(Part 8) Boat Songs

The 7th part based on ‘Boat Songs’ was published in April this year and I had said that I was to take a break from the series, and return with the last post.
So far I have covered 70 songs and if we add the songs in the comments, it crosses 100. The first part was published in August 2021 and I want to thank all the readers for sustaining and bearing with me for such a long time. It’s one of my weaknesses that I usually fail to shortlist songs on a particular theme. So I tend to always go for several parts where the songs can be segregated in subcategories for an easier presentation.

During the ‘boat journey’, blog readers, Partha ji and Richard, had suggestions. Richard suggested putting together another boat song list, for people singing about a boat or boat ride who aren’t actually on the boat at the time.
Parthaji suggested collecting songs where the word Naiya is used metaphorically. For example, songs with the words Jeevan Naiya to denote the life journey.
I liked the idea and I promised to come up with the list. But I was unable to do it so far. Broadly speaking the songs on the list would fulfill both the suggestions. In the majority of the songs, the word Naiya or Naav, finds its use to denote the life journey. And none of the songs (well! Perhaps except one) are picturised on a boat. Very soon I’m planning a new series on yet another vehicle. But before I do that I want to finish the incomplete one.

It’s been a tradition to use the metaphor of a boat and its journey across two sides of a river or sea, for the journey of a person in its entire life. The proverb ‘नैया पार लगाना’ means to be successful or achieve one’s goals. And many times a character from a movie requests God to help him/her for success or to sustain through difficult or challenging circumstances. And I must say, the majority of the songs on the list fall in this category.
Life facing various miseries is compared with a boat that is sailing across a wide ocean, and experiencing problems due to tidal waves and disturbances due to bad weather. And hence the words ‘पार लगाना’ that denote reaching successfully at the desired destination.


It’s not a popular song, but would you tell me the song in the above screencap?

But I must add that, I could also find a few joyous and happy songs as well. And it’s not always about the journey of life, in some of the songs, it’s the journey of a heart or the soul in a romantic relationship. I think I’ve succeeded in building up enough curiosity about the list.

So here I am with ten songs, where the word Naiya is used metaphorically or people talk about a boat journey, but are not sailing on a boat. None of the songs is picturised on a boat (perhaps except one). The songs are not in any particular order.
Let’s begin the journey,

1. Dole Hriday Ki Naiya – Vidyapati (1937) Kanan Devi / R C Boral – Kidar Sharma
A wonderful and captivating song by Kanan Devi. She’s talking about her mind, which is disturbed and she is already anxious. It seems her beloved is not with her. Though not metaphorically used, the word naiya means the mind in this song. I’m so glad to get such a good quality video. The short song, not even a full two minutes, manages to mesmerise . If we look at the year of its release , it’s possible that the song was recorded live during the shooting.

2. Bigadi Banane Wale Bigadi Bana De – Badi Behen (1949) Suraiya / Husnalal Bhagatram – Qamar Jalalabadi
This song was mentioned by Richard as an example of his suggested theme. Suraiya talks about the difficulties in her life and seeks God’s help to clear her way. Her voice and expressions very aptly convey the agony of the character she plays. The male actor with her is perhaps Ulhas, I’m not sure!
The song is still very popular and is certainly my favourite.

3. Dole Dole Mere Jeevan Ki Naiya – Piya Milan Ki Aas (1961) Lata Mangeshkar & Mahendra Kapoor / S N Tripathi – Bharat Vyas
This song was added by Partha Chanda ji when he suggested the theme to me in his comments on one of the earlier parts of the series. S N Tripathi was an underrated composer. His tunes used to be extremely sweet and melodious and how can this soulful song be an exception! Dipped in agony and melody, the song is presented as a bhajan by Amita. She is passing through a rough patch with lots of troubles in her life. She seeks help from God.

4. Dagmag Dagmag Dole Naiya – Jogan (1950) Geeta Dutt / Bulo C Rani – Kidar Sharma
Geeta Dutt got instant recognition yet again with the wonderful Meera bhajans, she sang for the film, Jogan under the baton of Bulo C Rani. She sang 10+ solos for the movie and the majority of the songs were popular. Yet another song using the metaphor of boat for life.

5. Na Jane Kidhar Aaj Meri Naav Chali – Jhoola (1941) Ashok Kumar / Saraswati Devi – Kavi Pradeep
One of the most popular songs of Ashok Kumar. The word, Naav is used for his life journey, though he doesn’t call it Jeevan Naiya explicitly. If we’re expecting mainly bhajans addressed to God for today’s theme, for a refreshing change, a light hearted song. Though the song does talk about a romantic connection, I’ve no idea about the situation in the song.

6. Meri Naav Padi Majhdhar – Bhakta Dhruv (1947) Lalita Deulkar / Shankar Rao Vyas – Pandit Indra
Just listen to this bhajan by Lalita Deulkar. I know it’s not that popular. It appears that the on-screen actress plays Suniti, the Queen of King Uttanpaad. She was Dhruv’s mother and devotee of Lord Vishnu. She dedicates her life at the feet of Lord Vishnu and has full faith in him. The expressions of complete devotion and dedication are very aptly sung by Lalita Deulkar.

