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

Cheen o Arab hamaara Hindustaan hamaara

Posted on: July 6, 2013

This article is written by Sadanand Kamath, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a regular contributor to this blog.

Shammi Kapoor got branded as the ‘rebel star’ after the success of his film ‘Tumsa Nahin Dekha’ (1957). In this film, for the first time, he moved away from the conventional type of acting set by the big three of his time – Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor and developed his own style of acting. Almost around the same time, Sahir Ludhianvi also got tagged as the ‘rebel poet’ after the phenomenon success of the films ‘Pyaasa’ (1957). The streak of ‘rebelliousness’ in Sahir was confirmed when the songs of ‘Phir Subah Hogi’ (1958) became hit though the film did not get as much success at the box office as was expected. Both these films have been known for Sahir’s hard hitting lyrics on the deprivation of minimum standard of living for the lower strata of the society.

Sahir Ludhianvi was a member of the Progressive Writers’ Movement ( or Association) which advocated, through their literary works, the eradication of social injustice and prevention of the exploitation of under-privileged classes. Most of the members of the Movement were influenced by the socialist and left-oriented ideologies. Some of the Hindi film’s other lyricists like Kaifi Azmi, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Shailendra, Ali Sardar Jafri, Jaan Nisar Akhtar etc were also the members of this Movement but one rarely finds them mixing this ideology with their Hindi film lyrics. Sahir Ludhianvi was an exception. Probably, his first show of rebellious nature came at the age of 13 when his rich landlord-father divorced his mother and filed a case against her for the custody of his only son. When the judge asked for his preference for staying, it was a momentous time for the young Sahir – whether to stay with his rich father luxuriously or spend time with his mother as a pauper. He chose the latter option and thus a rebel poet was born.

Sahir Ludhianvi wrote songs for Hindi films filled not only with his socialistic ideology, but also with topics like women’s emancipation, communal harmony, religious show-offs etc. He did not spare even God. He wrote dekh tere insaan ki haalat kya ho gayi bhagwaan kitna badal gaya bhagwaan, a parody of a popular song dekh tere sansaar ki haalat kya ho gayi bhagwaan kitna badal gaya insaan and aasmaan pe hai khuda aur zameen pe ham. In ‘Pyaasa’ (1957), he wrote hard hitting lyrics for two songs highlighting some social issues not yet tackled even after 10 years of independence – ye duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai and jinhe naaz hai hind par wo kahaan hai, the latter song was banned from playing on Vividh Bharati probably it was regarded as an anti-establishment song.

In ‘Phir Subah Hogi’ (1958), Sahir Ludhianvi seems to have adopted a somewhat different strategy to convey hard hitting social messages in a less depressing situations and in a lighter and sarcastic way. The song ‘Cheen o Arab hamaara Hindustan hamaara’ is a testimony of his skill giving a hard hitting message in a lighter vain. The song is sung by Mukesh and composed by Khaiyyam. By this song, Sahir Ludhianvi attempts to strike two targets. First at the Government in that even after 10 years of independence, it failed to address the problem of shelters to the needy. It economic policy resulted in increasing the gap between the rich and the poor and the basic education system did not have much relevance to the employment etc. Second, the song is also a parody of Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal’s ghazal from Tarana –e-Milli :

Cheen-o-Arab hamaara, Hindustan hamaara
Muslim hain hum, watan sara jahaan hamaara

The full ghazal is here.

It may not be out of place to mention that Dr Muhammad Iqbal’s secular credential advocating the composite Hindu-Muslim culture was very much in evidence when he wrote the ghazal in 1904 which became a part of Taraana-e-Hindi’:

Saare jahaan se achchha Hindustan hamaara
Hum bulbule hain iske ye gulsitaan hamaara

The full ghazal is here.

However, in the next 3-4 years, he turned into an Islamic philosopher and he wrote ‘Cheen-o-Arab hamaara’ as mentioned above in the same meter as that of ‘saare jahaan se achchha Hindustan hamaara’. Sahir Ludhianvi had a different view point and he thought of this parody to emphasize on human being irrespective of caste, creed and religion facing the problem. Hence, he replaced ‘muslim hain hum, watan saara jahaan hamaara’ with rehne ko ghar nahin hai, saara jahaan hamaara’. He has also used qaafiyas of Dr Allama Iqbal’s two ghazals like ‘kaarvaan’, ‘paasbaan’, ‘aasiyaan’ dard-e-nihaan’ in his song to highlight the problems of the oppressed.

