Based on a poem by Shiv Kumar Batalvi, this song is about a woman who yearns for a child of her own. Her husband is away for long periods. She makes a clay doll that she treats as her child, singing it this lullaby. She sings that her child doesn’t cry nor walk nor ask her for anything. She also realizes her jealousy toward other women who she sees happily playing with their children.

Mitti da main bawa banani aan, 
ve jhagga paani aan, 
ve utte deni aan khesi,
So ja mitti diaa baawiaa, 
ve tera pio pardesi
Mitti da bawa nahion bolda, 
nahion chaalda ,
 naan hi denda e hungaara,
Na ro mitti deaa baawiaa, 
ve tera pio vanjaara
Kade taan main launi aan tahliaan, 
ve pattaan vaaleean, 
ve mera patla maahi,
Kade launi aan shahtoot, 
ve tainu samajh na aave
Mere jehiaan lakhkh goriaan,
ve tanee doriaan,
haye godee baal hindole,
Hass hass dendiaan loreeaan,
haae mere ladan sapole
I craft a little clay doll,
make it wear a little shirt,
cover it with a blanket…
Go to sleep my little clay doll,
your dad is abroad…
My little clay doll does not speak,
does not walk,
does not call to me..
Don’t cry my little clay doll,
your dad is a wanderer…
I planted sheesham trees,
they grew lovely leaves,
aah my scrawny beloved…
I planted trees of mulberry,
why don’t you respond…
The other women of the town,
as pretty as me,
have kids in their lap..
Sing them lullabies,
and my soul is a snake’s playground.


  • By Ustad Shujaat Khan: [1]
  • By Chitra Singh: [movie version 1], [ with translation 2]
  • By Jagjit Singh (my favorite version, although it’s derivative of the above): [2]

Other source credits for translations/context:


mitti da bawa isn’t written by Shiv


Folk songs can be centuries old. They are passed from one generation to another. Many times, the areas of origin are known but who wrote it remains unknown. Yesterday I was in a ClubHouse room and someone sang mitti da bawa (Originally sung by Jagjit Singh & Chitra Singh). She also mentioned that it is written by Shiv. I had my doubts as Shiv was a recent poet and such a thing would of course be documented somewhere. I checked his complete poetry collection and as expected it was not there. That led me to turn to Google and all over the internet it was the same information that it has been written by Shiv.

Today I got a chance to spend some more time on this and came to know that it was originally recorded for a movie called Diva Bale Sari Raat. The movie was made by Harpal Tiwana and Chitra Singh sung it for that movie. The music was done by Jagjit Singh. The movie audio album covers attribute the lyrics to Harpal Tiwana. But it is well known that these lines are part of a lori and they are very old. This video by Deepti Naval mentions that it is a Balochistan folk song. So it could have been a omission on their part to not accurately attribute it. I put the same question to Amardeep Gill (Punjabi lyricist, poet and filmmaker) and he also confirmed that it is almost a century old folk. So it is very much a part of Punjabi Folk and most definitely not written by Shiv.

What I couldn’t understand is how could it have been attributed to Shiv in the first place. Shiv did write a poem with a similar title but it is different and goes like “sajjan ji asi’b mittRi de baawe”