A number of years ago, and I can’t be bothered with finding out how many, Venus Records and Tapes unleashed upon the world one of the biggest catastrophes to date. It was none other than Altaf Raja’s “Tum to Thehre Pardesi”. It’s a song which is useful only while playing a spoken parlor game called ‘Antakshari’ or as background music to intense physical interrogation and torture. I approached CBI Director Amar Pratap Singh and asked him about the method of interrogation employed by the CBI and the possibility of using this ‘song’ in the background. He responded by saying, “While our interrogations often reach levels of extreme pain and stress, we are careful not to cross the threshold to being inhuman and hence have never used this song”. Good man.
A quick YouTube search led to a startling discovery. A nine minute upload dated August 3, 2009 titled “tum to thehre pardesi saath kya nibhavo ge Altaf Raja” has almost 1 million views. If this isn’t enough to give you a slight seizure, the top comment on the video is nothing sarcastic or demeaning but is in fact a gentleman pointing out that another singer sings this particular ‘song’ with heightened tuning skills and passion. This statement is not only incorrect and misinformed but is also absolutely delusional. Whoever said Altaf Raja’s songs were meant to have a tune? Or passion? Or even meaning, soul, structure, logic and appeal? However due to the obvious immense popularity of this song (albeit in extremely strict circles kept solely for the demented) I took it upon myself to dissect this song and try to find the underlying meaning behind the lyrics to find out if there truly is something more to this song than meets the eye.
And so we begin.
Judging by the name of the song and the underlying emotion behind it, we assume that Altaf Raja (whose name means the King of Kindness) is singing about a woman, possibly one that he loves. While I would not put it beyond the King of Kindness to sing a song about a man, let’s give him some credit. For now. The opening lines of the song go something like this:
Tum toh thehre pardesi, saath kya nibhaaoge,
Tum toh thehre pardesi, saath kya nibhaaoge,
Subah pehli gaadi se ghar ko laut jaaoge.
Subah pehli gaadi se ghar ko laut jaaoge.
We make the assumption here (based of course, on the lyrics) that he is singing this song about a person who is a foreigner, or is at least of foreign descent. He goes on to say that since the said person in the song is a foreigner (or of foreign descent), the person is therefore not loyal. Now this is the first reason why this song should have been banned. What was the censor board smoking that they allowed this obviously racist song to be released? It is not not only immoral but also extremely disrespectful to all foreigners for Altaf Raja to label them as meandering immoral heartless bastards. He stresses that the said person in the song shall be taking the first train home in the morning. While the said person might not have had such an idea, after listening to this song and his tune, they definitely must have made up their mind.
Khichein Khichein hue rehte ho kyon,
Khichein Khichein hue rehte ho, dhyan kiska hain.
Zara batao toh yeh imtihaan kiska hain?
Hamein bhula do magar yeh to yaad hi hoga,
Nayi sadak pe purana makaan kiska hain.
Jab tumhein akele mein meri yaad aayegi,
Aasuon ki baarish mein tum bhi bheeg jaoge.
Tum toh thehre pardesi saath kya nibhaooge.
Altaf Raja now turns his attention directly to said person in the song. He questions her as to why she is always so stretched (possibly for time). It is clear that she’s ignored his every request to meet or talk, and Altaf Raja therefore asks her why she is being such a bitch. After all, who is she thinking about? He then goes on to question her about an examination, which she may or may not have taken. The song leaves this as an open question to the listener. It’s a fairly terrible one, since I can think of no one who gives a shit about any examination of any sort. Except my fourth grade Math teacher. He goes on to say that when the said person shall be alone and will think of the King of Kindness (possibly to murder him slowly, I cannot fathom another reason why) she will be drenched in a rain of tears. Altaf Raja is possibly pointing out to the person that they suffer from a corneal disorder, or more seriously, dry eye syndrome or Epiphora. We can however after some thinking, safely rule out the possibility that Altaf Raja is offering a medical opinion, because he is not a rational human being let alone an ophthalmologist. He then continues being racist.
Gam ke dhup mein dil ki hasratein na jal jaaye,
Tujhko dekhenge sitaarein toh ziya maangenge,
Aur pyaase teri julfo se ghata maangenge.
Apne kandhe se dupatta na sarakne dena,
Warna budhe bhi jawani ki duwa maangenge imaan se.
