Bal Bal Jayoon Main Tore Rangrajwa....Rangrej Mere..

While all languages are great, Urdu, I feel enjoys a special place amongst them. Its elegantness flatters you and its expressiveness romanticises you. I am love with many words within that language, and wish to explore one of them in this blog post.
When you talk about colors (रंग), ‘Rangrej  ( रंगरेज )’ or related expressions like ‘RangRajwa ( रंगरजवा )’ crop up in mind. Though its literal meaning is ‘the dyer’….but is often poetically substituted for GOD, Master ( Guru ) or as the Lover,….जो उन्हे उनके रंग में रंग दे …..someone who can color them in their colors.
The Sufi Songs or the ones with Sufiana soul or bent have most expressively used this word. In most usages you will find them easily substitutable, beyond the obvious Dyer, GOD, Master and Lover. When you think of it as the GOD or the Master ( Guru ), then it’s the color of spirituality and when it’s the Master (Lover), then it’s the color of love…both the colors permeate through the mind, body, heart and soul …in a very sublime way… and leaves you intoxicated…in that state, that’s the only color left….and leaves both in unison…it’s the ultimate unison…which uplifts you and transports you to a different world…a world which is much more expansive than the one we live in…a state of forgetfulness, beyond the worldly pleasures…a world in complete trance…a world which is boundless… infinite…this intoxication has to be experienced..
I have picked up a total of three compositions, two from earlier writings and one recent Bollywood song, for detailed treatment, which gracefully captures the expressive essence of the word. I have also added the English translations. Though the translation always doesn’t do justice to original writings …nevertheless…
The first is from the writings of Kabir Sahib (Satguru), the 13th century, mystic and saint. I have translated the same…the translation is not literal…but what lines try to convey …

साहिब* हैं रंगरेज , चुनरी मोरी रंग डारी
स्याही रंग छुड़ाए के रे , दियो मजीठा रंग
धोये से छूटे नहीं रे , दिन दिन होत सूरंग
भाव के कुंडी , नेह के जल में , प्रेम रंग दई बोरी 
दुःख देह मैल लुटाये दे रे , खूब रंगी झकझोर 
साहिब ने चुनरी रंगी रे , प्रीतम चतुर सुजान 
सब कुछ उन पर वार दूं रे , तन मन धन और प्राण
कहत कबीर रंगरेज पियारे , मुझ पर हुए दयाल
सीतल चुनरी ओढ़ी के रे , भयी हों मगन निहाल 

*Sahib is generally used for ‘Guru’, as I explained earlier it can also be used for ultimate Lover…
Master has colored my mind, body, heart and soul.
He has removed the existing stains and applied fresh color of love

The beauty of this freshly applied color is that…rather than fading ..with every wash ( each day ) it gets brighter and more lustrous…
In the bucket of feelings, which is filled with water of affection...he has mixed

the color of love… and when I bathe with this water…it has cleansed the dirt of sorrowness…and now I look even more splendid…
Its my Master who has colored me, he is great..I surrender my everthything onto him…even my ‘self’…my own being

Kabir says, the Master, the benevolent, has blessed me.
With his cover of kindness…I feel myself at peace...settled…pure …fullfilled…in a blissful state…
The above composition has been delightfully rendered by Smt Shobha Mudgal Ji and is produced below.

The second one I have chosen is Amir Khusrau’s composition. Khusrau, the 13th century Indian poet, musician, scholar and mystic, has written this for his Master (Guru), Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya.. As earlier, I make no claims of literal translation…but have kept it crisp…as these compositions have so much ‘bhaav’ in it.

छाप तिलक सब छीनी रे, मोसे नैना मिलाइके 
प्रेम भटटी का मढ़वा पीलाईके, मतवाली कर लीनी रे , मोसे नैना मिलाइके 

गोरी गोरी बहियां, हरी हरी चूड़ियां 
बहिंयां पकड़ धर लीनी रे, मोसे नैना मिलाईके

बल बल जाऊं मै तोरे रंगरजवा
अपनी सी कर लीनी रे, मोसे नैना  मिलाईके

खुसरो  निजाम के बल बल जईए 
मोहे सुहागन कर लीनी रे, मोसे नैना नैना मिलाईके

छाप तिलक सब छीनी रे, मोसे नैना  मिलाईके

A mere glance by you has taken away my ‘self’ ( my looks and my identity )..
I am now intoxicated by drinking the mixture produced by furnace of love and by your mere glance…
Your mere glance has clenched my fair delicate wrists ( which has Green bangles...Green bangles are worn in Saawan ( Spring Season), and is symbolic of season of love..

