You're browsing: Home / Audio songs / Ganga Ki Mauj, Jamna Ka Dhara

Ganga Ki Mauj, Jamna Ka Dhara

This article is written by Mr. Anwar-ul-Haque

Mohd Rafi with Naushad Ali

Mohd Rafi with Naushad Ali

Urdu literature, specially the Urdu poetry, is very deep and rich; in fact it is one of the richest literatures of our region. Considering that Urdu language is a fairly new comer in comparison of other languages, its richness is astonishing. Look at the other languages of our region: Persian, Sanskrit, Panjabi, Sindhi, Bengali etc. All these languages are very old as compared to Urdu; still Urdu literature is rich enough to compete with the literatures of these languages.

Actually the reason is quite simple; as Urdu is a combination of different languages, it acquired different qualities of these languages. For example, it obtained the deepness and philosophical touch from Persian and on the other hand, it received the sweetness and softness from Sanskrit. Likewise it obtained words from almost all the other languages of this region that too enhanced its depth and richness.

Let us experience, what we have said so far. In the year of 1952, a film known as Baiju Bawra was released and it changed the entire musical scenario of the Indian film industry. All the songs were very classical in nature but melodious enough that they are still popular in our sub-continent despite the elapse of more than half a century. This film contained a song which is known as one of the all time best film songs: O dunya ke rakhwale. However, we are going to discuss another song of this film which is also a block buster and trend setter of its genre.

The situation of this song in the film was that the hero (Bharat Bhoshan) wants to bring back his angry beloved who is going away from him in a boat. The hero is standing at the bank of a river (or lake) and start singing this song to mollify her to return back. Keep this situation in mind and now listen the lyrics of the song.

Tu Ganga ki mauj, main jamna ka dhara

Ho rahe ga milan ye hamara tumhara


Just take a moment and consider the initial verse (sher) in the light of film situation depicted above. The heroine is sailing through a river using a boat; the poet made full use of this situation and provided us an immortal verse. He did not only relate the river shown in the film with two well-known Indian rivers, but also colligated the heroine as mauj and hero as dhara. Now here comes the uniqueness of Urdu. The word mauj is Persian based (originally came from Arabic) whereas dhara is Sanskrit based and Urdu is the only language that has ability to combine these two words, as both these words are not stranger for this language. Therefore, this verse can only be written in Urdu, neither in Persian nor in Sanskrit. Furthermore, the word mauj is feminine and dhara is masculine; hence both these words well fit to the heroine and hero respectively.

Who can conceive and be able to write this classical piece of verse instead of a pupil of legendary Urdu poet Ustad Jigar Muradabadi? Yes! He is none other than Shakil Bedayuni (original name Shakil Ahmed Qadri), who himself is a legendary poet of Indian film industry. He did not stop at initial verse and continued his mastery in next stanzas of this song.

There are well documented properties (figures of speech or crafts) in Urdu poetry through which the beauty of any verse can be checked and measured. These properties are known as Sanatain. One important property (sanat) amongst these is known as Riyat-e-lafzi-o-manvi (or Mara’at-un-Nazeer); which means to use words, idioms or dialect related to the theme of the poetry. Not only the initial verse, but this whole song is the best example of this property. Just check out all the words and idioms used in the song and you will amaze how well Shakil used this property to create a master piece.

Let us see what Shakil said in his lyrics in simplest form (ignoring the idioms used and just taking the meanings of lyrics). In first stanza, he said: “You and I are made for each other. You can’t spend life without me and you can’t reach to your destination without me. Hence, please come towards me.” And in second stanza, he said: “Our relations can’t be broken. If you will hide from me, I will not allow you to do that and will search you anyway. I will change your anger into calmness or tranquility.” This is the loose translation of what Shakil said in two stanzas of the song to appease the heroine for come back. And look how majestically he used well-known idioms and metaphors that consist of words related with water and convey the above-mentioned message in most effective manner. Almost all the words, related to the water, are used by Shakil here: Ganga, Jamna, mauj, dhara, sagar, manjdhaar, kashti, nayya, patwaar, khiwayya, bhanwar, toofan and kinara.

