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

Ye to paththaron ka shahar hai

Posted on: March 19, 2014

This article is written by Sadanand Kamath, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a regular contributor to this blog. This article is meant to be posted in If this article appears in sites like and etc then it is piracy of the copyright content of and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

The lyricist, the music director and the singer are the trinity who are involved in the making of film songs, making their own contributions in popularising the song. However, right from the early days of talkies films 1931, the lyricists have remained in the shadows of music directors and singers. I have some 78 RPM records of films of 40s which do not contain the names of lyricists. Even All India Radio and Radio Ceylon (Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation) rarely used to announce the name of the lyricists while airing Hindi film songs.

It was due to untiring efforts of Sahir Ludhianvi that All India Radio began to give credit to lyricists as well alongwith singers and music directors sometime in early 1950s. However, even today, lyricists are still regarded as the poor cousins of singers and music directors when it comes to getting credits for the creation of songs. Many of my VCDs/DVDs of films of the golden era of Hindi film music do not even display the names of lyricists on their covers.

It appears that music lovers too are to be blamed for this sorry state of affairs vis a vis lyricists as compared to singers and music directors. Most of my friends and relatives who are music lovers are interested in finding out about the names of singers and music directors but do not care to know about the lyricists of those songs. I was also like them at one time. When I developed interest in Hindi film songs in early 70s, I would be always interested in finding out the names of the singers and music directors of the songs I liked in that order and it was seldom that I inquired about the lyricist of the songs.

It was only in respect of a few popular songs like main zindagi ka saath nibhaata chala gaya and kisi ki muskurahaton pe hi nisaar that I became interested in knowing the names of the lyricist. Now, in my scheme of the things, lyricists stand first in the trinity of Hindi film songs irrespective of whether or not the lyrics of the songs are poetic.

My revised outlook towards lyricists has led me to stumble upon some of the lesser known lyricists who, by and large, had short stints in Hindi film industry after which they went into oblivion. Some of such unfortunate lyricists whom I admire for their sheer poetry in some of the songs they penned are Kaif Irfani, Shewan Rizvi, Saba Afghani, Kafil Azar, Irshad and many more. Even lyricist like Madhukar Rajasthani who had penned many unforgettable non-filmy songs remained unsung in the Hindi film industry. All these lyricists seem to be poets who got associated with Hindi film industry mostly during the golden era of Hindi film music. I guess that some of them may have migrated to Pakistan in 50-60s. I find the name of Shewan Rizvi as lyricist in a couple of Pakistani films.

Recently, I was searching for information on one such ‘unsung’ lyricist viz. A Irshad who had written lyrics for 8 films out of which four films were of Kishore Kumar’s home productions. I was impressed by his lyrics of two songs from ‘Door Ka Rahi’ (1971) – beqaraar dil tu gaaye jaa and panthhi hoon main uss path ka. Unfortunately, not much information is available about him. In fact, when I searched for him in Google, the name of Irshad Kamil, the lyricist of the new generation Hindi films cropped up quite often. Having won Filmfare Awards for best lyricist thrice he is one of the most discussed lyricists on the internet as well as in the film magazines/news papers these days.

It was during my searches on Irshad that I came across a hitherto unheard song ‘ye to pattharon ka shaher hai yahaan kisko apna banaaiye’ sung by Mohammed Rafi from an equally unheard film PATTHARON KA SHAHER (1972). The lyrics of the song was written by Irshad and set to music by Usha Khanna. I could not get any information on the film except that in a couple of websites, names of Saira Banu and Suresh Chatwal appeared as actors. A search on revealed that there was another song ‘jo zubaan e dil na samajh sake’ sung by Mahesh Chander. Fortunately, both these songs were available on YT. It turned out that both the songs had the same lyrics making them different versions of the same song.

The film was not released but as per Saregama website, the two songs recorded were released by HMV in 1972 on EP. It appears some dialogues of the film were also given as a prelude to the songs to fill the recording space in EP. After carefully listening to both the songs, I guess that both these songs may have been picturised on different situations in the film. Even the musical interludes of these two versions are different. I also guess that while the Rafi’s version of the song may have been picturised on Suresh Chatwal, Mahesh Chander’s version of the song may have been picturised on a different actor. I will not be surprised if the second version of the song turns out to be the background song being played at the time of showing credit title of the film, it being a title song.

Mahesh Chander is a ghazal singer of 60s who went into oblivion once Jagjit Singh made a foray into ghazal singing. He was the son of legendary singer and composer of Sindhi songs, Master Chander. Later Mahesh Chander concentrated mainly in Sindhi songs which he composed himself. Recently, I came across a LP album, ‘Jigar Se Jigar Tak’ (2013) in which he composed ghazals of Jigar Moradabadi and also sang three ghazals for this album. His other Hindi film song which I am aware of is ik shab ke musaafir hain ham to.