Kesuwo ke saaye mein kab hamein sulaaoge,
Tum toh thehre pardesi saath kya nibhaaoge.
Altaf Raja now moves on to a verse with a much deeper meaning. He now warns the person in the song that in the sunlight of depression, the heart’s wishes should not burn away. While this sentence is borderline moronic, it also strengthens the worldwide sentiment that Altaf Raja is in fact, a fucking idiot. He then warns the person in the song that if the stars see her the way she is, they will ask for her shine and lustre. He also mentions that everyone who is thirsty will ask for the clouds from her stray hair. They’ve possibly been thirsty so far because they’ve been asking for clouds from people’s hair, they should be asking for a bottle of Bisleri from a convenience store owner. Altaf Raja did not keep very smart company. And he’s racist. Altaf Raja then warns the girl in the song that she should not let the ‘dupatta’ slip from her shoulders, for if this happens, even the old men around her will hope to be youths again. Altaf Raja also hung around some pretty perverted old people. He ends the stanza by asking her when she will let him sleep in the shadow of her hair (the answer to which by now has been firmly established: never) and continues being racist. That’s the fourth time now. I stated reasons two, three, four, five and six as to why this song should have been banned.
Hang on, need to pour Felix another Jack Daniels. This is his thirty second since the beginning of this article. Right, let’s continue.
Mujhko katal kar daalo shauk se magar socho,
Is shehare namuraad ki izzat karega kun?
Arey hum hi chale gaye toh mohabbat karega kaun?
Is ghar ki dekhbhal ko viraaniyan to hu,
Jaale hata diye jo hifazat karega kun?
Mere baad tum kispar yeh bijliya giraaoge?
Tum to thehre pardesi saath kya nibhaaoge.
Altaf Raja now tells the girl in the song that she can kill him with pleasure. Had she taken this opportunity, Venus would probably never had a chance to release this 15 minute song and I wouldn’t be sitting here trying to decipher it. Unfortunately she didn’t. He asks her that even if she kills him, who will pay their respects to his soul? Additionally, once he leaves then who will love her? He then talks trash about taking care of the house and clearing some webs and doing such things for her, which might have swayed her but then he talks about himself in the third person for a little too long and poses way too many questions. He then asks her that after him, who will she strike with lightning? The King of Kindness is mistaking a mortal woman for a cloud. Easy on the weed, Altaf.
Yu to zindagi apni maikade mein gujri hain,
Ashko mein husno rang samota raha hu main,
Aanchal kisika thaam ke rota raha hu main.
Nikhra hain jake ab kahi chehra shahur ka,
Barso ise sharab se dhota raha hun main.
Behki hui ahaar ne peena sikha diya,
Badmast bargo baar ne peena sikha diya,
Peeta hun is garaj se ke jeena hai chaar din,
Marne ke intezar ne peena sikha diya.
In nashili aankhon se kab hamein pilaoge?
Tum to thehre pardesi, saath kya nibhaaoge?
Altaf Raja says that his life has been spent in a bar. This provides some insight as to why he believes the things he does, he should probably have spent a little more time in school. He goes on to say that he’s been entangled in tears all his life. Firstly, either he doesn’t know what the fuck tears are or he has an even worse medical condition than the girl in this song and his eyes are crying ropes. Altaf spends six lines thereafter talking about the things he’s learnt to drink from and then mentions something about intoxicated eyes. He then talks about becoming a manic-depressive (possibly by reading his songs over and over), about waiting for his death (which is long overdue) and talks about more booze.
By this point, it’s clear that Altaf Raja (King of Kindness my ass) is drunk out of his freaking mind and is no longer coherent. The song ends with 47 lines of incessant rambling about seasons, time travel, nostalgia, graves and I think he also mentions the seventh episode of the fourth season of the Big Bang Theory and touches upon the Second World War. In case you don’t know, the full version of this song is a shade below fifteen minutes in duration. It is also hilarious because Altaf Raja spends quite a bit of time in a small wooden boat making gestures with his hand in a ridiculous haircut. He attempts to sing in the video, but mostly fails. The video also moves on to Altaf Raja standing in the middle of a water park with a smile on his face as he sings the verse about death and booze.
Felix and I both agree that there is no greater meaning to this song, it should have been banned and the hype is purely illogical.
And Altaf Raja is a racist druggie.