Dhano Dhanno Pushpo Bhora

 

I have always been proud of coming from a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious country. In today’s migratory world, many countries can claim the same. But immigrants remain foreigners at least for a generation or two; sometimes for more. In India, we are all different but we are none of us foreigners! As strange as it may be to reach some corner of India where the language is indecipherable, the culture alien and the food unrecognisable, we still look at the people and accept the oneness of being Indian.

So it gives me great pleasure when famous musicians bravely launch into songs from elsewhere in India with passion and enjoyment. I was recently listening to the live telecast of T.M.Krishna’s concert at Spic Macay convention. I am a fan of TMK; I almost always enjoy his music. The last song he sang was the Bengali song Dhano Dhanno Pushpo Bhora. It was a fan request; evidently people have heard him sing this before. I listened with interest as I know this song well. His musicality was beautiful and his rendition full of emotion. But I have to say this much as I hate to do so – the pronunciation just didn’t work. I understand; it is so difficult for us Indians to learn and appreciate each other’s languages, isn’t it! It is all so different, especially Tamil and Bengali. I know; I am fluent in both. Still, I am very happy that he chose to present this lovely piece of nationalistic poetry by Dwijendralal Ray (1863-1913).  Perhaps a new set of audience will come to appreciate these beautiful words. This song has been sung in the past by M.S.Subbulakshmi as well. Given that my audience is almost 99% non-Bengali, I am writing this post to bring this song to the attention of all you readers.

Before I transcribe it, I would like to bring some important points about pronunciation in Bengali. My readers would be well used to the modified version of the Harvard Kyoto transliteration scheme which I use in this blog. I have described it in this page. To be able to transliterate Bengali, I have the need for two more vowel symbols. ɒ is like o as in Hot. This is the ‘default’ vowel sound in Bengali; it often replaces अ in Sanskrit. अ can also be replaced by o like in old. The other vowel sound which occurs frequently is ɛ like ai in air.  Other than that, Sanskrit words when used in Bengali have the following replacements of consonants (I list the ones in the song, this is not a universal list).

v as in vasundhara (earth in Sanskrit) is replaced with b
s  as in sakal (from sakala, total / everything in Sanskrit) is replaced with sh
sw like in swapna (dream in Sanskrit) is replaced with sh
rya like in sUrya (sun in Sanskrit) is replaced with rjɒ
note also that rAnI in Sanskrit, Hindi and Bengali is with the soft न (n) unlike Tamil where the hard ण (ண – N) is used.

I’ve selected a beautifully sung rendition from the West Bengal Sangeet Academy for you to listen to while you follow along with the words below. The lyrics are in Bengali with English transliteration. My thanks to my husband who proof read and corrected the Bengali script for me. I hope you enjoy it!

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ধন ধান্য পুষ্প ভরা আমাদের এই বসুন্ধরা
তাহার মাঝে আছে দেশ এক সকল দেশের সেরা
ও সে স্বপ্ন দিয়ে তৈরি সে দেশ স্মৃতি দিয়ে ঘেরা |
এমন দেশটি কোথাও খুঁজে পাবে নাকো তুমি
ও সে সকল দেশের রাণী সে যে আমার জন্মভূমি
সে যে আমার জন্মভূমি, সে যে আমার জন্মভূমি।।

dhɒno dhanno pushpo bhɒrA AmAdEr Ey boshundhɒrA
tAhAr mAjhE ACHE dEsh ɛk shɒkol dEshEr shErA
O shE shɒpno diyE tOyrI shE dEsh smriti diyE ghɛrA
ɛmOn dEshti kOthA’O khu.njE pAbE nAkO tumi
O shE shɒkol dEshEr rAnI shE jE AmAr jɒnmo bhUmi
shE jE AmAr jɒnmo bhUmi, shE jE AmAr jɒnmo bhUmi

In this (Ey) earth (boshundhɒrA) which is ours (AmAdEr), filled with (bhɒrA ) with riches (dhɒno), grain (dhanno) and flowers (pushpo), in the midst (mAjhE) of which (tAhAr) is (ACHE) a (ɛk) country (dEsh) which is the best (shErA) amongst all (shɒkol) countries (dEshEr). That which is (O shE) created (tOyrI ) with dreams (shɒpno) , that (shE) country (dEsh) is surrounded (ghɛrA) by memories (shmriti ). You (tumi) will never (nAkO) find (khu.njE pAbE) a country (dEshti) such as this (ɛmon) anywhere (kOthA’O)! That which is (O shE) the queen (rAnI) of all countries (shɒkol dEshEr), that is (shE jE) my (AmAr) birthplace (jɒnmo bhUmi).

