SAHIBA

Simran Kaur Dhadli

Simiran Kaur Dhadli’s flips the perspective of the infamous, tragic story of Sahiba and Mirza by speaking to Sahiba’s perspective and challenging her portrayal as Mirza’s murderer. The song’s minimal production enhances Simiran’s powerful vocals and lyrics. Simiran’s tone throughout the song conveys a sense of frustration and sadness.

Lyrics Overview

Simiran defends Sahiba’s actions and exposes the unjust blame placed on her. Simiran describes Sahiba torn between letting Mirza kill her brothers or dealing with their wrath. At the emotional climax of the song, Sahiba feels immense pain as she watches her brothers murder Mirza. In Sahiba, Simiran exposes the unfair abuse that Sahiba faces as a symbol of betrayal. She delivers a beautiful, moving, and well-constructed argument in Sahiba’s defence by portraying her as a tragic hero.

Lyrics Translated

Intro

Ik khoon yaar da ye duja kita pyaar da
I killed my beloved and my love.

Ve loki mainu kehnde bewafa ve mirzeya
Oh Mirza, people have labeled me as unfaithful

Keda das kita main gunaah
Tell me what I did wrong.

Chorus

Baajon tere pal vi na jatti ne si saareya
Without you, I couldn’t live even for a second

Piche tere sahiba gayi si aa ve mirzeya
Oh Mirza, I followed you into death

Taan vi lokan layian tohamat’an
People still blame me

Taan vi lokan layian tohamat’an (1) ve mirzeya
Oh Mirza, People still blame me

Tan vi lokan layian tohamat’an
People still blame me

Verse 1

Keete tarle bathere
I pleaded so much

Mangi khair teri veeran ton
I pleaded my brothers to let you live

Main khaure kini vaari hath jode ve
Who knows how many times I begged them

Ammi jaayaan (2) deyan sinneyan cho vekh nayi si hone
I couldn’t bear to watch your arrows pierce my brother’s chests

Methon langde main teer taiyon tode ve  
That’s why I broke your arrows

Veer’an wal vekh kukh maa di yaad aa gayi
Seeing my brothers reminded me of when we shared our mother’s womb

Kiwein dindi das veer main maraa ve mirzeya
Oh Mirza, how could I let you kill my brothers

Ohna naal vi pyar si bada
They have my love too

Chorus

Baajon tere pal vi na jatti ne si saareya
Without you, I couldn’t live even for a second

Piche tere sahiba gayi si aa ve mirzeya
Oh Mirza, I followed you into death

Taan vi lokan layian tohamat’an
People still blame me

Taan vi lokan layian tohamat’an ve mirzeya
Oh Mirza, People still blame me

Taan vi lokan layian tohamat’an
People still blame me

Verse 2

Pehla takk tere te gandasse da jo wajja
From the first strike of the axe that hit you

Maula jaane sahiba odon hi so moh gayi
God knows that it ended me

Rooh meri pinda chadd gayi si jadon vekheya ke mirzay di akh band ho gayi
My soul left my body as I saw Mirza’s eyes shut.

Pyaar si ruhani mera nai si jismani
My love was devotional and not just physical

Sir thalle patt ajj vi dharaan ve mirzeya
I would still let you sleep in my lap

Main kyon mehne jag de jaraan
Why should I take all the blame?

Chorus

Baajon tere pal vi na jatti ne si saareya
Without you, I couldn’t live even for a second

Piche tere sahiba gayi si aa ve mirzeya
Oh Mirza, I followed you into death

Taan vi lokan layian tohamat’an
People still blame me

Taan vi lokan layian tohamat’an ve mirzeya
Oh Mirza, People still blame me

Taan vi lokan layian tohamat’an
People still blame me


Verse 3

Tere naam naal loki jod’de ne yaari
People associate your name with loyalty/committment

Mere naam naal jod’de gadaari ve
People associate my name with betrayal

Ajj vi mashook dhokhebaaz main kahawaan
Even today people call me a dishonest lover

Saukhi siweyan ch vi na main vichari ve
I can’t rest in my grave, such is my helplessness

Kehda das daag (3) ve main ishqe nu laaya
What stain did I put on love?

Tere layi main das hor ki kara, ve mirzeya
Oh mirza, what else could I do for you

Je tu mare naal main maraan
In your death, I have died too.

Chorus

Baajon tere pal vi na jatti ne si saareya
Without you, I couldn’t live even for a second

Piche tere sahiba gayi si aa ve mirzeya
Oh Mirza, I followed you into death

Taan vi lokan layian tohamat’an
People still blame me

Taan vi lokan layian tohamat’an ve mirzeya
Oh Mirza, People still blame me

Taan vi lokan layian tohamat’an
People still blame me

Vocab
  1. ਤੁਹਮਤਾਂ, tohamat'an (noun, feminine): blame; false accusations
  2. ਜਾਇਆ, jaayaan (adjective and noun): born to, offspring
  3. ਦਾਗ, daag (noun, masculine): spot; stain
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Song Breakdown

The Story of Sahiba and Mirza

The tale of Mirza and Sahiba is an age-old Punjabi folktale. Mirza and Sahiba were deeply in love, but Sahiba’s parents did not approve and arranged her marriage back in their village. When Mirza heard this, he gathered his things to ride to Sahiba’s village despite numerous warnings that Sahiba’s brothers would kill him. Mirza paid no heed, and he arrived just before the wedding. He snuck up to Sahiba's room and the two eloped on Mirza's horse. Once they reached a safe distance, Sahiba and Mirza took refuge under a tree. Mirza rested his head on Sahiba's lap until he fell asleep. Meanwhile, Sahiba's brothers realized something was wrong and began hunting Sahiba and Mirza down.

Sahiba heard her brothers closing in as Mirza lay asleep. There was no chance of escape, she had to make a choice. Mirza could easily slaughter her brothers with his bow. She was torn between her love for her brothers and her love for Mirza. She decided to break Mirza's arrows, hoping that her brothers would spare them. Mirza woke up to the sound of Sahiba's brothers encircling them. He reached for his arrows, only to see them broken. He looked at Sahiba in disbelief. Sahiba pleaded to her brothers to spare Mirza, but her heart broke when she saw Mirza struck down. The pain and anguish killed her, and both Mirza and Sahiba died together.

In Punjabi culture, Mirza is a romantic symbol. He is seen as a victim of his love for Sahiba, while Sahiba has been portrayed as Mirza's murderer. Her act of breaking Mirza's arrows is depicted as the ultimate betrayal. In Sahiba, Simiran Kaur Dhadli flips this narrative; she allows us to empathize with Sahiba, adding her unique twist to this iconic story.

Blame

Blame is the core theme throughout this song that Simiran addresses.

Kuldeep Manak famously sang, 

Jatti [Sahiba] ne daag ishq nu lata
Sahiba stained her love

and in Sahiba, Simiran directly responds by asking, 

Kehda Das Daag Ve Main Ishqe Nu Laaya
What stain did I put on love?”

Sahiba has been framed as the perpetrator of Mirza's death for breaking his arrows, but Simiran shows us that she is just as much a victim as Mirza.

The blame that Simiran describes is something many listeners can find relatable. Whether in the household or the media, women can be found receiving unjust blame. It is not uncommon in Indian society for women to be silenced and bear the burden of shame. Traditionally, women are depicted as submissive, and women defending their actions could be seen as defiant. Simiran lifts the silence and draws attention to the sacrifices made by Sahiba and women everywhere.

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