Paisa Bolta Hai

I am going to discuss a famous qawwali of the 80s, ‘Paisa Bolta Hai’, the lyrics of which stand true in any era. This qawwali is written about the power of money, depicting what money has to say about itself and the control it has over humanity.

This qawwali is rendered very beautifully in a fast beat rhythm by the Sabri brothers and can be called a masterpiece in this genre. The main vocalist, Maqbool Ahmad Shah Sabri in his versatile voice makes the rendering very melodic. If you have a high quality speaker or headphones, you can also observe his articulate style i.e. how clearly and easily he utters the sounds and changes the notes. The accompanying vocalist, Haji Ghulam Farid Sabri makes it very catchy and rhythmic in his heavy, magnificent voice. I like their style because when they sing, it stamps straight into the heart. It is obvious that they don’t sing just for the sake of singing, but completely get involved in it and mesmerize themselves into singing. Though in this qawwali, there is not much for Ghulam Farid Sabri except accompanying the lead singer (Maqbool Ahmad Sabri), repeating a few lines and empowering the chorus, still his voice makes the qawwali more impressive. To know the real attraction of his singing(fascinating, I should say) one should listen to his other Sufi qawwalis. It is because of the Sabri Brothers that the lyrics appear more powerful and interesting (no wonder, they are direct descendants of Tansen).

If you know about the poetic meters, observe the ups and downs in the lyrics and tempo.

So here we go and see what money has to say.. Experience the euphoria…


(Listen to Paisa Bolta Hai by pressing the play button below)


In the beginning the singer introduces the song and mentions that usually men speak about money. It may sound peculiar but in this song money speaks to men. So, cutting off the explanations and accompanying words of the singers in the qawwali, the main lyrics are:

Inhi chandi ke chamakte hue angaaron mein
 uthti hai jawaniinhi jhankaron mein
 ke bandon ne bada shor macha rakha hai
 sone chandi ka yahan jaal bichaah rakha hai

In these shining embers of silver – echo the screams of youth within the chinking sounds (of the coins) – Wealthy persons are making a lot of noise – that means a trap of gold and silver has been spread out here.

Youngsters are impressed by the shine of wealth and have not realized that it burns like hot embers. Wealthy people are more dominating over others (covering up the screams of the oppressed) as they have the wealth to trap others.

 ghairat ki agar aayi to yoon taal diyaa

Aur sharm ki laash pe daulat ka kafan daal diya

When the matter of disparities was brought up- they have diverted the talk and have covered the corpse of shame with wealth 

Wealthy people don’t like to hear about the oppressed and their conscience is dead. Their dead conscience is hidden under the cover of wealth.

 jab tak yeh zar lutaayenge
Aap jab tak yeh zar lutaayenge

 ke zeyr-e-dast hai duniya
 kheench kar haathtajurba karlo kitni matlab parast hai duniya
As long as you keep spending- this world is under the control of your hand- just draw back your hand and stop spending- and experience how selfish this world is

To sansaar mein baaje dhol

So, this is being proclaimed in this world..

 mein baaje dhol..Yeh duniya meri taraah hai gol
 paisa bolta hai
 paisa bolta hai

It is proclaimed that this world too is round like me.. this is what money has to say..

Here money compares the world to itself, but not itself to the world which means it looks upon itself as more important than this world. Metaphorically  money has become the world to many and they keep moving around it.

Paisa bolta hai… Kaisa bolta hai
Paisa bolta hai… Kaisa bolta hai

Qaroon ne mujhko pooja tha
 bhi mera shaeda tha
 ki jannat mujh se bani
 ki taaqat mujh se badhi

Money speaks-

Qaroon had worshipped me- Pharoah was also infatuated by me- Shaddad made his paradise because of me – Nimrod grew powerful because of me

Money speaks (In this world money speaks i.e. it has more power)… How money got it’s power….( is explained further by the examples): Qaroon was a person in the time of Moses who was famous for his wealth and treasures. It was said that even the strongest persons among his servants were not able to carry the heavy bunch of so many keys of his  treasures. Pharoah, as everyone knows was the ruler of Egypt who oppressed the poor and lived luxuriously. Shaddad was the one who wanted to make Paradise himself with his immense wealth without caring the real Paradise of God. He did make it but died before even stepping into it. Nimrod was a very mighty king who was famous for his strength. All these persons (refer to Biblical stories for more details about them) were rebellious against God and were arrogant because of their wealth and power. Later all of them and their fortunes were destroyed by God.

