How often it happens that we listen to a song without knowing its meaning, well it happens a lot as they say music have no language and boundary. But if you are a Pakistani, and listen to “Washmallay” on radio and get confused that its Sindhi or Balochi, it’s a real shame. Some decades back, the person was known by how many languages he or she knows and now most of us don’t know our regional languages to say the least. So, we have explored for us and for you guys, some sweet stories behind our iconic songs which all of us has listened on repeat but unfortunately we are unaware of the essence. So lean back, read and promise yourself that we will try to know basics of our regional languages. Cheers!

Ni Othan Wale

Language: Saraiki

Original Singer: Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi

Background: Punnuñ’s family was against their union as he was a prince but Sassi daughter of a washerman. Punnuñ decides to go against their will. His brothers come to the wedding and pretend to be with him. But on the night of the wedding, they abduct him when Sassi falls asleep. The next morning, when Sassi finds out, she run towards the Punnuñ’s town, Kech and dies in the desert of Thal.

Bibi Sanam Janam

Language: Persian

Original singer: Vaheed Kasmi

Background: Bibi sanam janem, anaar-e-sisstanem, Sīstān, known in ancient times as Sakastan, is a historical and geographical region in present-day eastern Iran, southern Afghanistan, and the Nok Kundi region of Balochistan. The song dates back to that time and is a folk song that lives on. Anaar (Pomegranate) is a fruit that is fantasized by the romantics as their beloved, like Anarkali (Bud of Pomegranate). The love-song is an expression of pure love and romanticism.

Shakar Wandaan Re

Language: Punjabi

Original Singer: Asrar

Background: The song is written by Afzal Sahir and is about rejoicing the return of your beloved through literally giving out sweets in ecstasy. The tradition is Indo-Pak and is still in practice.

Ishq Aap Bhi Awalla

Language: Punjabi

Original Singers: Chakwal group

Background: The song was sung by Chakwal group and Meesha Shafi in a coke studio episode. The words ‘Nee Mein Jhol Jhol Ke Ghara Bharendi Aan’ have a folk history within themselves. The pot of drinking water was filled everyday and the women gathered around the nearest pond, this was their meeting point. So, in this song, the woman is taking her time because maybe the man she likes is nearby.

Dane pe dana

Language: Balochi

Original Singer: Akhtar Chanal Zahri

Background: Through this partisan anthem, imbued with shades of a rustic romance, the poet presents a message of companionship and harmony.

Laal Meri

Language: Punjabi

Original Singer: Noor Jahan

Background: It is a traditional song in Punjabi, This poem was initially written by Hazrat Amir Khusrow (RA), then further modified by Hazrat Baba Bulleh Shah (RA). Bulleh Shah gave an entirely different colour to the qawwali and added verses in praise of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar. Bulleh Shah's version of the qawwali gives it a large tint of Sindhi culture.


Language: Punjabi

Original Singer: Alam Lohar

Background: The word literally means 'Female Firefly', in folk music it stands in for the poet-writer who uses Jugni as an innocent observer or learner to make incisive, often humorous, and sometimes sad but always touching observations. In spiritual poetry Jugni means the spirit of life, or essence of life. Alam Lohar (Punjab, Pakistan) and singer introduced this term in his singing conveying sentiments that touched everyone.


Language: Pushto

Original Singer: Hadiqa Kiani

Background: This song is a beautiful love song, Janan in Pushto means ‘Sweetheart’. The song itself is a confession without any inhibitions.

Gul Bashri

Language: Pushto

Original Singer: Rahim Shah

Background: This song definitely makes everyone watching ‘Moor’ shed a tear. The song is about the ultimate love of a mother who calls her son ‘Gul Bashri’ (A human being in the form of a flower). 

Humma Humma

Language: Sindhi

Original Singer: Alan Fakir

Background: The song was about a fakir going against the rush of the superficial and material world and ecstatically dipping into those mysterious dimensions of space and time where he would directly feel connected to his beloved (God).

Sarak Sarak

Language: Marwari

Original Singer: Mai Dhai

Background: The fun song is amusing tale about a happy-go-lucky girl wandering around when her ‘chappal’ (Shoe) breaks and the rest of the song is her witty cry for help and the story after it.

Sammi Meri Waar:

Language: Pothwari

Original Singer: ShafaUllah Khan Rokhri

Background: Sammi is a traditional dance form originating from the tribal communities of Punjab. It is the dance of Punjabi women. The dance is popular in the Sandalbar area of Punjab (now in Pakistan). The dance is performed by women of Baazigar, Rai, Lobana and Sansi tribes. Legend has it that this dance was originally performed by Princess Sammi of Marwad to show excessive emotion at her separation from Rajkumar Suchkumar of Rajasthan.


The fact remains that these songs mean a lot to us, even though, we don’t know their meaning. And that’s pure music!