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ATP and Tangay Walla Khair Mangda

Posted on November 25, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, About ATP, Music, TV, Movies & Theatre
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Adil Najam

One of the earliest posts I did on ATP was called Tangay Walla Khair Mangda.’ It was a Picture of the Day post and used the tanga/tonga picture that we now often use on the masthead.


The song by that name is a particular favorite of mine, both for its music and for its message. As I was listening to it today, I was reminded of that post and how far this blog has come since then. We now have more readers than I had ever imagined having, a bursting set of discussions, and a whole host of new friends who we have never seen but meet each day.I am thankful for all of this. But I must confess that sometimes – especially as I sometimes sift through needless sarcasm, provocations, and anger in the comments section – I miss the old days.

Much like I sometimes miss going to school on a tanga, even as I conference-hop across the globe on huge impersonal jetliners. There is something more personal, more civil, more familiar, more human about small communities. In a tanga, even a communal one, you get to know everyone. You share your ganderis with everyone when you are in a tanga. In a jetliner you sit next to someone for 22 straight hours and often do not share a single word; and when you do it is more likely to be a nasty look because they pushed back their seat too far or something!

As you can see, I am in a rather pensive mood today. I apologize. That is why I was listening to this song. It always cheers me up.

I must confess, I still see my own role on ATP as that of the tangay wallah. I cannot take people where they do not wish to go. Its their journey and their destination. But like actor Lala Sudhir and singer Masood Rana in Baba G.A. Chishti’s immortal song, I too see, as the song says, ‘banda rang rang da‘ and I too sing the song of ‘Khair’ (I guess here it means something like ‘goodness’ and ‘friendship’) for everyone. That, I guess, is the best that one can ever do.

So, dear friends, here is a video of the song – from the 1964 movie Daachi. The video quality is really bad, but the sound quality is descent. Do watch it if you can. It is really quite wonderful once you get past the picture quality. Note, for example, the shaadi band, the train, the guy on the bicycle and much more. But if you can, focus on the words. I hope even non-Punjabi speakers will get the gist: peace and friendship to all!

14 Comments on “ATP and Tangay Walla Khair Mangda

  1. Naveed says:
    November 25th, 2006 2:36 am

    Adil, as is usual in your blogs, you have struck so many chords. “Khair” could ALSO mean wellbeing/contentment & increase the charm of the song. The tangay wallah is a “nij/thait” pakistani, invoking a prayer of blessing everyone with prayers of “khair” but content with his life albiet in more innocent times… I would hate to think that this age of innocence is gone. It exists in the smiles of children in their morning rush to school. May be not in chauffer driven cars in posh localities but everywhere in “androon shehar”

    A few cousins settled in the US came visiting Karachi last year and they and their kids got on a tanga and took a tour of the city…they had so much fun that their visits are now becoming more frequent… some effect the tanga had on them….well the love they got from the extended family played some part as well

    tangay-wallah songs include one in which Nadeem is singing “hum chalay to hamaray sung sung nazary challay” by Alamgir; pakistani filmi music prior to the 80′s had awesome lyrics. there are some more tangaywallah songs that always bring back memories of the good old days. but thank you for sharing yours; the gandayree reference always makes me laugh

  2. drpak says:
    November 25th, 2006 6:09 am

    Great post Adil. And great blog – keep up the good work.

  3. Daktar says:
    November 25th, 2006 11:28 am

    Love the song, love the picture and love the sentiments of the post. The world will be a much nicer place if we were all like the tangay walla and sought KHAIR for all.

    P.S. I think ‘contentment’ is the best translation of ‘khair’ in this song.

  4. king_faisal says:
    November 25th, 2006 12:54 pm

    this is the best pakistani website i have come across. please keep up the good work

  5. ahmed says:
    November 25th, 2006 1:42 pm

    AN, there is a twinge of pain in what you write. I too wish sometimes that there were less of polemics and more of generous sharing….
    Khair is untranslatable into English; it has so many layers of meaning which only a Pakistani born and bred can feel and understand.
    Let us all share those ghanderies if we can even if they be unseasonable and only in thought.
    “Tangay-wala khair mangda”

  6. November 25th, 2006 2:18 pm

    Beautiful post. Invoked a strange nostalgia.

  7. MQ says:
    November 25th, 2006 2:29 pm

    Good post! Good song!

    Even though I can relate to this particular tangay-walla in the post, my perception of them is slightly different. I am thinking of the tangay-wallas in Peshawar where I spent considerable part of my life.

    One thing, when there were young women passengers in the back seat, even though covered in burqa or chaddar, the tangay walla would get into a flamboyant mood. Instead of remaining in his seat he would stand up with one foot in the stirrup of the tanga, tilt his cap forward, brandish his chaabak (whip) and loudly talk to the horse, encouraging him to move faster, praising him if he did and admonishing when he did not. He was no different than a strutting peacock trying to catch attention. But all this was a harmless show.

    Occasionally, however, when there was a dispute between him and a male passenger, and there could be so many petty things that could cause a dispute, the tangay walla was capable of directing his chabak at the errant passenger just as he would at the non-cooperating horse.

  8. Arsalan Ali says:
    November 25th, 2006 3:04 pm

    sir chaa gay hain.

  9. November 26th, 2006 11:46 pm

    Thanks all. For some reason this song always has a soothing effect on me. I think it is the very best and most memorable song by Masood Rana, but it is also more than that. Note also how Baba Chisti invokes certain VERY PAKISTANI sounds into the song — the shaadi ka baand when the baraat comes in and the very Sohail Rana-esque train sound when the railway engine passes by.

    Ahmed, I agree that ‘Khair’ here is untranslatable but I do like Naveed’s notion of it being ‘contentment’ better than anything I had suggested.

  10. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    November 27th, 2006 2:06 pm

    Me too. Me too. I also went to my primary school on a Tonga with twelve kids piled up on each other. There was even a third seat in Mushtaq’s Tonga. He loved us so much he even occasionally treated us with “Chaney” or “Chhalli” which our parents compensated him for later on. And talk about movies. Does any one remember film “Yakey Wali” with Mussarrat Nazir in the title role. Incidentally, “Yaka” comes from Persian “Yak” for one. You know, one horse Tonga.

  11. Samdani says:
    November 27th, 2006 10:28 pm

    It is really a very soothing song. Nice post also. I hope people actually read and get what you are saying.

    I wish, though, that the picture quality was better cause looks like nice visuals

  12. Shahran says:
    November 27th, 2006 11:13 pm

    Thanks for a great post on Tanga. Being a Karachitie and studying in Adamjee college in my FSc which happened to be located in the garden area where we used to see the old Victoria “as we used to call them”.

    These were limited to commuting between the Garden, Soldier Bazar area and Saddar / Cantt area.

    I do remember my childhood days when it was a fantasy to ride a tanga.We always get fascinated when we pass those victorias.Sometimes we made noises in the car that we want to sit in the victoria and once our request was fulfilled by our parents.

    While our travel to Lucknow, India, I was able to sit on the YAKKA and that was real fun. Everyone was constantly laughing because of the jerks it takes which makes our stomaches move quite a bit causing us to laugh. There used to be a YAKKA stand there I am not sure if they still use that or not.

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