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Breaking Down Boundaries


What exactly is patriotism?
Is it also just a form of lust for land?
What does a militant fanaticism towards language hide?
Instead of freeing you, do these abstracts immerse you in emotional extremism?
The strong emotions that you feel when you think of your Motherland, Mothertongue
- Do they bind you much more firmly to the dirt of the land? To hatred? To violence?


"Daanah Pah Daanah Da Nana..."

Long before the singers began singing, the beat got me going. This song is written in a language of a small group of people who tend to sheep and goats in a harsh landscape. Akhtar Chanal Zahri is the writer as well as the singer. Born in Balochistan, he grew up belting folk songs in Brahvi, his mothertongue. In Brahvi, he has penned this incredible song, to describe his land, its beauty.

This language may be tribal and harsh, but it blends itself to so much lyrical beauty and is thereby lofty and sweet to me. I have been listening to this song repeatedly, mesmerized by its plain and scintillating beauty.

Being in a constant state of transformation, I have been questioning my own conceptions of popularly held ideas. When I seek an answer, I repeatedly question its validity, moving again and again beyond the boundaries inside which those answers hold their validity. In that way, I have been questioning the reason for sticking to a geography, demarcated by man. I question the demand to be loyal and patriotic to a piece of land. I question the call to display fanatic affinity to a language.

As I listened to Akhtar relate the view of his land, its rivers and hills and mountains to his beloved, it felt as though I was a native of Balochistan, a goatherd who had grown up speaking and singing in Brahvi! I realized that the love for my land, the love for my language has enabled me to merge myself with the true, unspoilt pride and patriotism, the true love of language displayed by anyone; as long as that emotion is untouched by hatred or the thought of violence.

I believe this song will touch you at some level. Watch and enjoy!



دانہ پہ دانہ دا ننا
دوستي لگانے نا ننا
حاجت افک ںنے ٹران ءَ نا
جي جي جي جي سا کنا
سہ کمب مارا پ جا کنا

daanah pah daanah da nana
dosti laggaane na nana
haajat affak nane traan a na
ji ji ji ji sa kana
sehkumb maaraap ja kana


among the multitude of grains (in the world), mine is this grain (you)
(now that) you and I have grown to be friends
we have no need of anything
O live, live, my darling breath
Sehkumb and Marap are my places

جي جي جي جي مندري
بر ہيتس کرک کنتوں اندري
جي جي جي جي سومرو
کپہ خواجہ خدا سے زور

O my gentle, petite ladycome aside with me to talk in privacy
O, my good sir, Soomro (the prince who came between two lovers)
desist, sir, for God is powerful (in retribution)

ji ji ji mandari
bar heets karak kanton andari
ji ji ji ji soomaro
kapah khwaajah khuda se zor


دانہ پہ دانہ دانہ گا
دل برتہ مني دردانہ گا
جي جي جي جي با ترا
تو برتہ ءِ مني ضعيپيں دلا
جي او

daanah pah daanah daanah ga
dil burtah mani durrdaanah ga
ji ji ji ji ba ta ra
tau burtah i mani zaeepain dila
ji o

(among the) multitude of grains, this grain has
this lovely pearl has stolen my heart
may you live long, live long!
you have stolen my fragile heart
live long!

او قلو وطنِ خان ءَ نا
دا تختِ بلوچستان ءَ نا
بر ديرے ارک ددران ءَ نا
نوري ءَ نصير خان ننا
ائے صدخہ وطن کن جان ننا

o qallo watann-i khaan a na
da takht-i balochistaan a na
bar deere urak dudraan a na
noori a naseer khaan nana
ae sadkha watan kin jaan nana

Kalat is our Khan’s country
this is the capital of Balochistan
come and see the water of the Dudran spring
Naseer Khan Noori is our Khan
we devote our lives to our country

ہو کچھي، خراسان واہ واہ واہ
ہربوئي، مرجان واہ واہ واہ
نوري نصير خان واہ واہ واہ
چلتنُ شاشان واہ واہ واہ
مولہُ بولان واہ واہ واہ
راس کوہُ رخشان واہ واہ واہ
کوہِ سليمان واہ واہ واہ
تخت سليمان واہ واہ واہ

ho kachchhi khuraasaan wah wah wah
harboi marjaan wah wah wah
noori naseer khan wah wah wah
chiltano shaashaan wah wah wah
mulao bolaan wah wah wah
raaskoho rakhshaan wah wah wah
koh-i sulemaan wah wah wah
takht sulemaan wah wah wah

Kachhi and Khurasan – oh excellent!!
hills Harboi and Marjan – oh excellent!!
Naseer Khan Noori – oh excellent!!
hills Chiltan and Shashan – oh excellent!!
rivers Mula and Bolan – oh excellent!!
hills Ras Koh and river Rakhshan – oh excellent!!
Mount Sulaiman – oh excellent!!
Peak Sulaiman – oh excellent!!

وادي وادي گھوميں
آ پربت پربت جھوميں
تو خوشبوؤں کا جھوکا
تيرا امرت سا ہے لہجہ
تو دريا موج کنارہ
تجھے ديکھے يہ جگ سارا

waadi waadi ghoomen
aa parbat parbat jhoomen
tu khusbhooon ka jhoka
tera amrat sa hai lahjah
tu darya mauj kinaarah
tujhe dekhe ye jag saara

let’s trip from valley to valley
let’s swing from mountain to mountain
you’re a gust of heady fragrance
your words are like nectar
you’re the sea, the wave and the shore
at you this whole world gazes

تو پھول کنول کا
تو شعر غزل کا
تو جادو تھل کا
تو خواب پنل کا
جي او
جي با ترا

tu phool kanwal ka
tu she’r ghazal ka
tu jaadu thal ka
tu khwaab punnal ka

you are the lotus flower
you are a verse of poetry
you are the magic of the desert
you are the dream of Punnun (the Prince of Kech)

ji o
ji ba ta ra

live long!
may you live long!





دانہ پہ دانہ دانہ گا
دل برتہ مني دردانہ گا
نوں جستہ نکاں پروانہ گا
جي جي جي جي با ترا
تو برتہ ءِ مني ضعيپيں دلا
جي او

daanah pah daanah daanaga
dil burtah mani durrdaanah ga
noon justah nakaan parwaanah ga
ji ji ji ji ba ta ra
tau burtah i mani zaeepain dila
ji o

(among the) multitude of grains, this grain has
this lovely pearl has stolen my heart
now she doesn’t pay heed to her devoted moth
live, live, live, live long
you have stolen my fragile heart
live long!

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