Jab chadh gaya mera khumaar..
Jab chadh gaya mera khumaar
 ke hogaye daawedaar
 paisa bolta hai
 paisa bolta hai

When man is intoxicated with me – he assumes himself as a contender to God

(as we have seen in the example of the above persons)

 shakhs hai mere chakkar mein
 meri zaroorat ghar ghar mein

 chahoon woh khush-haal bane
 thukradoon kangaal bane
Every person revolves around me- I am needed in every household- I can make
anyone happy if I want- whoever I reject becomes bankrupt

 sheesh mahalyeh shaan
Mere dam se paaye dhanwaan

This brilliant rich palace, this eminence- the rich get all this because of me

 paisa bolta hai
 paisa bolta hai

 main aapas mein ladhwata hoon
Main aapas mein ladhwata hoon

 mein gala katwaata hoon
 mera saaya lehraaye
 khoon bhi chup jaaye

I make people fight with each other- I make them commit murders for greed- wherever my shadow lingers- even the red blood (of murder) gets hidden

Money is the reason for fights and murders among people. It is so powerful that a person can get away even after committing any crime by using it

Main keh detaa hoon saaf

Mere haathon mein hai insaaf

I am telling this straight- Justice is in my hands

This is the bitter truth openly said, justice can be purchased i.e. a rich man can get away from any crime using money

Ke paisa bolta hai
 paisa bolta hai

 hadiya hoonkahin rishwat hoon
 hadiya hoonkahin rishwat hoon
 ghunda tax ki soorat hoon
At some place I am an offering (to God or for any good cause) – At some
place I am a bribe – At some other place I am the ransom given to gangsters

Kahin masjid ka main chanda hoon
 jaan ka gorakh dhanda hoon

 hain pakke mere yaar..
 pakke mere yaarmoulvi pandit thanedaar

At some place I am the donation to a mosque – at some other place I am the payment given to commit a murder – I always have true friends –  priests of mosques and temples and the police inspector 

Wealth can be used for a good cause or for evil cause. People have always been true friends to money and never leave its side. Even the religious persons, the protectors of law without any exception all fall for it

 paisa bolta hai
 paisa bolta hai

Jab leader main ban jaata hoon

 mein qaum ko laata hoon
 aisa jaal bichaata hoon
 man ki muraadein paata hoon

Main jispe lagadoon note
Na jaaye bahar uska vote

When I become the leader – I take the public for a ride (swindle them) – then I lay such a trap – that I can get anything that I wish – to whomever I am distributed – his vote will never be lost

Money makes public lose the thinking ability and conviction and come into the trap of political leaders. Wherever it is distributed, the leaders get all the votes without fail

Ke paisa bolta hai
 paisa bolta hai

Har saaz mein hai sangeet mera.. 

Har saaz mein hai sangeet mera
Fankaar ke lab par geet mera
Har raqs mein hai raftaar meri

Har gunghroo mein jhankaar meri

 mehfil yeh surtaal,
ho gaanewali ya qawwaal

In every beat, lies my music- Every singer sings my song- Every dance has the speed of my steps-Every musical anklet rings my bell- This concert, rhythm and tempo, whether a songstress or qawwalivocalist- everything and everyone is for me 

Every entertainer sings or dances for money i.e. every concert or musical/dance performance is done only for money

 paisa bolta hai

Yeh paisa bolta hai

Koi saail thaaabaad raha
Meri zulfon se aazaad raha
Har dour mein zindabad raha
Aur donon jag mein shaad raha
 bakshe jise eemaan

Chudaye mujhse apni jaan

There existed a person (using the pseudonym Saail Aazad, referring to the lyricist) –   was prosperous- he was free from my locks- he lived long in every era- and was happy in both the worlds – When God gifts honesty to any person- that person is free from my influence

Only a person who is gifted with honesty does not go down for wealth and he is the one who lives happily in any time. He lives peacefully in the present world and also reaches the blissful heaven after death

So the qawwali is concluded mentioning that eventhough wealth is so powerful, a person who is honest can get out of its influence and lead a happy life. Such a person only can attain the best in this world as well as the other world(after death).


(Article taken from my blog post published earlier – Admin)

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