And above all, the overall language used by Shakil is very simple and can be understandable by any common man. This is not an easy job considering the fact that he used a literary property (mentioned above), which has tendency to make the poetry difficult and complex.

The great lyrics require an equally beautiful composition for creation of an immortal song. Actually the biggest hand in popularization of any song is its composition. If composition is melodious and sweet, the song is easily memorized by masses making it popular. For this particular song, the composition is so melodious that this song really became a cliché for these types of songs, despite the fact that it is composed on Raga Bhairween. The composer of this song is, again, none other than the great Naushad. This particular song exactly shows why he was given the title of Mausiqar-e-Azam (the biggest music director or composer).

Naushad did not rely solely on the lyrics of poet in this particular song; he added a complete line before the actual lyrics of the song. This line consists of the words Ho ji ho along with a long taan. This was a unique experience, as it was not envisaged earlier by any composer. This line was very natural considering the song situation; as the hero was trying to bring back his beloved and this line is the initial calling for her. The inclusion of this initial line not only enhanced the effects of beautiful lyrics but it became literally the most popular line ever created by a composer. Now the main face of this song is this line; means whenever you recall this song, the first words or first Sur that will come in your mind will be this classical ho ji ho.

Mohd Rafi with Naushad Ali

Mohd Rafi with Naushad Ali

The next technique which was used by Naushad is the enhancement of second line of initial verse according to his composition. This technique was also used by other composers of that era, but Naushad was probably the first to initiate this and he used the same in his many compositions. The best ever example of use of this technique is again in this song. The simple line Ho rahe ga milan ye hamara tumhara expanded according to the composition and became Ho rahe ga milan ye hamara, ho… hamara, tumhara rahe ga, milan ye hamara tumhara. Just listen this line and you will agree that this is the true mastery of this genius musician.

He made the tune both in high and low pitches. There are five lines in each stanza. He made the composition of first two lines and the last line in low notes; whereas the third and fourth lines are in high notes. This unusual arrangement of notes charismatically enhanced the effect of this song, which one can easily feel by carefully listening to the song.

And the orchestra played between mukhda and each antara is also awesome. Just listen it and feel the joy, comfort and pleasure which this immortal music can provide to you. This music has now became classic and you will immediately recognize this song by just listening any little part of its music. This mastery and brilliance is known as Naushad.

The great lyrics and brilliant composition are in your hands; now what is the next? Yes, a suitable voice which can convey the message effectively. But what about a voice that has a special ability to even enhance the effectiveness of the message. There is only one such voice and Naushad used that voice. Actually all the songs of this film were composed by Naushad keeping that voice in the mind. Previously, most of his compositions were in low notes (especially those which were used on heroes); the reason was simple, he had voices which could not sing in high notes well. But now as he had found such voice, he made compositions of this film in high pitches which were also the demand of situations of those songs. And that voice is none other than that of great Muhammad Rafi.

Rafi Sahab put his deep impact right from the start of the song through initial alaap and the starting line of song: Akeli mat jayyo Radhe Jamna ke deer. Can you imagine this alaap and initial line with so much effectiveness in any other voice of that era? Just consider each and every male singer of that time and imagine his voice singing this alaap and that line. You will come to the definite conclusion that no other voice had the ability to sing like Rafi Sahab sang it. Here a special ability of Rafi Sahab’s voice worked; the ability to sing brilliantly and with such ease with minimal music in back ground.

Also listen and feel the internal pain in voice of Rafi Sahab while singing this initial taan and staring line. This pain is somewhat different from the one exists in his other full-fledged sad songs. The pain in this particular song is not a full throttle of sorrow – it is not a huge wave of grief in an ocean, it is like a small and calm whirlpool of unhappiness that produces when one throws a small stone in a lake. Listen how Rafi Sahab sang the word Radhe and you can feel what has been just discussed.

