Sahir Ludhianvi

Talkhian, Sahir's Poetry

Salman Abid

Old is Gold
Sahir Ludhianvi

Exclusive on 95th Birth Anniversary

Poet of Hope: Sahir Ludhianvi

                          Exclusive tribute on 95th birthday

Born On: March 8, 1921
Born In: Ludhiana, Punjab
Died On: October 25, 1980
Career: Poet, Lyricist (Editor,Reformer, A Voice of Common Man & Messiah for Women) 
Nationality: Indian


Best remembered till date for penning this renowned song that rocked every Music player and every singing lips in mid 70s, Sahir Ludhianvi etched a legendary mark on songs and ghazals in the Hindi film industry. True to his name, Sahir was a magician who fascinated his listeners and readers through his marvelous compositions. His wordings have successfully created a plethora of emotions with its simple language and distinguished feelings. For his illustrious and magnificent compositions, he was honored with two Filmfare Awards and Padma Shri Award during his lifetime.

First Phase of His Life
    Sahir Ludhianvi was born as Abdul Hayee into a rich Muslim Gujjar family in Ludhiana in Punjab. His father was a wealthy zamindar, while mother was Sardar Begum, a simple woman with cherished dreams for her son. Since birth, his parents were undergoing an estranged relationship and chose to separate when Sahir was just about 13 year old. His father chose to take custody of Sahir, but lost due to his multiple marriages. As such, he threatened to snatch Sahir from his mother, no matter what step he had to take. Due to this, Sahir spent his childhood surrounded by fear and financial deprivation. He attained his formal education from Khalsa High School in Ludhiana. Thereafter, he graduated at Satish Chander Dhawan Government College for Boys in Ludhiana to pursue his higher studies. But he was expelled just after one year for being caught sitting with a female in the lawns in 1943 (this was due to a sting operation). He left Ludhiana and traveled to Lahore in search of better career prospects.

Career in Film Industry
    In Lahore, Sahir completed his first work in Urdu "Talkhiyaan" but was unable to find a publisher for the same. Finally, after two years of shuffling between Ludhiana and Lahore, he found a publisher in 1945 (Janab Gurbax Singh of Preet Ladi). Thereafter, he started editing four magazines, "Adab-e-Lateef", "Shahkaar", "Prithlari", and "Savera". These magazines achieved immense success. However, due to his revolutionary writing in "Savera", the government of Pakistan issued an arrest warrant against him. As such, he fled from Lahore in 1949 and landed in Delhi. This was his first and last flight journey. Sahir never flew anywhere in his entire life for unknown reasons. After spending a couple of months there, he came to Bombay where he settled for the rest of his life and created history through his illustrious works. All around him he saw darkness, despondency and misery. He wrote;

"Na koi jadah, na manzil, na roshani ka suragh, bhatak rahi hai khalaon main zindagi meri,

Inhi khalaon main reh jaunga kahin kho kar, main jaanta hun meri ham naffas magar yoonhi,

Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khyal aaata hai".

(I see no light, no destination and my life goes round and round in emptiness. On day to be swallowed by endless time and yet there are moments when I hope and yearn.)

He made his debut into Bollywood by writing the lyrics for "Aazadi Ki Raah Par" in 1949. Though he wrote four songs, both the film and the songs sank unnoticed. 

Sahir was next seen in 1951 "Naujawaan" with the Music Genius Janab S.D. Burman. This movie served as the stepping stone for him as it worked decently at the Box Office. But Guru Dutt's directorial debut "Baazi" in 1951, again paired with S.D.Burman witnessed major recognition for him.

Here's the morale booster from BAAZI 1951..

Thereafter, he was amongst the team of Guru Dutt. The combination delivered some marvelous musical performances that became legendary hits.

Over his entire Bollywood career, Sahir delivered evergreen and immortal pieces of Hindi film music. Some of the most prominent movies include "Pyaasa", "Hum Dono", "Taj Mahal", "Phir Subah Hogi", "Trishul", and "Waqt". His 1976 "Kabhie Kabhie" saw the best in Sahir that went on to break all records, and bestowing him with another Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist, second after "Taj Mahal".

Song that got the First Filmfare for Sahir...

As a Urdu Poet
    While his career as a lyricist was soaring in skies at that time, his poetry didn’t lag behind either. It revealed a "Faizian" quality of writing. Sahir agreed in one of his interviews about the inspirations he got from the legendary Faiz. His works had that intellectual element which caught the attention of people during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Though Sahir was little egoistic by attitude for selected section of the society to which he belonged as professional, he was a compassionate man and felt for others, often neglecting his own needs. This nature reflected in his poetry in his later years. With different periods progressing, Sahir narrated various ages, which is not very common in many writers' style. Kahat-e-Bangal (The Famine of Bengal) talked about early maturity, while Subah-e-Navroz (Dawn of a New Day) spoke about the conditions of the poor. He was one amongst the few Urdu poets who voiced their unconventional views towards the Taj Mahal which rocked a controversy among hardliners of his time.

Sahir Ludhianvi was another prominent Urdu poet and lyricist who gave a new dimension to Urdu poetry. Ludhianvi was also part of the Progressive Writers’ Movement who successfully treaded the thin line between commercial and artistic work in an indelible manner. His poems translated into film lyrics beautifully. Ludhianvi’s magnitude of work is vast and his poems have the quality of transcending beyond their time. When he wrote about love, it was always tinged with sorrow, perhaps due to his unrequited love for Punjabi writer Amrita Pritam, or because he felt that there were other issues more important than love. His poems and lyrics rarely confine themselves to subjects like beauty, alcohol or even God. He was more interested in the decline of social values, domination of materialism and the political environment. In the film Pyaasa when the actor walks down a red light district, he ponders,
‘Yeh kooche yeh neelam-ghar dilkashi ke  
 Ye lutte hue karvaan zindagi ke  
 Kahan hai kahan hai muhafiz khudi ke
Jinhe naaz hai hind par wo kahan hai’
(These lanes, these houses of auctioned pleasure
These ravaged caravans of life
Where are the guardians of dignity?
Where are they who claim to be proud of India?)

