Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sohni Dharti (1970)

“O beautiful land! May Allah keep you happy forever,” says Masroor Anwar (“Sohni Dharti, Allah rakhay…”). “May we see you free as long as the world lasts!”

Even if the prayer is granted, how can the poet expect to last that long and “see” it? The simplest answer can be found with Iqbal who believed that individual achieves immortality through loving the collective ego.

The desire to “see” and to be in touch with the beloved beyond this earthly life brings a tone of spirituality to this national song composed by Sohail Rana and aired from PTV in 1970. The subject, “Shoni Dharti”, emphasizes land rather than idea but due to the spiritual emphasis at the very beginning, matter becomes a form taken by the soul of the nation (much like in the National Anthem discussed earlier).

This is also true about his film songs. Consider the popular love song ‘Akele na jana’. When reinterpreted as a national song, it takes us to a deeper layer of patriotism which is not accessible through national songs alone: "You are a beautiful feeling through which we found courage to live. You are conviction which never dies in heart; you are hope which lives forever." Is it not something which we would like to say to Pakistan?

Next: Who wrote ‘Yeh Watan Tumhara Hai,’ generally considered to be the most meaningful national song of all times.


  1. Collective Ego in popular media... especially National Songs is widespread...

    "Tum pey jo kuch likha shaairon nay
    us mein shaamil hai aawaaz meri
    Urr kay puhncho kay tum jis ufaq par
    saath jaaey gi parwaaaz meri"
    (From: Aye Watan kay Sajeelay Jawaanon)

    rough Translation:
    Whatever the poets have written for you
    is laced with my voice
    whichever horizon you may fly to
    my flight shall accompany yours


  2. It was my favorite song during my childhood.

    i was wondering,that we like something cause of its apparent beauty for eg,i love the song because the voice is luscious but while reading your post i was thinking that you look deep sir,you swim deep in the meanings,in the lesson and the moral.

    most of us are lacking this ability but you are blessed,thatswhy you have full hold on the "power of convincing" anyone.

  3. Vegabond's Ventures and ReeBz, thanks. Vega, the lines quoted by you are from Jamiluddin Aali and DEFINITELY they are among the best expressions of a deep spiritual experience which many poets and writers went through in the first 20 years after Pakistan: they discovered their individuality by first losing their ego in the voice of the people ("high literature" was a rebellion against the voice of the people more than the establishment and that's why we find the experience of collective ego so much in national songs and film songs while most of our "higher" poetry is completely lacking in it - I need to explain it in more detail and shall do so at an appropriate time).

    ReeBz, an infant nephew of Iqbal was specially attracted to the light of the candle, and would stare at it for hours. Iqbal wrote a poem, 'Bach Aur Shama' (The Child and the Candle), in which he said that the child's soul recognizes something which it has seen before coming to this world, although the child's mind cannot understand it nor explain it: "Yeh kissi dekhi hui shaye ki magar pehchan hai."

    Likewise, when we hear these songs, our SOULS recognize all these meanings which I am explaining here, and many more which I cannot explain at all. I have conducted a long study on Pakistani national songs and my conclusion is that only those national songs become phenomenal which have a message about the collective ego.

    1. Greetings,

      Thank you all for this.

      @ Khurram Ali Shafique, I'm particularly thankful for what you've shared here.

      All good wishes,


  4. "they discovered their individuality by first losing their ego in the voice of the people"...

    My apologies for repetition but this is all so interconnected...

    "Gehrai mein jitna bhie jaaoon ...
    tujh ko paas mein itna hi paaon...

    teray ishq mein jo bhie doob gaya ...
    usay duniya ki lehron sey darna kya?"

  5. SOHNI DHARTI, a superb song as beautiful and soothing as Masoor Anwer’s timeless classic AKELE NA JANA. Please carry on this national songs remembrance thread for a while, we are really feeling very upbeat.

  6. Vegabond and Akhtar Sahib, thanks for enriching the discussion with such valuable comments and information.

  7. Salaam.

    I invite you to visit:


    for some good patriotic stuff ..


  8. O beautiful land, may God
    Keep you prosperous every step of the way
    Every single grain of your soil
    Is dearer to us than life itself
    It is through you that honour and glory is ours
    Yours is the proud name by which we are known
    As long as this world remains
    We wish to see you free and sovereign