Pal bhar ko thehro toh zara
Dil se laga ke bas ik dafa ve
Dene do gudiyon ko dua
O Re Kaharo describes the harsh realities of prostitution. Begum Jaan talks directly to the palanquin bearers.
Asking them to keep the palanquin down at least for a moment. Everyday these women dress up and fulfil the desires of numerous men.
She wants to embrace the brides (prostitutes) for once, whom she describes as her dolls. Just for once, she wishes to give them her blessings before they go to work.
WORD- Kaharo: Palanquin bearers, Doli: Palanquin, Pal: Moment, Gudiyan: Dolls.
Chudiya bikhar ke
Chunri mein chehke
Tera kajra ho kara Gajra ho pyara
Angna tera mehke
The red dots on their forehead after being cleaned, and their bangles after scattering, now lay around on their scarves. Her kohl is dark, her floral bracelet is lovely. Her courtyard is filled with fragrances.
WORD- Bindiya: Dots on forehead, Nikharna: Clean, Chudiyan: Bangles, Kajra: Kohl, Gajra: Floral bracelet.
Piyara joh choome
Tan man yeh damke
Tohe aanch na aaye
Laaj na jaaye ang ang yeh chamke
Begum Jaan hopes that their heart dances with joy when their beloved kisses her. Her body and mind both glow, but she doesn’t receive even an ounce of warmth. No one wishes to know how Begum Jaan and her companions feel.
It’s a thankless profession. This love is superficial, they’re prostitutes. Her body shines through but there is never any sense of decency in this profession.
WORD- Jiyara: Heart, Jhoomna: Dance, Damke: Shine, Laaj: Sense of decency, Aanch – Warmth.
Takiye pe tere taare bichhaye
Chaand yeh tere liye thumriyan gaaye
Khidki pe teri raat ki rani
Murthiyan leke lori sunaaye
So ja so ja gudiya so ja
Ankhiyon se tu ojhal ho ja
Their ropes of hope have left, no one wishes to marry them now. There is no shade now. On her pillow, she spreads stars. A reference to how she makes the men who come to her, dream.
This moon sings for her, a variety of songs. On her window, the queen of the night stands with idols in her arms and sings lullabies.
Begum Jaan asks her dolls to sleep, to vanish from the world’s eyes for the night. For tomorrow will bring more pain.
WORD- Takiya: Pillow, Thumriyan: A variety of songs, Murthiyan: Idols, Lori: Lullaby, Ojhal: Out of sight.
Pal bhar ko thehro toh zara
Neend yeh aadhi sapna yeh aadha
Poora to hone do zara
Begum Jaan asks the morning to not wake up her companions yet, hoping that it will stop for at least a moment. Their sleep is incomplete and so is their dreams.
She asks the morning to at least let them complete dreaming. For when they wake up, reality will hit them hard. Such is their profession. When the morning arrives, all their dreams vanish.
WORD- Neend: Sleep, Sapna: Dream, Subah – Morning.
Ek ek karke utarenge gehne
Dehti hun tujhko jo nazre churake
Chunri duaon ki yeh rakhna tu pehne
The earrings, jewellery on their forehead, and nose pins: one by one all the ornaments will be removed. Once the night ends.
When the eyes of the outside world don’t look, Begum Jaan blesses these women and asks them to keep wearing the scarves that she gifted them, a token of her prayers.
WORD- Jhumka: Earrings, Jhoomar: Jewellery for forehead, Gehne: Ornaments
Pal bhar bhi thehro ab nahi
Na hai balaayein na hai duaaen
Dene ko hai ab kuchh nahi
She calls out to the Palanquin bearers once again, and asks them to lift the palanquin. Unlike the first verse, Begum Jaan doesn’t want them to stop even for a moment now.
The morning has arrived and they have desires of numerous men to fulfil. This is how they earn their livelihood.
Neither misfortunes, nor prayers, she has nothing left to give away now. This is a thankless profession and these women have experienced it all.
WORD- Balaayein: Misfortunes, Duaaen: Prayers