I totally bow unto you (walk on my knees.) Master….I have merged into you ( got dyed by the dyer )…by your mere glance…I have become your bride ( my soul has become yours spiritually ) by your mere glance..

The no of people who have lent their voice to this composition is astounding. That speaks volumes about it. The one below by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is my favorite.

The most impressive recent usage has been the number 'Rangrej Mere…’ in the film Tanu Weds Manu. The lyrics are by Rajshekhar and the song is composed by Krsna. There are two versions – one sung by Krsna and other by Wadali Brothers. While both are good, the latter is pure and magical.

The song takes the word ‘Rangrej’ to profound heights. It explores the words in all possible forms, shades and hues.

I must confess that though I have been thinking about this blog for some time, but it was this song that pushed me to work on this blog. The translation I am quoting below is also done by Krsna.

ए रंगरेज मेरे, रंगरेज मेरे , एक बात बता रंगरेज मेरे 
ये कौन से पानी में तुने कौन सा रंग घोला है 
के दिल बन गया है सौदाई , और मेरा बसंती चोला है 

O dyer of mine, Dear dyer of mine, Please reveal your secrets divine,
What concotion have you created, Of your colors and godforsaken water
My heart's all blue in love so profound, My cloak's soaked in saffron unbound

अब तुमसे मैं क्या शिकवा करूँ, मैंने ही कहा था जिद कर के,
रंग दे चुनरी पी के रंग में ,पर मुए कपास पे रंग ना रुके रंग इतना गहरा तेरा की जानो जिगर तक भी रंग दे... जिगर रंग दे

How am I to complain of my tale ?
I like stubborn asked you to color my veil,
Oh! Your colors penetrated my fabric, insane
Deep within my heart n soul everything's dyed of your stain
Color my heart away, Oh this feelin'...

रंगरेज तुने अफीम क्या है खा ली,
जो मुझसे तू ये पूछे के कौन सा रंग ?
रंगों का कारोबार है तेरा,
ये तू ही तो जाने, कौन सा रंग 

Dyer, Are you so intoxicated on Opium!
Why ask me, what shade now to come undone !
Color and stains is your business of things
You only know, what should you be coloring

मेरा बालम रंग, मेरा साजन रंग, 
मेरा कातिक रंग, मेरा अघहन रंग, मेरा फागुन रंग, मेरा सावन रंग,
पल पल रंगते रंगते, रंगते मेरे आठों पहर मनभावन रंग
एक बूँद इश्कियां डाल कोई तू , मेरा सातों समंदर जाये रंग

Oh! Your colors penetrated my fabric, insaneMy Beloved hue, My soulmate shade, My spring, My autumn, My Monsoon
You color all my seasons with your palette
A single drop of your love ingredient, Just a single drop of your romantic blend
Colors up my seven seas in a second

मेरी हद् भी रंग, सरहद भी रंग, बेहद रंग दे, अनहद भी रंग दे 
मंदिर मस्जिद मैकद रंग, रंगरेज मेरे रंगरेज मेरे,
रंगरेज मेरे दो घर क्यूँ रहे, एक ही रंग रंग में दोनों घर रंग दे
दोनों रंग दे 

Color me off limits, Color my boundaries, Color me extreme, Color my unceasing infinities
My temple, My mosque, my entire world indeed

Oh Dyer, why must we separated by two different spaces,

Paint just one single shade to both worlds with your embraces,

पल पल रंगते रंगते रंगते रंगते नैहर पीहर का आँगन रंग
पल पल रंगते रंगते रंगते रंगते मेरे आठों पहर मनभावन रंग
नींदे रंग दे करवट भी रंग
ख्वाबों पे पड़े सलवट भी रंग
Paint every moment, The courtyards of my maternal and marital heavens
Drape in one single shade all my 24/7 s
Color my sleep, Color my rolls
Color even the creases of my dreams

