Atul’s Song A Day- A choice collection of Hindi Film & Non-Film Songs

In the world’s broad field of battle

Posted on: August 4, 2010

Looking at the title, my readers may be wondering if they have wandered across to some unfamiliar site instead of a Bollywood movie song blog, or whether I have begun to post on some other topics in this blog.

Have no worry. This continues to be a Bollywood song blog, and this song too is a Bollywood song from a Bollywood movie. In fact, yesterday I had posted another song from this same movie.

Yesterday I had posted a nice “story” song ( Ek thaa Raja )from this movie called “Duniyaa Naa Maane” (1937).

This song , which is the subject of discussion here is a very special song indeed. This song is sung by the same singer who sang “Ek Thaa Raja”. Yes, it is the same lady viz Shanta Apte. As can be guessed from the title, it is an English song. Music director is Keshavrao Bhole. And pray who is the lyricist ? Well, the lyricist was dead for some 55 years when his literary work became this Bollywood song. And he, even in his wildest of dreams could not have guessed that one day his poetry would form the lyrics of a song in a Bollywood movie.

The lyricist is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), a renowned English poet. The lyrics are basically part of a poem namely “Voices of the night,A psalm of Life”, which was written in 1838, nearly a century prior to the release of this movie.

If one thought that the sari clad desi looking Shanta Apte has sung this English song is a funny Marathi accent then you are in for a surprise. Shanta Apte, despite her traditional Bhartiya Naari looks has sung this song in a well groomed English accent, with hardly any trace of native accent. I was highly impressed with her voice. Of all the English language songs sung by Indian singers in Bollywood movies, this song must be the best one as far as proper pronunciation of English words is concerned.

In India, people who speak in English flawlessly rise in the esteem of “aam jantaa” and I must admit that Shanta Apte all of a sudden rose sky high in my esteem. What a nice voice she had. She was obviously one of the few well educated ladies in India a that time when literacy rate in India was abysmal and literacy among women was unheard of.

Here is this English song from “Duniya Naa Maane” (1937). This song is one of the rarest songs from Hindi movies, and it is a pleasure to listen to and watch this song.

Song-In the world’s broad field of battle (Duniya Na Maane) (1937) Singer-Shanta Apte, Lyrics-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, MD-Keshavrao Bhole


In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.


11 Responses to "In the world’s broad field of battle"

Excellent! beats all expectations.


This is truly a find! The accent is perfect, the song rendition is very clear and true. Excellent, as Jitendra says!


That’s a great find! you are an exceptional man:-)


Just wonderful! Amazing! The diction is perfect, no Marathi accent. 🙂
I think I am going to post some Shanta Apte songs as farmaishes, even if they are in Hindi. 🙂


Usha Iyer in Bombay to Goa .. and other places.
(A different accent but no trace of Marathi there either 😉 )

Is that Shanta Apte in the clip?


Shanta Apte is the lady. Indeed what a special song it is !


I think that i including all viewers of your blog be thankful u to show the rarest song of the bollywood .


Inthe month of July 2009,I started operating Laptop primarily to enjoy old movie songs(at the age of 66 yrs.).I accidentally came across your site and now I feel that all my efforts are rewarded.I feel you are doing a great service to music lovers.I am overwhelmed by your dedication to your work.
This perticular song has rightly been appreciated by you,but at that time when this movie was released,hardly anybody appreciated it.
I reenjoyed it.


I can well imagine that this song was not appreciated when this movie was released. There was no market for songs like this at that time (in fact that is true even today) but fortunately we now have the means to enjoy such songs through internet.

Thanks a lot for your kind words. It is encouragement like yours that is my reward.


I came to know about this song only few months back. I was so tempted to put in farmaish but refrained from it as it was an English song.

Thanks to Arun for his comments here because of which I came to know that this song had been discussed more than a year back!

I cent percent agree with Atul that this is the best English song sung by any Bollywood singer.


This is wonderful song and both singer-actor Shanta Apte as well as its composer Kesho Rao Bhole have not only done fullest justice to Mr. Longfellow’s poem but added to its immortality in Indian conditions at a time when movie making was still in its infancy in India.What I feel extremely commendable is that the globally acclaimed singers etc. too sometimes try to make up their deficiencies in singing, expression or communication by their wild movements and gestures even in soft type of songs. But Shanta Apte has hardly moved from her place or resorted to unnecessary gesticulations while reciting the song and yet by her artistic and flawless expression, which must be the result of collective hard work of all in the team including the Composer, the Director etc, she has succeeded in creating a lasting impact on the minds of viewers or listeners, whatever the case may be.I am really fortunate to have viewed this song and express my sincere thanks to Mr. Atul Ji and others who have posted their comments on it.

(I. K, Koul)
Talib Kashmiri


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This blog discusses Bollywood songs of yesteryears. Every song has a brief description, followed by a video link, and complete lyrics of the song.

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