More than 55 years have passed since Sahir wrote this song but almost everything he said in his song is still valid. According to a World Bank Survey, nearly 12 percent of Mumbai’s population have no home to live. They live on the footpath, railway stations, alleys, and open spaces. The same may be true of other metropolitan cities of India. Over a period of time, a few builders have cornered the available space in the cities. Our basic education system has little relevance to employment opportunities.

Despite the cynicism and sarcasm in this song, Sahir ends the song with a note of optimism.



Song-Cheen o Arab hamaara Hindustan hamaara (Phir Subah Hogi)(1958) Singer-Mukesh, Lyrics-Sahir Ludhianvi, MD-Khayyam

Lyrics ( Based on Video Clip)

hmm hmm hmm
hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm
la la la
la la la la la
Cheen-o-Arab hamaaraa
Hindustan hamaaraa
rehne ko ghar nahi hai
saaraa jahaan hamaaraa
Cheen-o-Arab hamaaraa
Hindustan hamaara
rehne ko ghar nahin hai
saaraa jahaan hamaara
Hindustan hamaara
hmm hmm
aa haa
la la la

kholi bhi chhin gayi hai
benchen bhi chhin gayi hain
sadkon pe ghoomtaa hai
ab kaaravaan hamaaraa
jeben hain apni khaali
kyun detaa warnaa gaali
wo santri hamaaraa
wo paasbaan hamaaraa
Cheen-o-Arab hamaaraa
Hindustan hamaaraa
rehne ko ghar nahin hai
saaraa jahaan hamaaraa
Hindustan hamaaraa
aa ha
haa haa aa

jitni bhi buildingen thhi
sethon ne baant li hain
footpaath bambai ke
hain aashiyaan hamaaraa
sone ko ham kalandar
aate hain bori bandar
har ek cooli yahaan ka
hai raazdaan hamaaraa
Cheen-o-Arab hamaaraa
Hindustan hamaaraa
rehne ko ghar nahin hai
saaraa jahaan hamaaraa
hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm

taaleem hai adhoori
milti nahin majoori
taleem hai adhoori
milti nahin majoori
maaloom kyaa kisi ko
dard-e-nihaan hamaaraa
Cheen-o-Arab hamaaraa
[one line dialogue]
patlaa hai haal hai apnaa
lekin lahoo hai gaadhaa
faulaad se banaa hai
har naujawaan hamaaraa
mil julke iss watan ko
aisaa sajaayenge ham
hairat se munh takegaa
saaraa jahaan hamaaraa
Cheen-o-Arab hamaaraa
Hindustan hamaaraa
rehne ko ghar nahi hai
saaraa jahaan hamaaraa
Cheen-o-Arab hamaaraa
Hindustan hamaaraa
saaraa jahaan hamaaraa
Cheen-o-Arab hamaaraa
Hindustan hamaaraa

12 Responses to "Cheen o Arab hamaara Hindustaan hamaara"

The excellent are complemented beautifully by the music and the acting of Raj Kapoor.

One of my favorite Sahir songs.

Thank you for posting this.


*excellent lyrics*

lagta ha nashta nahi kiya tha, isliye ek word kha gayi.


Great work


Sahir at his best !!
This movie, though slow, but was excellent, based on ‘Crime & Punishment. Khayyam’s finest score!
Thanks for the upload.


Excellent post !!! Khaiyyam’s music for RK’s song !!!
Thank you Sadanandji.


This song wasn’t posted yet??? I absolutely love this song – and somehow assumed this had been posted already.

I did a write-up for Sahir’s 400th (Atul has posted it) – that was a light-hearted song but in terms of “pure” Sahir, this song totally deserves to be up there and probably should have been his 400th (together with this write-up of course).

A lovely write-up too, Sadanandji. Indeed, Sahir’s hard-hitting and fiery lyrics – consistent with his mindset – are something to be always cherished. He will always have a special place in our hearts.



Thanks for your appreciation.

I had absolutely no idea that Sahir Ludhianvi was so near to 400 marks. I wrote this article on impulse keeping in abeyance the article on a Rafi solo which nahm has posted today.

Whenever the definitive history of Hindi film songs is written, Sahir Ludhianvi would always have a special place in it .



Thanks for posting this song which was long overdue. You are right that this is a parody of both ‘ taraana-e-hindi ‘ and ‘ taraana-e-milli ‘ .

It would have been interesting to read Dr. Iqbal’s poetic response of this parody, if he had lived through all this.



Love Sahir Ludhianvi’s songs


Wow what a song! What lyrics! Sahir saab is just amazing. Only yesterday I was watching a programme on YouTube on Sahir saab and there was a brief mention of this song. Today I get to hear it and wow! I take a bow Sahir saab, there will never be another like you!


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