As it often happens in cases of unreleased and flop films, these two beautifully worded and rendered songs got lost in history when the film itself was not released. With this, the song’s lyricist Irshad also remained unsung.

Audio (Rafi’s Version)

Audio(Mahesh Chander’s version)

Song-Ye to paththaron ka shahar hai (Pathharon Ka Shahar)(1972)(UR) Singer-Rafi/ Mahesh Chandar, Lyrics-A Irshad, MD-Usha Khanna

Lyrics (based on Rafi’s version)

hmm hmm hmm hmm
hmm hmm hmm hmm

jo zubaan e dil na samajh sakey
jo na keh sakey kabhi dil ki baat
wohi but hai harsu nighaah mein
jahaan dekhiye jahaan jaayiye
thhi nazar ko chaah ki aarzoo
yehi ek apni thhi justaju
ye to pattharon ka shaher hai
yahaan kisko apna banaaiye

wohi walwale wohi marhale
wohi subah o shaam ke silsile
wohi ham rahe wohi tum rahe
wohi zindgaani ke gham rahe
na naseeb apna sambhal saka
na hi waqt hamko badal saka
yahaan zindagi ek zaher(/) hai
ye to ek paraaya shaher hai
kise daag dil ke dikhaaiye
kise daag dil ke dikhaaiye
ye kahaani kisko sunaaiye
ye to pattharon ka shaher hai
yahaan kisko apna banaaiye

aaa aa aaaaa
aaa aa aaaaa
aaa aa aa aaaaa
hmm hmm hmm hmm
hmm hmm hmm

mujhe chod kar wo chale gaye
mere dil ki dil mein hi reh gayi
ik ummeed thi jo bujhi bujhi
mere aansuon mein wo bah gayi
mere dard e dil ka ho kya bhala
mera chaaragar hi chala gaya
main jiyun to aakhir kis liye
ke nahin hai koi mere liye
kahaan jaake maut ko dhoondhiye
kahaan jaake maut ko dhoondhiye
kahaan jaan apni ganwaaniye
ye to pattharon ka shaher hai
yahaan kisko apna banaaiye

10 Responses to "Ye to paththaron ka shahar hai"

Sadanand ji,

Thanks a ton, for brining on this song here. This has been a favorite since the radio days, as a child. There is a haunting quality about this song that has settled into my mind, since I first heard it. The lines
“wohi walwale wohi marhale
“wohi subah o shaam ke silsile
“wohi ham rahe wohi tum rahe
“wohi zindgaani ke gham rahe”

are as if inscribed in memory. The rendering is incomparable.

Thanks again



You said it. This song has started haunting me ever since I heard it for the first time a few days back.


Heard it for the first time. Thanks for introducing.

I heard the Rafi version first, and thought the word is ‘charagar’ in these lines :

mere dard e dil ka ho kya bhala
mera ‘ chaaragar ‘ hi chala gaya

Than I heard the Mahesh chandar version, the word is more clearer there.


Interesting observation nahmji. The words being simple, why a person like Rafi made the mistake? Hard to understand. Or is the “chaaragar” word in existence?


Upon listening to Mahesh Chander’s version, I am sure that the word is chaaragar only. So Rafi Sb is correct, I was mistaken. Nahmji, what is the meaning of the word? Please let us know. Aap ko Hindi aur Urdu, dono acchi tarah aata hai. Thanks.


I heard the Rafi’s version along with the words of the song and clearly felt a discrepancy in the line ‘wohi zindgaani ke gham rahe’.
Rafi seems to have used the word ‘dam’ rather than ‘gham’ in the line above.
I heard this line 6-7 times and never heard Rafi pronouncing the sound of hard g (or more precisely the sound of Urdu letter ‘ghain’) while using the word in question; he seems to have used the word ‘dam’ (meaning ‘breath’), not ‘gham’ (meaning ‘unhappiness’).
I think ‘wohi zindagaani ke dam rahe’ (meaning ‘the same breaths of life’) would also make perfect sense in this song.
Interestingly, Mahesh Chander is absolutely clear in pronouncing the word ‘gham’ in the line in question.
It needs to be rechecked whether the lyricist really meant to use the word ‘gham’.


The word is indeed ‘chaaragar’. Thanks for pointing out.


‘chaaragar’ means a ‘healer’ or one who offers ‘remedy’.

In the context of ‘mere dard e dil ka ho kya bhala’ in the previous line, the word ‘chaaragar’ fits well in the second line.


The word ‘chaaragar’ also appears prominently in the qawwaali from ‘Barsaat Ki Raat’ – “Naa To Karvaan Ki Talaash Hai . . .”.

One of the lines in the starting part is

“Jo Dawaa Ke Naam Pe Zehar De
“Usey Chaaragar Ki Talaash Hai”



Rafi’s version:


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