Can Anyone Help with a Lullaby from India called “Ninni Buba Ninni”?

John wrote asking for help with a lullaby:

Hi Lisa,

My father was born in India, Granny’s family lived in India, between the early 1800’s and 1947. There is an Indian Children’s Lullaby, Ninnie Buba Ninnie, sung to my father and many generations of children. I am seeking the words and translation of the original, sweet children’s version of this lullaby. It is probably is Hindi.

Dealing with the shortened, commonly recognized version, the words and translation are as follows;

Ninnie baba Ninnie
Sleep baby sleep,
Mackhan roti cheene,
Butter, bread and sugar,
Makan roti hoa gia,
not known?
Soja Baba Soja,
Sleep Baby Sleep,
Mera baba so ja,
Unknown ?
Ninnie Nina baba so gaya, gaya
Little baby has gone to sleep.

It is the missing translations, and any other verses that I am seeking.

I look forward to your help with the above.

John & Chrissy Wellborne
Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia

I found this similar version below on The Tribune and elsewhere. It seems to be a popular version…

Nini baba nini
Muckan roti chini
Muckan roti hogiah
Chota baba so giah

If anyone can help with John’s version and/or translating the other version, please let us know in the comments below. We’re always please to post recordings too.

Thanks in advance!

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Saturday, February 6th, 2010 at 4:48 pm and is filed under Children's Songs, Children's Songs from India, Countries & Cultures, Hindi, Hindi Children's Songs, Hindi Lullabies, India, Languages, Lullabies, Mama Lisa, Questions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

20 Responses to “Can Anyone Help with a Lullaby from India called “Ninni Buba Ninni”?”

  1. Lisa Says:

    I asked Tarun Pratap Singh who has contributed a Hindi Rhyme in the past. Here’s what I was sent back…

    Ninnie baba Ninnie
    Sleep baby sleep,
    Mackhan roti cheene,
    Butter, bread and sugar,
    Makan roti hoa gia,
    butter and bread has finished
    Soja Baba Soja,
    Sleep Baby Sleep,
    Mera baba so ja,
    My baby sleep
    Ninnie Nina baba so gaya, gaya
    Little baby has gone to sleep.

    Many thanks to Tarun Pratap Singh for helping with this lullaby!

    Mama Lisa

  2. Deb Heberlet Says:

    HI..I am a 42 year old English woman with an Anglo iIndian father and grandmother who sang that to me . And I have sung that to my children . In fact I sang it again tonight to my youngest who is 4. Is there are recording of anyone singing this , as i have to remember as i remember from a child and i am not sure i am saying / singing it right. I want my children to sing it to their children. Thanks , Deb

  3. Lisa Says:

    I can’t find it anywhere. Can anyone send a recording of this song? Thanks in advance!

    Mama Lisa

  4. Nalini Says:

    I sang Nini Baba Nini,to my sons and they loved it.Now I sang it to my half German grand-daughter,almost three and she adored it.
    The words are according to me
    Nini baba nini,
    Makhan roti chini,
    So ja ,baba,so ja ,
    lal palang pe so ja.
    Then the refrain again.

  5. Nalini Says:

    I am also looking for a recorded version.
    I sang it to my sons and it put them to bed fast.Now I sang it to my half German grand-daughter and she loves it and remembers it.
    My version is Nini baba nini,
    Makhan roti chini,
    so ja baba,so ja ,
    lal palang pe so ja.
    Then the refrain again.
    lal palang is a red bed.
    It works like magic,even if you cannot sing.

  6. Lisa Says:

    Hi Nalini – Can you please send us a translation of the version you know?

    I found a video that I posted on our page for this song at the link below:

    Mama Lisa

  7. Scot Ashcroft Says:

    I googled and came across this. My grand daughter’s grandpa and grandma’s names for us is: Nini and Baba. She lives with us. So your song was kind of cool to come across. Thank you, Baba and Nini

  8. skdr84 Says:

    My grandmother used to sing it with an extra line to Nalini’s version

    She would end with

    Lal palang meh kya kya cheeze
    Whats on the red bed
    Hira Moti Lal lal cheeze
    diamonds, pearls and rubies

  9. Jeanie Dubberley Says:

    I found this website by googling “soja baba, soja”, and was so happy to find part of the lullaby sung to me by my great-aunt, born in India (where her family had lived for 150 years) in 1884. She and her sister (my grandmother) went “home” to England in the late 1890s, and later came to Canada. I sang it to my sons and my grandchildren.

