Urdu, Hindi: guNR laakhoN gaaoN

MonsieurGonzalito

Senior Member
Castellano de Argentina
Friends,

The following stanza belongs to the song "Mein" (as in "I") by Meesha Shafi.
It was played in 2018 at the show "Battle of the Bands" [Youtube: kmqQZetm_iE at 1:45]

guNR laakhoN laakhoN gaaoN tere
sadqe maiN jaauuN jaauuN tere
saNbhaale dil to bataauuN tujhe maiN


What does the "guNR laakhoN gaaoN" mean?
(I shall go to) a hundred thousand-fold villages?
That doesn't make much sense.

(The IIR transliteration is mine, so it might be wrong).
Attached are lyrics provided by the singer, who is also the author, in simple Latinized script, which seems to be the only thing available on Internet.

Thanks in advance for any help.
 

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  • littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    I haven't heard the song, but common sense tells that it has to be "guNR" गुण (meaning attributes, usually good qualities, attributes of a person), and "gaauuN tere" (sing). That is, I shall sing of lakhs of your virtues.

    From Caturvedi:
    गुण gūṉ (nm) quality; attribute, property; virtue; merit; chief quality of all existing beings (viz. सत्त्व, रजस्, तमस्); a cord; ~क a multiplier; ~कारक/कारी effective (as ओषधि); beneficial; ~गान a panegyric, encomium; •करना/गाना to chant the praises of, to eulogize, to extol, to narrate the virtues of; ~ग्राहक a connoisseur; •ता appreciation; quality of a connoisseur; ~ज्ञ a connoisseur; appreciator of merit; --त्रय the three guṉas (सत्त्व, रजस् and तमस्); --दोष merits and demerits; merits; ~धर्म property; ~भेदक qualitative; ~वाचक/वाची attributive; ~वान meritorious; possessing good qualities; ~हीन devoid of merit or quality; hence ~हीनता (nf).

    Note the meaning of गुणगान - a panegyric, encomium.

    Meanwhile, both "guNR" and "laakh" are Sanskrit-based words: you could have at least put Hindi before Urdu in the title (given that some people here are so particular about such things).
     

    MonsieurGonzalito

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Argentina
    you could have at least put Hindi before Urdu
    The reasons why I put "Urdu" first are because it is a Pakistani singer in a TV show of that country, and I tought (mistakenly) that it was gaaoN, which, AFAIK, is the Urdu variant for gaaNv.

    AND because some people do tend to get particular about those things, as you point out correctly. :)
     

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    The reasons why I put "Urdu" first are because it is a Pakistani singer in a TV show of that country, and I tought (mistakenly) that it was gaaoN, which, AFAIK, is the Urdu variant for gaaNv.

    AND because some people do tend to get particular about those things, as you point out correctly. :)

    Thanks for explaining your reasons. Meanwhile, the usual Hindi pronunciation is "gaaooN" or "gaaoN": the "v" in any word ending like "gaaNv" automatically leads to the pronunciation "gaaoN" (more examples: "bhaav" is pronounced as "bhaao", "Thaihraav" is pronounced as "Thaihraao"; "paaNv" is pronounced as "paaoN"). The "v" is not supposed to be pronounced: there is nothing Urdu about it!
     

    desi4life

    Senior Member
    English
    In Hindi the spelling is usually “guNR”, while the pronunciation can be “guNR” or “gun” depending on the speaker. In Urdu only “gun” exists. I haven’t heard the song, but since the singer is a Pakistani Urdu speaker, “gun” is probably the pronunciation used.

    “gunaa” is a separate word that overlaps in some meanings with it.
     
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    Alfaaz

    Senior Member
    English
    Entry in Urdu Lughat: گُن گانا
    • Note: As far as Urdu is concerned, the retroflex nuun NR isn't retained in such words of Sanskrit origin. (The sound is present in Punjabi though, where ڻ or نڑ are used to represent it.)
    Relevant thread: Hindi: Pronunciation of final v andy after long vowels
    • greatbear had opinions similar to those presented by littlepond in this thread. However, it was suggested by other forum members that the v versions are also used.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    littlepond Sahib is absolutely right in saying that "guNR" गुण is not an Urdu word but a Hindi one. In Urdu, as Alfaaz SaaHib has indicated, it is "gun" گُن. So, the title ought to be under "Urdu" only, for the following reasons.