The transitions of Rafi Sahab’s voice from low to high notes and then back to low notes are awesome. As discussed above, the first two lines and the last line of each stanza are in low notes; whereas the third and fourth lines are composed in high notes. Rafi Sahab did not increase his pitch suddenly while singing the third and fourth lines; instead he gradually and steadily boosted his voice which leaves a pleasant impression on the listener. The gradual increase ends at last words of third and fourth lines which are at much higher notes; here Rafi Sahab used his great ability of singing effortlessly in high pitches and sang beautifully. As an example, listen to the last parts of words nayya or khiwayya from third and fourth lines respectively of first stanza. These are just flawless and treat to listen.

Above all, Rafi Sahab sang this song with so much ease that every listener can think that this song is very easy to sing; but as with other tunes of Naushad, this composition too is not so much easy to sing. Actually Rafi Sahab made it look very simple and easy; this is again the greatness of Rafi Sahab. We did not hear the voice of Baiju; but by listening to the songs of Rafi Sahab, we can say that he is the original and actual Baiju (or even Taan Sen) of the music.

There were two most difficult compositions in this film; one was O dunya ke rakhwale and the other was Mann tarhpat Hari darshan ko aaj. The first one was in extreme high notes and the other was in extreme classical style. In the presence of both these block buster songs, the song under discussion could not get attention of critics. All the critics praised the abilities of Rafi Sahab’s voice in those two songs considerably and rightly so, but this song was somewhat ignored by the critics. Even now, when we talk about Baiju Bawra, we consider and present only those two songs as the masterpieces of Rafi Sahab’s singing ability. The reason is quite simple; those two songs were enough extra ordinary that they overshadowed the other songs of the films. If the song under discussion would be part of some other film, it would gain definitely more attention that it got now.

But this song got his due attention from masses and got popular very much, as mentioned earlier in the article. The phrases used by Shakil, Ganga ki mauj and Jamna ka dhara, are themselves now used as idioms; the Ho ji ho crafted by Naushad is a land mark of the film songs and the voice of Rafi Sahab is standing like an unreachable crest in the world of singing. This was the team of three giants of Indian Film Industry; the team who created pure gold and presented irremovable pleasures to all the listeners.

Proclaim your love for Rafi Sahab on twitter

Post your Comment on this Blog

If your comments hit the moderation queue, comments will be moderated within 7 days.

25 Blog Comments to “Ganga Ki Mauj, Jamna Ka Dhara”

  1. Satya says:

    A fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable critique of this song. Thank your for this!

    There is one other tid-bit I would like to add here. As a kid, back in the 70’s I was listening to a songs program on Vivid Bharati, sometime in the night. During that program, the anchor was interviewing a guest about this song. I don’t remember who the guest was, but he was definitely involved in the creation of the lyrics/song. The discussion was on the line “ganga ki mauj mein jamuna ka dhara”- whether it should be “jamuna *ki* dhara” as it was grammatically correct (both ganga and jamuna are feminine)! However, it was agreed that “jamuna ka dhara” flowed better than “jamuna ki dhara” and so, decided to use “jamuna ka dhara” even if it was not grammatically correct.

    I think the word “ki” or “ka” goes with the subject(object?) which here is “ganga/jamuna/nadiya” which are all feminine, and so it should be “ki” and not “ka”.

    Even if the linking word “ki/ka” depends on the last word, then “dhara” is also feminine (and not masculine as stated in the article above). For example, you would say “nadiya ki dhara” and not “nadiya ka dhara”. Again, if you interchange the two river names in the line “tu jamuna ki mauj mein ganga ka dhara” you will immediately notice that “ganga ka dhara” is so incorrect!

    Well, I may be totally wrong on the grammar aspects, but I distinctly remember this fascinating discussion even after all these years!

  2. Shah Jalal says:

    My mother tongue is neither urdu nor hindi. I speak only Bengali like most other Bangladeshi people. But it is for these two figures that I wish I understood these two languages well. I am speaking of Rafi and Lata. However, not understanding those languages well hardly has anything to do with my heart being unspeakably agitated and stirred,sometime with grief and sometime with happiness,at the golden voices of these two. For the last twenty years i have been listening in to Rafi’s O Duniya Ke Rakhwale at least once a week, and the same with Lata’s Bachpan Ki Mohabbat ko. I simply think without these two voices i will find the all-blissful heaven wanting.

