, the protected has become the protector – the sheep has turned into the shepherd.

A little later, she realizes he has not given her the right to do what she has set out to do. Her love is unrequited, and she mellows her tone – knowing that the chosen one is someone else and she is left to nurse her wounds of rejection. But even then, she doesn’t give up and with a last summoning up of hope, she pleads with him –

वो दिल जो मैने मांगा था मगर गैरों ने पाया
बड़ी शै है अगर, उसकी पशेमानी मुझे दे दो

(who dil jo maine maanga thha magar gairon ne paaya
Badi shai hai agar, uski pashemaani mujhe de do)

It is the last frantic, fluttering of wings of a bird which has been stranded mid-sea.

But this song stands out for breaking the mould. It is revolutionary in its own humble way. In its plaintive, pleading tone resides a faith in her own abilities, a resurgent confidence that stems from both, her self-belief and her love. It’s a war cry for woman – the new woman who can fight her own battles and take care of her own by breaking the shackles of tradition – and taking courage in both hands.

मैं देखूँ तो सही, दुनिया तुम्हें कैसे सताती है

(Main dekhoon to sahi, duniya tumhe kaise sataati hai)

These nine words marks the stepping out in films, the defining moment in the portrayal of women in our films. It is the moment when the caged tigress takes a first tentative step, out of the cage, tests the ground and let’s out a muted, hesitant roar. It is a clarion call to women to claim their position of not just equality but pride and decisiveness, that they enjoy today.

If you remember Oliver Twist saying to his tormentor, Mr. Fagin – “Please, Sir, may I have some more.” If you remember Martin Luther King declaring “I have a Dream”. If you remember Rani Laxmibai’s defiant “Meri Jhansi nahin doongi” – you ought to remember the woman who came out and said –

मैं देखूँ तो सही, दुनिया तुम्हें कैसे सताती है

(Main dekhoon to sahi, duniya tumhe kaise sataati hai)

It ranks right up there.

Written by Sahir Ludhianvi
Music composed by Khayyam
Sung by Jagjit Kaur
Film Shagoon (1964)

Click here: Tum apna ranj-o-gham, apni pareshani mujhe de do or click on the picture below to go to YouTube to play the song.

tum apna ranjo gham shagoon


More to read

Tasveer Teri Dil Mera Behla Na Sakegi

Lata Ji: Making An Everyday Difference to My Life

Peerless Lata

Songs of My Life – Yeh Dil Na Hota Bechara

Shirish Waghmode is a member of the family that ran the music store, Maharashtra Watch & Gramophone Co, Dadar(W), Mumbai for a record 91 years! From 78 RPM to EPs and then to LPs and then from cassettes to CDs & DVDs, they have been witness to every milestone that technology wrought. Shirish is passionate about Marathi, Hindi and English music in equal measure and has been a public speaking coach and a compere (two shows of Jagjit Singh being the crowning glory). He enjoys writing about music.
All Posts of Shirish Waghmode

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“Creativity is as important now in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status.” ― Ken Robinson