ये तू ही है, हैरत रंग दे आ दिल में समा हसरत रंग दे फिर आजा और वसलत रंग दे, आ न सके तो फुरक़त रंग दे दर्दे हिजरा लिए दिल में दर्दे , हिजरा लिए दिल में दर्दे  मैं जिंदा रहूँजिंदा रहूँ, जुर्रत रंग दे 

Color my amazement of you, Come paint the desires of my heart too
Color away our union, and if you can't, forget not to paint our separation,
Even with the pain of being apart, I must live on,
Must live on, Color my dare to carry on,

रंगरेज मेरे, रंगरेज मेरे, तेरा क्या है असल रंग, अब तो ये दिखला दे 
मेरा पिया भी तू, मेरी सेज भी तू, मेरा रंग भी तू, रंगरेज भी तू
मेरी नैया भी तू, मजधार भी, तुझमें डूबूं, तुझमें उभरून,

तेरी हर एक बात सर आखों पे 
मेरा मालिक तू, मेरा साहिब तू, मेरी जान मेरी जान, तेरे हाथों में
मेरा कातिल तू मेरा मुंसिफ तू 
तेरे बिना कुछ सूझे ना, तेरे बिना कुछ सूझे ना,

O dyer of mine, What's your own real color ? Reveal your shine,
Oh you're my lover, my resting ground is you, My color and my colorful dyer too,
My sail, my centre of ocean, I sink in you, I come afloat under your beacon
Your every word is my Supreme given
You are my owner and my dearest friend, My breathing soul is in your able hands,
Oh my murderer, my justice giver
I'm clueless without you foreever,

मेरी राह भी तू मेरा रहबर तू मेरा सरवर तू मेरा अकबर तू
मेरा मशरिक तू मेरा मगरिब तू जाहिद भी मेरा मुर्शिद तू

अब तेरे बिना मैं जाऊं कहाँ ,
तेरे बिना तेरे बिना तेरे बिना 

My journey, My travel mate in sight, My riddance, My genesis, My guiding light,
My lord is you, my disciple too, I found found a sage and divine signs in you
where could I go without you, where could I ever go without you,
Without you, Without you

रंगरेज मेरे, रंगरेज मेरे , एक बात बता रंगरेज मेरे

ये कौन से पानी में तुने कौन सा रंग घोला है
के दिल बन गया है सौदाई , और मेरा बसंती चोला है

As I conclude, I also came across some very recent composition in Peepli Live, where the word has been given a very different treatment. Here it talks about our nation as Rangrej and how it has colored us with its uniqueness. On our 66th Independence Day, this number is a very grim reminder that we have a long way to reach 'Purna Swaraj'.

देस मेरा रंगरेज ये बाबू , घाट घाट यहाँ घटता जादू ..

Thinking of colors also takes to me patriotic numbers  - Rang De Basanti Chola, which I have not dealt with in this post.

I am so enamored by this word, that I just can’t stop thinking about and admiring it. 
Concluding thoughts in my words,

ओ रंगरेज, मुझपे तेरा रंग चढ़ गया है 
जो मैं अब तक था अधुरा, मुझे पूरा कर गया है 

हज़ारों सवालों से तपते हुए इस मन को 
तेरे रंगों से उठती ठंडक से, शीतल कर गया है 

ज़िन्दगी जो अब तक काले और सफ़ेद रंगों में बटी थी 
तेरे इन्द्रधनुषी रंगों से , एक रंगीन सफ़र में बदल गया है 

जो मैं अब तक था अधुरा, मुझे पूरा कर गया है
रंगरेज, मुझपे तेरा रंग चढ़ गया है


vivekritu said…
Thank you for the post... I donot know how I lost track of your blog. This time I have subscribed. Maybe one day I will get a chance to meet during my visits to India.
Manas Sahu said…
Thanks for this wonderful post.
kruti said…
I have always loved this song...

Thank you for sharing this :)

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