    And about this Mr. Anwar? I am dying to know who that guy is! His was one of the handful of best reviews I have ever seen on any topic.

    Shah Jalal

  3. Er arif ayaz khan says:

    Dear anwar sahab…congratulation for bringing us such a delightful article thats show blended nature of urdu and hindi….i love to read ur articles…at last i love all of the songs of mohd. Rafi sahab.

  4. Ali Rashid says:

    Brilliant article Anwar-ul-Haque-saab !.

    Thanks for a beautiful presentation on this wonderful song, I enjoyed reading every part of your analysis.

    Naushad and Rafi produced outstanding songs, and were an excellent combination.

  5. toufique says:

    that version is played in the background when the movie ends. its only one stanza i guess. its sung by rafi n lata jointly. the version that is mostly known is also a duet – lata has two lines. but there was never a version where rafi sings a stanza and then lata n rafi sings the second stanza jointly.

  6. Anwar-ul-Haque says:

    ref. post 19:

    Amazing news for me (and I think for most of us) regarding another version of this particular song. Great information from Mr. J. K. Bhagchandani. Any further information from any one will be welcomed by all of us.

    Thanks and best regards.


  7. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    I remember during my childhood days, another version of this song used to be played on radio. The second para (Bhala kaise tootenge bandhan ye dil ke………) of the song was sung jointly by Rafi and Lata in that version. But later the present version (I don’t remember when) with second para also in solo voice of Rafi replaced the earlier. Has anyone information on the ealier version of the song? I have searched that at may places but that seems to have got extinct.
    The song is so great that there are not enough words to describe it and this review by Anwar-ul-Haque saab is absolutely brilliant… .. fitting to the gigentic stature of the song. Well done Anwar saab. Hats off to you. Keep writing. There are innumerable such gems sung by Rafi saab.

  8. Siva says:

    One trivia about this song-Tu ganga ki mauj–towards the end of the song there is just a line sung by , I presume, Lata ji. Similarly in the song “tum jo mil gaye ho” also towards the end there is just one line which again I presume is by Lata. I am curious to know whether this is Lata and if so how come in both these songs her name is not mentioned in the credits.

  9. Priya sanyal says:

    well said nasreen ji “His voice was more than golden, it was as if the Almighty had put some magic in that voice with his own hands. Every song he sang he made it sound simple”..pure heart of rafi ji n his divine soul is happiest to have real admirer like u….plz continue ur post …n also Urdu is great language,,for it always talks about respect n love….

    Mr. Anwar-ul-Haque ji,,namaste to u….n thank u for such a nice tribute…..

  10. abid khalil says:

    STUNNED……………………….. NO WORDS……………………………….ULTIMATE
    SUPERB………………………………………………… NO COMMENTS…………………..
    SPEECHLESS…………………………………………………….SIMPLY THE GREATEST….

  11. Nasreen says:

    Salaam Anwar Sahab

    I have just read your article and am awed by the way you have pointed out all the nuances of the song – and have examined it so thoroughly, giving each and every contributor to the song his deserved due.
    Also, the urdu language – is there any language like it? It is pure beauty – one just has to listen to Dilip Kumar speak to know how sweet urdu can sound. I am jealous of all those who know the language and wish I could find a teacher who could teach it to me very well. Urdu is poetic, romantic and superb – because of its rich mix of words from different languages and I am so grateful to you for pointing out this important fact, the difference that this language makes in the overall beauty of a song.
    Lastly, and most importantly, the voice of Rafi Sahab. Which is actually indescribable. You said correctly that he sang with such ease. When you see his pictures it is hard to imagine that a person who looked so simple with that sweet smile could bring out such complicated melody from his voice. His voice was more than golden, it was as if the Almighty had put some magic in that voice with his own hands. Every song he sang he made it sound simple.

