Through this post, I want to express my unsurpassed admiration for one song–‘Kya janoon sajan’. Apart from having a most hauntingly painful melody, what I like the best about this song is its sensitive, yet teasing lyrics. This song has my favorite lyrics of all the Bollywood songs that I know of.
So, I’ll be largely discussing the lyrics of this song, and my interpretation of them. I’ll be giving a very literal English translation of the song, so no wonder, the lyrics will sound weird! 😉 Also, since I’ve heard more often the newer version of the song from the movie–“Dil vil Pyaar vyaar”, so would be discussing here the verses in the same sequence as in the newer version, in which the order of stanzas has been changed.
क्या जानूं सजन | Kyaa jaanoon saja | What do I know
होती है क्या ग़म की श्याम |Hoti hai kya gham ki shyaam | What is a dusk of despair
जल उठे सौ दिए | jal uthe sau diye | A hundred lamps got lit up
जब लिया तेरा नाम… | jab liya tera naam… | When I uttered your name…
I believe the above stanza is quite self-explanatory!
जब से मिली नज़र | Jab se milee nazar | Since when we had exchanged glances
माथे पे बन गए | maathe pe ban gaye | have become on my forehead
बिंदिया नयन तेरे | Bindiya nayan tere | Bindi (click) your eyes
देखो सजाना | Dekho sajana | Oh see, my dear!
Since, your eyes have fallen on me, your love has become a constant presence in my conscious, and just like a Bindi can be made out by any onlooker!
धर ली जो प्यार से | Dhar li jo pyaar se | When you had held with love
मेरी कलाइयां | Meri kalaaiyaan | My wrists
पिया, तेरी उंगलियाँ | Piya, teri ungaliyaan | Dear, your fingers
हो गई कंगना | Ho gaee kanganaa | Have become bracelet
Beloved, since when you had held my hand, I can constantly feel your presence in everything I do, though not restraining me in any way.
Kya janoon sajan…
काँटों में मैं खड़ी | Kaanton mein main khadi | Standing in thorns
नैनों के द्वार पे | Nainon ke dwaar pe | At the threshold of my eyes
निसदिन बहार के | Nis din bahaar ke | Every day, of spring
देखूं सपने | Dekhoon sapne | Do I watch dreams
Standing in a barren land (that is, without anyone’s love), among thorns (eyelashes?), I dream of spring (your love) with utmost eagerness (at the threshold of eyes–indicating the eagerness of wait?)
The following lines are most ambiguous and difficult to interpret because of a very unusual kind of inversion:
चेहरे की धूल क्या | Chehre ki dhool kya | The dust on my face 
चंदा की चांदनी | Chanda ki chaandni | The radiance of Moon 
उतरी तो रह गई | Utari to reh gayi | Persisted, when dropped off 
मुख पे अपनी | Mukh pe apni | On my face 
The ambiguity arises because line 3 can be associated with either 1 or 2.
Clubbing 3 with 1 gives:
The moment the dust on my face dropped off, the radiance of Moon was left on my face. This can be interpreted to mean, that ” O’ beloved, the moment I stopped looking at my barren surroundings and thought about you, my entire being had become a reflection of, and my face reflected your radiance.”
Clubbing 3 and 2 gives:
“O’ beloved, the moment I stopped mooning over you, I realized my stark reality, and my entire being was covered in the thirst that the desert around has come to represent–the dust that settled on my face.”
By the way, another blogger had done a post on her interpretation of this song here (click).