চন্দ্র সূর্য গ্রহ তারা, কোথায় উজান এমন ধারা,
কোথায় এমন খেলে তড়িৎ, এমন কালো মেঘে,
ও তার পাখির ডাকে ঘুমিয়ে পড়ে (alt: উঠে ) পাখির ডাকে জেগে।
(repeat refrain)

chɒndro shUrjo grɒho tArA, kOthAy ujAn ɛmon dhArA
kOthAy ɛmon khɛlE tɒDit, ɛmon kAlO mEghE,
O tAr pAkhir DAkE ghumiyE pɒDE (alt: uTHE) pAkhir DAkE jEgE
(repeat refrain)

The moon (chɒndro), the sun (shUrjo), the planets (grɒho), the stars (tArA) – where (kOthAy) is such a (ɛmon) stream (dhArA) with an upstream flow (ujAn)? Where (kOthAy) does lightning (tɒDit) play (khɛlE) like this (ɛmon), amongst black (kAlO) clouds (mEghE) like this (ɛmon)? Which falls asleep (ghumiyE pɒDE/uTHE) with the call (DAkE) of its (tAr) birds, having also (implied) woken (jEgE) with bird calls (pAkhir DAkE).

এত স্নিগ্ধ নদী কাহার কোথায় এমন ধুম্র পাহাড়
কোথায় এমন হরিৎ ক্ষেত্র আকাশ তলে মেশে
এমন ধানের উপর ঢেউ খেলে যায় বাতাস কাহার দেশে
(repeat refrain)

ɛtO snigdhO nɒdI kAhAr, kOthAy ɛmon dhUmro pAhAD,
kOthAy ɛmon hɒrit khEtrO AkAsh tɒlE mEshE,
ɛmon  dhAnEr Upɒr dhE’U khɛlE jAy, bAtAsh kAhAr dEshE
(repeat refrain)

Whose (kAhAr) river (nɒdI) is as (ɛtO) gentle (snigdhO)? Where (kOthAy) are such (ɛmon) misty (dhUmro) mountains (pAhAD)? Where (kOthAy) are fields (khEtrO) green (hɒrit) like this (ɛmon) blending (mEshE) under (tɒlE) the skies (AkAsh)? In whose (kAhAr) country (dEshE) does the wind (bAtAsh) play (khɛlE) like waves (dhE’U) over (Upɒr) the rice fields (dhAnEr)?

পুষ্পে পুষ্পে ভরা শাখি কুঞ্জে কুঞ্জে গাহে পাখি
গুঞ্জরিয়া আসে অলি পুঞ্জে পুঞ্জে ধেয়ে
তারা ফুলের ওপর ঘুমিয়ে পড়ে ফুলের মধু খেয়ে।
(repeat refrain)

pushpE pushpE bhɒrA shAkhi, kunjE kunjE gAhE pAkhi
gunjɒriyA AshE oli punjE punjE dhEyE
tArA phUlEr Upɒr ghumiyE pɒDE phUlEr mɒdhu khEyE
(repeat refrain)

Branches (shAkhi)  filled (bhɒrA ) with flowers (pushpE, repeated for emphasis), birds (pAkhi) singing (gAhE) in bowers (kunjE kunjE), bees (oli) rush (dhEyE) in buzzing (gunjɒriyA) swarms (punjE punjE). They (tArA) sleep (ghumiyE pɒDE) on (Upɒr) the flowers (phUlEr) after having sipped (khEyE, literally eaten) the nectar (mɒdhu) of the flowers (phUlEr).

ভাইয়ের মায়ের এতো স্নেহ, কোথায় গেলে পাবে কেহ,
ও মা তোমার চরণ দুটি বক্ষে আমার ধরি,
আমার এই দেশেতে জন্ম যেন এই দেশেতে মরি।
(repeat refrain)

bhAiyEr mAyEr ɛtO snEhO kothAy gElE pAbE kEhO
O mA tOmAr chɒron duTi bɒkkhE AmAr dhɒri
AmAr Ey dEshEtE jɒnmo jɛno Ey dEshEtE məri
(repeat refrain)

Where (kOthAy) can anyone (kEhO) go (gElE) to get (pAbE) so much (ɛtO) love (snEhO) from brothers (baAiyEr) and mothers (mAyEr)? O Mother (mA), I hold (dhɒri) your (tOmAr) two (duTi) feet (chɒron) on my (AmAr) chest (bɒkkhE ). My (AmAr) birth (jɒnmo) was in this (Ey) country (dEshEtE), take care that (jɛno) I die (məri) in this (Ey) country (dEshEtE).