    One other song that comes to my mind “Tum jo mil gaye ho, to yeh lagta hai, ke jahaan mil gaya hai”. If you listen to this song, you will see that it is also a very difficult song to sing because the music is fast but the voice is slow. The tendency of the singer would have been to sing it faster. But it wasn’t any other singer. I don’t think any other singer could have sung it the way Rafi Sahab did.

    Well, Anwar Sahab thank you again for talking about this great language and giving us some insight into it.

  12. Gan Sharma says:

    Dear Anwar saab,

    I just read this posting, and I must agree with many here that this much more than a review – it IS a thesis. I enjoyed every line, and I will cherish it as one of the best tributes to Naushad / Shakeel / Rafi that I’ve had the privilege of reading.


  13. Bina says:

    Anwar Saab:

    You have done fine justice to a classic song from Baiju Bawra, which as you have said, did not receive much critical acclaim, overshadowed as it was by the other two blockbusters from the movie…but what a song!! Its beauty lay in the way in which it was conceptualized, sprinkled with a generous amount of Meena Kumari’s panic, anger and coyness, the manane-waala clarion call of Baiju and the teasing presence of the crowd ..all in all the song is an extremely sweet one..its a personal favorite of my family..a treat to watch for its sparkling lightness and to listen to Rafi Saab..

    Yeh gaana to lagbagh poora Hindi mein hi hai na kyonki situation toh bilkul UP ke ek gaanv ka hai.. Par Shakeel ne ise likha hai toh zaahir hai thoda bahut Urdu ka essence aa jaata hai, jise aapne badi acchhe tareeke se samjhaya hai…yeh baat bahut achhi lagi ke aapne Urdu ke baare mein inti jaankari dee hai..aap baut accha likhte hain aur khoob informatiion bhi dete hain..


  14. Anwar-ul-Haque says:

    Dear All Respected Rafians,

    Many thanks for appreciating the article. I have no words to express my gratitude for all of you. Your praise is the main drive for me to write more.

    Many thanks and best regards.


  15. BINU NAIR says:


    LONG LIVE THE RAFI ERA OF immortal songs…………..

  16. vinod mehru says:

    anwar saheb,
    mere pass words nahin hai ki main apni feeling express kar sakoon. 1952 yaani ke mere janam ke pahle ki film hai, polydor/ music india aur abhi universal music co. ne ek 2 cd wala album release kiya tha jiska title Live arround the world at royal albert hall london ka programme tha usme ek gaana jo aapne mention kiya hai O duniya ke rakhwale usme ki ek line mahal udas aur galiyan sooni is aadhi line ko rafi saheb koi 10 alag alag andaz mein pesh kiya hai, aur yeh portion batata hai ki rafi saheb sachmuch ke verstile gaane wale the, i give a small tips to all new comers (who approached me ) may be male or female singer ho dono ke liye ek misaal hai ki rafi saheb ne kitni variety di hai low picth se high pich tak . taarif ke liye words nahin hai . baiju bawra ka jikar hua hai to us gaane ko kyon bhool jate hai door koi gaaye mein lajawab dholak ka istemaal kiya naushaad saheb ne, yehi dholak ko O p nayyar saheb ne bhi istemaal kiya hai ek musafir ek hasseena ke liye. god bless

  17. Prakash shah says:


    Sanskrit and urdu are sweetest among the language.

    Shakil and sahir had good command on both,They both had givan may hindu bhajan which are all time memorable shows their caliber in hindu philosophy.example- man re tu kahe na dhir dhare,and mohe pangat pe nand laal chhed gayo re.

  18. toufique says:

    This is one of the most underrated songs of the film (compared to ‘man tarpat’ or ‘o duniya ke’ or ‘mohe bhul gaye’). However, when the movie was released, this became the most popular song of the movie. naushad got the first and his only filmfare award for this score. also, in the filmfare program, rafi sang this song.

  19. Utthara says:

    Anwar sahab, this one of the best reviews posted on this website. A very educative piece. You have told us about the origin of the language, about the styles of urdu poetry and much more. You have brought out so many fascinating aspects of this great the river metaphor in the song, about the enhancement of the second line in the initial verse, the ho ji ho alaap. I read this very informative article at least twice. there was so much to learn. Urdu is a fascinating language and very musical and rich.

