Mere dil ka chain tere do mast mast nainon ke dwaara le jaaya gaya

A pic was shared like crazy on Facebook in the last few weeks—


This comic is factually incorrect, but it’s a good demonstration of how most people are confused about what actual Active and Passive voice is, and mostly just assume it to be random rearrangement of words.

In the comic, the teacher asks the students to give examples of Active Voice and Passive Voice. The smartass kid replies with two lines from the song Tere mast mast do nain from the movie Dabangg, thereby also complimenting his teacher’s eyes.

There’s enough in this comic to make it viral, and viral it became, so I thought I would write a post about the actual grammatical stuff at work here.

To begin with, it has nothing to do with Active or Passive voice. The song lines demonstrate rearrangement (in this case, fronting) of the Verb Phrase. There’re multiple rearrangements here to suit the meter and rhyme, but the two lines are contrasted by the fronting of the entire Verb Phrase mere dil ka chain le gaye. The canonical word order would be—

“Tere do mast mast nain mere dil ka chain le gaye.”

The position of the object ‘chain’ has been changed and it’s been sent to the end of the sentence to get the Verb Phrase “mere dil ka le gaye chain”. This entire phrase is then fronted and placed in the beginning, to get

“Mere dil ka le gaye chain, tere mast mast do nain”.

Note that this has nothing to do with the Passive Voice. The song lyric in Passive Voice would be:

“Mere dil ka chain tere do mast mast nainon ke dwaara le jaaya gaya”, which is decidedly unromantic.

3 Comments to “Mere dil ka chain tere do mast mast nainon ke dwaara le jaaya gaya”

  1. Apurva 14 April 2012 at 14:49 #

    I had noticed this! Glad you put an entire post on its name! 😀

  2. Vivek Srivastava 31 August 2012 at 16:16 #

    Nice elaboration of lines which people just listen in the song and ignore 🙂

  3. […] A surprising realization that dawns upon many people when they first study about linguistics is that a lot that they used to consider random, chaotic and just plain wrong has a lot of regularity and pattern underneath. A very common and popular example is that of African American Vernacular English (AAVE), previously called Black Vernacular English (BVE). Speakers of standard English often believe that BVE or AAVE is just corrupted standard English and you could imitate a ‘Black accent’ by arbitrarily omitting some words and mispronouncing some others. However, AAVE has a definite structure and syntax of its own, and any random corruption of English does not generate AAVE, just like arbitrary rearrangement of a sentence does not generate passive voice. […]

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