    I remember these lines:
    so ja baba,so ja ,
    lal palang pe so ja.
    and the tune sung in the Youtube link is exactly as I remember it.

    There are two more lines as I remember the lullaby, and I can only put them down phonetically:

    Mama papa owega,
    Lal calowna lowega.

    Are those familiar to anyone?

  10. Niki Says:

    Hi I hope someone can help me.

    My Grannie was brought up in Calcutta,India.

    she used to sing a song to me with Chilakalaku in it,it was an Indian lullaby.

    All I can remember it went like ‘Paka Paka………i’m sure that isnt the right spelling.

    Any help would be much appreiated

    Thanks Niki

  11. Elizabeth Barry Says:

    Hello everyone, on Memory Lane; my grandparents and their family of four lived in Calcutta for years and years; their amah or ayah sang Nini Baba Nini to them, and the three daughters all sang this at night to their children, me and my cousins. I sang it to my three children, and now my daughter sings it to her daughter….. I have sung it in cabs to the Indian driver – they look astonished – and correct a word or two…. this song is from another world, another century but babies still love it, and those of us who still sing it, love it too. I sang it to my aunt in her nursing home, and her eyes lit up and she pointed to the piano but she couldn’t say anything.
    It is a treasure….Elizabeth…

  12. Pru Smith Says:

    Hi Everyone, This is intriguing. I’m collaborating with an artist on an art history project. We are looking for a lullaby that may have been sung to English children by their much loved, Ayah in the 1870’s in Bombay. This one sounds really special. Is there anyway someone could sing it or if you’ve found further information about it? I would love to hear it sung. Thank you. Kindest, Pru

  13. Lisa Says:

    Hi Pru,

    Did you hear the YouTube we posted on the song page at the link below? -Mama Lisa

  14. Pru Smith Says:

    Thank you Lisa. I missed that link first time around. It’s very sweet. Would anyone remember or know about this song? I’m specifically after a rough date of the origin of the song. Thank you. Kindest, Pru

  15. Lisa Says:

    Regarding the lullaby “Chanda Mama,” you can find in this online dissertation: “…’Chandamama dur ke,’ a popular lullaby made famous in the 1955 Hindi film Vacchan…”

    Then in the notes: “I have heard from two sources that ‘Chanda mama’ was a popular children’s rhyme before it was adopted as a
    song in the film Vacchan. I suspect many lullabies composed for films borrow their text or tune from earlier compositions. However, pinpointing the ‘true’ origin of these songs/rhymes is, in most cases, exceedingly difficult.”

  16. Pru Smith Says:

    Lisa, I thank you again for your help. Much appreciated.

  17. Deepika Says:

    So ja baby so ja
    Sleep baby, sleep
    Makhan roti cheeni
    Butter, Bread and Sugar
    Makhan roti kha gya
    Butter and Bread eaten
    Mera baby so gya
    My baby went to sleep

  18. Amin Mukaty Says:

    I am 73. I am familiar with the following version which may not be right.

    Nini baba Nini
    Makhan roti cheeni
    Lal palang met kya kya cheez
    MOTi Heera Lal Lal cheez

    Doesn’t make sense, but certainly engraved itseif in my mind.

  19. Tod O’Brien Says:

    I am a 74 year old Anglo Indian. My mother sang a version of this to me and my siblings. I have just taught it to my daughter who has a new baby.

    Ninny buyo baby
    Muckun roti cheni
    Lal palling tout gaya
    Chota baby gir gaya

    Excuse the spelling.

    I can sing it but there’s no way to do this here.

  20. Lisa Says:

    Hi Tod! You can email me a recording of you singing it if you’d like! We’d love that. :) -Mama Lisa

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