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15 Comments

Filed under Patriotic Music

15 responses to “Dhano Dhanno Pushpo Bhora

  1. Every time I find that Suja has written something that I can read with sufficient intelligence I lap it up! The writing always moves like greased lightning and always throws up new ideas and perspectives. Dhonnobad for this!

  2. Priya

    Love this Suja! Thanks for posting – this was one of my grandfather’s favorite songs and I can hear him even now!

    • All these old, familiar songs makes us so nostalgic, doesn’t it 🙂 I’ve been humming it all week, can’t get it out of my head! Glad you liked it.
      love to you all, Suja

  3. Ramesh

    Having lived in Bengal for 5 years, although long ago, this is not a new song for me. You have chosen a beautiful rendering ; truly wonderful. Can listen to it all day along.

    Why is your audience 99% non Bengali ? Of all the sub cultures in India, the most musical of them has to be Bengali. Yes, you feature a different genre of music but the musically inclined Bengalis must love your articulation and music.

    Truly the high point of Bengali music must have been the period leading to India’s independence. Maybe because of Rabindranath Tagore, but almost all our patriotic music of that time was Bengali.

    Hope you feature more Bengali music in your blog.

    • Glad you enjoyed it Ramesh! The Bengalis are indeed a very artistic people with great poetry, music and literature. And of course their contribution to the film media is immense. The Bengalis will consider me uncultured no doubt, but Rabindra Sangeet doesn’t really appeal to me. But I love their folk music like Baul and Nazrul Geeti is lovely. Perhaps I will feature more Bengali songs too in the future as you suggest….let’s see..

      As to my audience, my primary interest has been and will remain Carnatic Music and Carnatic music has a very limited audience which hardly includes anyone North of the Vindhyas! I do want to feature more Ghazals, Qawwalis and old film music if I can, I really enjoy these genres. My biggest limitation is time..there is so much music to talk about and enjoy, but so little time to do it all!
      Cheers. Suja

  4. Aparna G

    Thank you Suja for this post and the clear lyrics with meanings.
    I used to sing the first stanza of this song having learnt it in my chennai based cbse school for “national integration”!! and have been searching for this kind of meaningful explanation of this song.
    Surprisingly, I now understand we were taught the correct pronunciation!

    • I am glad you found the post useful Aparna, thank you for your comment! You were taught the correct pronunciation in a Chennai school? How interesting! Some of the Bengali vowels get murdered by the rest of India 🙂 Now you can learn to sing the whole song too!
      Cheers. Suja

  5. Sulakshana

    I’ve come across your blog while googling for lyrics and finally today have the time to spend here. Thank you for the these lyrics. I’m a fan of TMK’s too and watched the SPIC Macay concert. This is indeed a lovely song, even when I didn’t understand the lyrics fully. Reading your post has helped me appreciate this song even more.

    • Hi Sulakshana, Thank you for your comment. In fact, I do write this blog because I feel that understanding of the lyrics and putting it in context into our lives are an important part of music appreciation, so your comment makes me very happy!
      Cheers.
      Suja

  6. Shobana ramkumar

    Excellent song and great selection of the piece for listeners. Our languages are rich and have their own beauty which only the sons and daughters of that tongue who have eaten its food, breathed its fragrances and swayed to its wind can do justice to The beauties. It’s no wonder that this Bengali group sounds like ambrosia to the ear. But I hope that we all won’t stop singing songs in languages that are not native to us. We’ll keep trying and do our best to refine it. There’s great yearning to sing all the lovely songs of the land

    • Very well said! I am all for listening to music from across India, and for those who can, learning to sing too! But it would be nice, wouldn’t it, if people made more of an effort over pronunciation? Just my bug-bear..
      Cheers. Suja

  7. Harvard Kyoto transliteration scheme was new to me. I always liked the sounds of Bengali (Robindra Sangeet, Ray’s movies, DUrga pooja/Mahalaya radiocast) , and if I were to sing a song in Bengali I would be sure to get the sounds right! The elucidatory points about the key new sounds in Bengali and an explication of the subtle differences makes this a great post.

    • Hi Ramesh! Bengali is indeed very sweet sounding with its soft consonants and rounded vowels. Not really hard to understand for Hindi speakers as there is much commonality. I understand it is hard for musicians to get the accents right for the myriad languages they sing in but surely a bit more effort is justified? I have ranted and ranted about Sanskrit in the past too…I do so dislike it when they mispronounce the words. There may be an excuse for not getting Bengali right but getting Sanskrit wrong in surely a much greater offence! Sorry..you’ve got me ranting again 🙂
      Cheers. Suja

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