    The magic of Shakil, Naushad and Rafi has made this song immortal. And your write-up is a must-read for everyone.



    Bahut bahut shukriya for a wonderful article.

  20. Padmanabhan NR says:

    Aadaab arz hai Anwar saahab,

    This should rank as one of the best pieces written in this forum on urdu poetry and related songs. You have painstakingly and very effectively brought out this facet of urdu language – drawing liberally from other languages and giving them a shape of its own. Having been in and around Lucknow for close to 45 years, I think I am qualified to make this observation. In all humility.

    One reason why Urdu poetry stands out is its ability to incorporate tarannum ( tune ) even when it is still in the writing stage. That is why we find so many ghazals tuned to melodious tunes making the language itself a medium of soulful lyrical exression. We do not have to go farther than observe this aspect than listening to this song. A very simple, understandable and coherent set of words giving life to one another in a coherent manner.

    It is futile to even attempt to describe your commentary, Anwar saahab. You have been brilliant in highlighting the beauty of the song for all of us here. As long as connoiseurs like you are in our midst, we will continue to revel in such unforgettable melodies. That two of the other songs got more prominence is hardly marerial. That it is in a class of its own is also acknowledged widely.

    Thanks for sharing your views on this song.

    Padmanabhan NR

    Rafi foundation, Hyderabad Chapter & baar Baar rafi, Bangalore.

  21. achal rangaswamy says:

    anwar ul haq saab, this is not an article. this qualifies to be called a thesis. a work of thorough knowledge and research.

    one quality of rafi saab, apart from those already mentioned so well by you, was his ability to emote the way a particular actor would do. the voice inflection and delivery was such that one could clearly visualize who the hero was. one such song that i can think of easily is – yaad na jaaye beete dinon ki- it had to rajendra kumar. again, in the film benazir shashi kapoor sang “dil mein ek jaane tamanna ne jagah paayee hai”- rafi saab smiling away with his voice to clearly convey the hero’s feelings. i havent seen benazir. but i knew it had to be shashi kapoor for whom rafi saab sang !!!!

    looking forward to read more from you sir

    achal rangaswamy

  22. Khaja Aliuddin,MD says:

    ASA, Anwar-ul-Haq Saheb,
    “Urdu literature, especially the urdu poetry, is very deep and rich; infact it is one of the rechest literature of our region”. I really admire you for this beautiful introduction of our “Piyari zaban Urdu”.
    Of,course your review of this melodious number of the trio, Naushad, Shakeel and Rafi is beyond the imagination. “Bahut khoob”.
    Famous poet Janab Gopal Mithal saheb ne Kya khoob kaha hai:
    “Ham bhi urdu pe naaz karte hain
    Yeh hamari zaban hai piyare”
    With regards to all rafi lovers,
    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin

  23. shrirang nawathe says:

    Anwar shahb,

    What a review..sir …just superb..the words are not enough to express our thoughts for the song and review..You are just masterpiece…tons of thanks for giving us a new dimension to think for the song and you are right that, had it been for any other film , it would have been more hit….
    Please keep coming more reviews from you…

  24. biman baruah says:

    Janab Anwar Sahab
    aapko hamare hartik abhinandaan for a simple & understandable reveiw of a landmark romantic song of HFM which is everlasting. we expect more reveiw of such great song from you in future too.

    with best regards
    biman baruah

  25. Siva says:

    Anwar sahab, you have made us speechless with your masterly review. Although we all might have heard this song thousand times, we never understood the subtle nuances of the rich Urdu literature . Your review has made me listen to this masterpiece in an altogether new perspective.
    A masterpiece of a review of a masterpiece from the unbeatable combination of Naushad-Shakeel-Rafi.
    Thanks a lot–we expect more such reviews from you…

Post your Comment on Facebook

Receive updates in your inbox. Enter your email address:

Other Writeups

Social Collaboration