7. Jeevan Ki Naav Na Dole – Shakuntala (1943) Jayashree / Vasant Desai – Dewan Sharar
It’s one of my favourites by Vasant Desai. What a beautiful orchestration. Jayashree sings it well, though her face appears much too blank to me. She plays Shakuntala and the only aim in her life is her son, Bharat.

8. Naiya Ka Meri Tu Hi Khewaiya – Zamana (1957) Rafi & Chorus / Salil Chowdhury – Indeevar
This is the only song on today’s list without a video. So I’m not sure if it’s picturised on a boat or not. But I certainly have the benefit of doubt, I take the liberty to post it. An excellent bhajan sung by Rafi. The song actually fuses traditional Indian bhajan and the choir singing along with the church bells. The result is easy on the ear bhajan. I couldn’t get much information about the storyline.

9. Maajhi Meri Naiya Ko – Char Paise (1955) Lata Mangeshkar / B D Burman – Sartaj Rahmani
Do you remember the series on Lata’s association with lesser known composers? In one of the parts, I mentioned the composer, Barendra Dev Burman. He composed for just a couple of Hindi films. The song is from one of the films. Beautiful looking Shyama sings with dreamy eyes. She is addressing the song to a photo, which must be of her beloved’s. She has full faith in him and is asking him to take her with him. Again a Naiya song that isn’t a sad one, but romantic.

After all these songs from the Golden era of HFM, I take a leap into the 2000s. This one’s my favourite. And I’m sure many readers would be liking it too.

10. Prem Ki Naiya Hai Ram Ke Bharose – Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009) Neeraj Shridhar & Suzanne D’Mello / Pritam Chakraborty – Irshad Kamil
A fun song to end the list! Ranbir Kapoor steals the show with his funny and apt facial expressions, but I must say, Katrina Kaif looks drop dead gorgeous. The full movie was fun to watch and I remember watching it a couple of times in the theatre. So after adding bhajans, sad songs, romantic songs, I’m ending the list with a comedy song.

Would you add a song?

Disclaimer –
Mehfil Mein Meri, claims no credit for any image, screenshots or songs posted on this site. Images on this blog are posted to make the text interesting. The images and screenshots are the copyright of their original owners. The song links are shared from YouTube, only for the listening convenience of music lovers. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies.

27 Replies to “(Part 8) Boat Songs”

  1. Dear Anup ji,

    Grateful thanks for your acknowledgements – it is always a Team Effort and I feel proud to be part of your Team.

    Without much ado, and before someone else beats me to it, here is a song from the 1952 Film “ZALZALA” (=earthquake?). The Film was based on Tagore’s controversial 1934 Novel “CHAR ADHYAY” (=Four Chapters) set against the backdrop of the Freedom Movement. The Film was Produced and Directed by a German National PAUL ZILS (1915-1979) who, apparently, spent quite some time on the Indian Film Scene before returning to his Homeland. Although the song is about “JEEVAN NAIYYA”, I am positive, given the beat, that it it features a Boat being rowed (note the words “hain ho….”

    (जीवन नैय्या …. बहती जाये , है हो ……)

    And what do you know, there actually was a Film “JEEVAN NAIYYA” made in 1936 and had the iconic song “कोई हमदम ना रहा कोई सहारा ना रहा ” sung by Ashok Kumar!

    About songs on other forms of transport, I have searched high and low, but could find only one song on a cycle rickshaw, with the puller ANANT MARATHE pulling at breakneck speed 🙂

    (चोरी चोरी दिल का लगाना बुरी बात है …..)

    With sincere best wishes for all your future efforts. You have Miles to go, while I am at that stage when one is waiting for the Boatman to ferry me across 🙂

    With warm regards


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Partha ji for suggesting the theme. It’s indeed an interesting theme.
      Thank you for adding the song from Zalzala. It’s possibly picturised on a boat.
      I won’t disclose the next vehicle series on the blog, but it’s related in a way to the song you’ve added.
      Your association with the blog would be a long one, I’m sure.



  2. What an interesting idea, and so well executed. I must admit I hadn’t heard of most of these songs, and I can’t think of any, either! But I must tell you about a bit of personal trivia: my father’s eldest brother, Harry Liddle, had gone to Sweden as a young man, for higher education. There he learnt a hymn which he translated into Hindi. It goes a bit like this: Yeh zindagi hai ek samundar ka safar/Aur lehron mein se hokar yeh guzarti/Par kashti ka maanjhi hai pyaara Maseeh. The entire bhajan focuses around the idea of Christ being the boatman of the boat that is the believer’s life.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Madhuji for your appreciation. I’m glad you liked the post and I’m sure you would enjoy and like the unknown songs as well.
      Thank you for sharing the personal trivia. A boat journey has become extinct now, we get a chance only occasionally for a boat ride. But I think in last century, it was used quite frequently across the world. The boats, boatman and the boat journey must have been an interesting aspect of the lives then.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Of course, the iconic
    Meri pyari Bindu..
    Meri prem ki naiya
    Beech banwar mein
    Jhat pat paar laga de.