    1. The word in Urdu is "gun" گُن and this is how the Pakistani singer is singing it in a recording by Coke Studio Pakistan.

    2. The song is written by the singer Meesha Shafi. I very much doubt if she knows any Hindi at all!

    3. A few izaafat constructions from the song are:

    dil sang-o-xisht, gardish-i-3ishq, qaus-i-quzah, dard-i-firaaq....all typically Urdu formations, used in Urdu poetry.

    4. There is a well known Urdu song "sar jo teraa chakraa'e" from the film "Piyasa" written by the Urdu poet Sahir Ludhiyanvi and sung by the peerless Muhammad Rafi..

    sun sun sun, are beTaa sun
    is chaNpii meN baRe baRe gun

    Hindi "guNR" would obviously not rhyme with "sun".

    Here is a nice shi3r using the word "gun"

    ظاہر ہیں یوں تو سب پر ترے گُن

    لیکن نہ پایا تیرا سر و بُن

    zaahir haiN yuuN to sab par tire gun
    lekin nah paayaa teraa sar-o-bun

    Isma'il Merathi

    littlepond Sahib, please note the spelling of "tire" and the compound "sar-o-bun".
     

    desi4life

    Senior Member
    English
    Hindi "guNR" would obviously not rhyme with "sun".

    सुन and गुण can rhyme in Hindi. Many Hindi speakers don’t differentiate between ण and न in pronunciation just as they don’t differentiate between ष and श. And poetically there is also freedom to bend the phonology. For example, the Hindi song “jab koi tumhara hriday tod de”, from the Hindi film “purab aur paschim”, written by the Hindi poet Indeevar and sung by Mukesh has the word दर्पण pronounced as “darpan” not “darpaNR”.
     

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    littlepond Sahib is absolutely right in saying that "guNR" गुण is not an Urdu word but a Hindi one. In Urdu, as Alfaaz SaaHib has indicated, it is "gun" گُن. So, the title ought to be under "Urdu" only, for the following reasons.

    1. The word in Urdu is "gun" گُن and this is how the Pakistani singer is singing it in a recording by Coke Studio Pakistan.

    As I said in my post earlier, I haven't heard the song: I was referring to the spelling as transliterated by the OP.

    2. The song is written by the singer Meesha Shafi. I very much doubt if she knows any Hindi at all!

    Given that the singer uses other Hindi words too (e.g., "laakh"), she apparently knows Hindi. If she or some others - for political reasons - prefer to call it Urdu, that's another thing.

    4. There is a well known Urdu Hindi song "sar jo teraa chakraa'e" from the film "Piyasa" written by the Urdu poet Sahir Ludhiyanvi and sung by the peerless Muhammad Rafi..

    sun sun sun, are beTaa sun
    is chaNpii meN baRe baRe gun

    Hindi "guNR" would obviously not rhyme with "sun".

    "gun" for "guNR" - in fact, any "n" substituting "NR" - is a common feature of rustic or romantic Hindi speech (just as "s" for "sh" and "s" or "sh" for "ksh" are). Johnny Walker in Pyaasa doesn't play an Urdu-speaking literary gentleman: rather, he plays a champii-valah guy (and hence adopting a typical speech pattern).
     

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    Here is a nice shi3r using the word "gun"

    ظاہر ہیں یوں تو سب پر ترے گُن

    لیکن نہ پایا تیرا سر و بُن

    zaahir haiN yuuN to sab par tire gun
    lekin nah paayaa teraa sar-o-bun

    Isma'il Merathi

    littlepond Sahib, please note the spelling of "tire" and the compound "sar-o-bun".

    Indeed, very nice couplet, Qureshpor jii! Thanks a lot for sharing: the compound "sar-o-bun" is very inventive, too! "tire" is common in speech, too.
     
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