Hindi, Urdu: dhiire chal ... / ke dhiire chal

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Senior Member
Castellano de Argentina

In the beautiful song "dhiire chal ai bhiigii havaa", from the 1961 Indian movie "Boyfriend" the male protagonist (Shammi Kapoor) sings with Elvis-esque moves while the female protagonist (Madhubala) pretends to be asleep.

Throughout the song, he asks different elements of nature not to disturb her sleep.

The chorus goes:

dhiire chal, dhiire chal, ai bhiigii havaa
kih mere bulbul kii hai niiNd javaan
kih kahiiN laage na(h) kisii kii use badnazar
kih miiThe sapnoN meN khoii hai vo bexabar

and it is repeated several times, but with one subtle difference:
all choruses except the first, start with "ke", i.e:

ke dhiire chal, dhiire chal ...

Do those subsequent "ke"s have any special significance?
Maybe the first usage of the "chal"s is a true imperative (wind, blow softly!) and the rest are absolutives (having blown softly)?
Or the "ke"s are simply some common poetry device like "jii" or "are", and I am reading too much into this?

Thanks in advance for any hint.
  • Jashn

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Hmmm...I'm not familiar with the song, but to me, it comes across as marking the beginning of subsequent clauses connected to the opening clause (' dhiire chal, dhiire chal, ai bhiigii havaa'). It is interesting, though, I'm curious to hear what everyone says.


    Senior Member
    The keh at the beginning of each subsequent line is used to indicate reasons why the person is requesting the bhiigii hawaa' to dhiire chal in the first line.

    Literary Urdu example:

    گئے دنوں کی لاش پر پڑے رہو گے کب تلک
    الم کشو اُٹھو کہ آفتاب سر پہ آ گیا

    ناصر کاظمی


    Senior Member
    @Alfaaz jii, I think the OP is talking about the "keh" at the beginning of subsequent "dheere chal, dheere chal", not the "keh" in front of lines such as "mere bulbul ...".

    @MonsieurGonzalito jii, those subsequent "keh" at the beginning of "dheere chal, dheere chal" do not really mean anything except serving the function of a comma or "and", basically just sewing everything up - something like what @Jashn said. Nothing more to it.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Unfortunately, two most important people associated with this song, have not been mentioned. Hasrat Jaipuri, an Urdu poet and Muhammad Rafi, perhaps the greatest male singer from the Subcontinent.

    In another thread, the use of "kih" as in the sentence "vuh din kih jis kaa va3dah hai" was discussed. This was explained as a borrowing of the Persian usage.

    "kih" in Persian has a multitude of meanings and some of these, if not all, are incorporated into Urdu, especially Urdu poetry. As Alfaaz SaaHib has explained the "kih" in the second, third and fourth lines all mean "because"/"for"....

    Tread gently, tread gently, O moist breeze
    For my Nightingale is in a very deep sleep
    For, lest someone's evil eye be cast on her
    For she is oblivious and lost in dreams sweet

    The subsequent "kih" means "so"..

    So, tread gently, tread gently.......
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    ... Muhammad Rafi, perhaps the greatest male singer from the Subcontinent.
    That's a bit of a tall claim even if your personal preference is for Rafi, Qureshpor jii, considering that I don't think you would have heard all the male singers in all the languages of the Indian subcontinent, even all the well-established ones.

    The subsequent "kih" means "so"..

    So, tread gently, tread gently.......


    Senior Member
    English, Hindustani
    ...and the rest are absolutives (having blown softly)?
    Just a minor addition, to address this point of your question: while Hindi-Urdu's word order is relatively free, it's scrambling rule does not permit completely arbitrary scrambling. A lot's been written about how precisely to formalize the constraints on Hindi-Urdu's scrambling (eg, Ayesha Kidwai's 2000 book "XP-Adjunction..."), but the main point that's relevant here is that the kar/ke of the absolutive/conjunctive is pretty rigidly attached to the stem* --- the scrambling rule doesn't reach deep enough into the grammatical tree to displace the conjunctive affix kar/ke away from the verb stem and to the beginning of the sentence (ie, dhiire chalke would not turn into *ke dhiire chal).

    *: Not only can it not be displaced by scrambling... Just about the only thing that I can think of right now that might intervene between the stem and the kar/ke of the conjunctive is the particle hii, but I'm not really even sure I like that. There do appear a few instances on the internet of sentences such as ?wo kaam puuraa kar hii ke choRegaa, but wo kaam puuraa karke hii choRegaa sounds quite a bit more natural to me at least.
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