    What a movie! What performances!! What music!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Another song with word “Naiya” from the movie “My Friend”
    “Naiya Meri Chalti Jaye” though not sure it as covered in your last episodes, however a beautiful song, from the so called lean period of Rafiji.


  5. Anup ji ,
    One more interesting nd different kind of कश्ती का सफर in the series ..

    Liked the songs .

    In movie अमर , लता sings for निम्मी
    खामोश हैं खेवनहार मेरा
    नैया मेरी डूबी जाती हैं

    Let me see if I can add a marathi song ?!!!

    With best wishes ,
    Pramod Godbole .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Pramod ji for the appreciation. This one’s the last part of the boat series.
      And thanks for sharing an apt song.
      I’m sure you will find a befitting Marathi song too.
      Waiting for the addition.



  6. Dear Anup ji,

    Here is a “JEEVAN NAIYYA” Song with a difference :

    (तुम मेरी जीवन नैय्या हो …..)

    With warm regards


    Liked by 1 person

  7. Anup,
    This is a unique classification and you have included some of my great favourites.

    Now that you have put it up, ‘naiya’ songs in a metaphorical sense are too many and perhaps more than any other class of Boat Songs. How about:

    ‘Ab tere siwa kaun mera Krishna Kanhaiya
    Bhagwan kinare se laga de meri naiya’

    ‘Prem ki naiya chali jal mein mori
    Chhoti si naiya chali jal mein.’


    Liked by 1 person

    1. AKji,
      Thank you so much for your appreciation.
      I agree there could be many songs that use the word metaphorically.

      Thank you for sharing the songs.
      I’ll take the opportunity to add links here,

      Ab Tere siwa Kaun Mera

      Prem ki Naiya Chali Jal Mein

      Wonderful songs.



  8. Anup, I am also very glad to have influenced this latest fine and interesting collection of boat songs. At first, I confess, I did not even remember making the suggestion, but then the Suraiya song popped into my mind (before I scrolled down enough to see it in your list) and I thought, ah, yes… 🙂 As you know, “Bigdi Bananewale” is certainly my favorite among these songs and is a contender for my favorite Suraiya song of all. (And by the way, I also am pretty certain that the male actor in this scene is Ulhas.)

    Another favorite of mine is the very first song on your list, Kanan Devi’s “Dole Hriday Ki Naiya.” I’ve known about this song for a number of years now and have always enjoyed this scene. (I have not actually seen all of Vidyapati, though I have watched a few Kanan Devi films from the 1930s and early ’40s. I would like to see it sometime.)

    I also found all of the other songs very enjoyable (except I will have to get back to that last one – it was a bit much of a change for me, considering the rest of the list. 🙂 ). Another song that really stands out for me is “Jeevan Ki Naav Na Dole,” with that distinct combination of Vasant Desai and Jayashree. It immediately gave me an urge to go back to “Chit Dole Nit Dole” from Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani.

    Anyway, this boat series made for quite a collection overall. I’m definitely looking forward to the next vehicle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot Richard!
      I’m happy you enjoyed the last part and the series as a whole.
      Dole Hriday Ki Naiya is a lovely song. I haven’t watched much of the 40s films. I think someday I should watch a few popular ones at least.
      Jeevan Ki Naav Na Dole is my favourite too.
      I like Dr Kotnis songs by Vasant desai and Jayashree duo, including the one mentioned by you.
      The new series is still in infancy. I haven’t yet started arranging songs. Mostly in a couple of months or so.
      Keep visiting.


  9. Dr. Anup,
    An interesting theme of “different” boat songs.
    Nice list of songs, though I hadn’t heard some of these.
    It was an enjoyable jump to the 2000s from the 50s, with a fun song that I do like.

    Would this one fit?
    A song that focusses on paper boats, comparing the journey of paper boats in the waters to that of life.
    Naav kagaz ki gehra hai paani – Duniyadari 1977 – SJ – Lata, Rafi

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dr Rajesh,
      Thank you for your appreciation. Glad you enjoyed the list and special thanks for liking ‘Prem Ki Naiya Hai Ram Ke Bharose’. It’s such a fun song!
      The song from Duniyadari is a perfect fit. A philosophical song.


  10. How about these?

    Main tooti huyi ek naiyya hoon
    Aadmi 1968 – Naushad- Shakeel – Rafi

    Us kashti ka kya hoga jise majhi chhod gaya
    Uttar Dakshin 1997 – LP – Kavita


  11. The first thing to come to my mind was the little prayer “Bajrang Bali, meri naav chaali chaali,” which I think crops up in several films, although not as a full-fledged song. Vinod K’s character recites it in “Hera Pheri,” for instance. Scrolling through YouTube, I found longer renditions by a number of different devotional singers. I shall leave this video here as it has some actual boats in it : ) And the orchestration with flute is very pleasant.


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