Fearless voices of Urdu literature had been further enriched by the contribution of writers such as Premchand, Krishan Chander, Ismat Chughtai, and Qurratulain Haider.
As a Film Writers Association Vice President and later President he did quite remarkable work and achieved land mark goals like mentioning of lyricist name in the announcements by All India Radio while playing the songs.

His love
He met his first love in his college days in Ludhiana, Eeshar Kaur, the first sweetheart that charmed young Sahir. Unfortunately Eeshar died of illness during Sahir’s short spanned College Life. Sahir wrote a marvellous poem, ‘’marghat ki zameen se’’ (from the land of Crematorium). We personally believed that Sahir never ever wrote such a lovely poem with personal touch and pouring emotions of pure & pure love. He never married and chose to stay bachelor for his entire life. There were other reasons for this though.
‘’ Har shaye kareeb aa ke kashish apni kho chuki
   Hum bhi elaaj-e-gardish-e-dauraa’n Na kar ske
Humanity and Hope:
hir’s humanity knew no borders. He suffers with the Africans, the Hispanics as well as the Vietnamese. He is opposed to the high handedness of the mighty. He believed in the freedom of all — big and small.
On a certain Republic Day, he asked the rulers of the country:

"Aao ke aaj gaur karen is sawal par, dekhe the humne jo, voh hasin khwab kya hue.

Daulat badhi to mulk main aflas kuon badha, kushhaliya awam ke asbab ke hue,

Har kucha sholazar hai, har shahar katalgah, yakjahtiye hayaat ke aadab ke hue."

(Let us sit and think calmly about the fate of our dream, why is it that the country progresses, yet the poor gain not a bit. What about the facilities for the common folks. For I find out streets burning and cities flooded with human blood. Is this the fraternity and civilization, we so much boast of?)

Sahir was aware of the sins of the masters of the world and with his pen he, too, was fighting in the front ranks of those who stood for human dignity. As long as the spark of freedom glows in the human breast, Sahir will live in people’s memories.

Last Breath

He suffered a major heart attack on October 25th, 1980 and passed away in the arms of his doctor friend Dr. R.P. Kapoor. He was later buried in Juhu Muslim cemetery, but his tomb was destroyed in 2010 along with Mohd Rafi’s grave to make space for other dead bodies. Later Rafians restored his grave but alas Sahir’s grave is no more on the earth.

True, he who said ‘Yeh Duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai” would hardly have bothered for a piece of land least in form of a tomb.

Nevertheless, Sahir remains in people’s hearts across the globe and beyond space and time.

‘’ her Nasl ek Fasl hai mitti ki, aaj Ugti hai, kal kaT’ti hai,
   Jeevan wo aisi madira hai, jo Qatra Qatra baT’ti hai
  Sagar se Ubhri Leher hun mai’n, Sagar me phir kho jaawo’nga
  Mitti ki rooh ka sapna hoo’n, Mitti me phir so jaawonga !!!
                                                                         (Sahir Ludhianvi)

Good Bye "Pal do pal ka Shayar" whose Shayari would live time immortals.

Some of the Movies:
Aazadi Ki Raah Par, 1949
Naujawaan, 1951
Baazi, 1951
Shahenshah, 1953
Humsafar, 1953
Alif Laila, 1953
Taxi Driver, 1954
House No. 44, 1955
Marine Drive, 1955
Devad, 1955
Pyaasa, 1957
Naya Daur, 1957
Phir Subah Hogi, 1958
Barsat Ki Raat, 1960
Hum Dono, 1961
Taj Mahal, 1963
Gumraah, 1963
Chitralekha, 1964
Waqt, 1965
Humraaz, 1967
Naya Rasta, 1970
Dastan, 1972
Joshila, 1973
Deewar, 1975
Zameer, 1975
Laila Majnu, 1976
Kabhie Kabhie, 1976
Trishul, 1978
Kala Patthar, 1978
The Burning Train, 1980
Dhanwan  ( 1981)

Some of Sahir’s Master Pieces
Aana hai to aa rah me kuch pheir nahi hai (Naya Daur, 1957)
Ye duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai (Pyaasa, 1957)
Wo subah hami se aayegi (Phir Subah Hogi, 1958)
Aurat ne janam diya mardo’n ko, mardo’n ne use bazar diya ( Sadhna, 1958)
Tu Hindu banega na musalman banega (Dhool ka Phool, 1959)
Na to kaarwa’n ki talash hai, na to Hamsafar ki talash hai (Barsat ki Raat,1960)
Allah tero naam, ishwar tero naam (Hum Dono, 1961)
Chalo ek baar phir se ajnabi ban jaye hum dono (Gumraah, 1963)
Sansar se bhaage phirte ho, Bhagwan ko tum kiya paawoge (Chitralekha,1964)
Aye meri zohrajabein (Waqt, 1965)
Aagey bhi jane na tu (Waqt, 1965)
Babul ki duayei’n leti jaa , jaa tujh ko sukhi sansar mile (Neel Kamal , 1968)
Main pal do pal ka shayar hoon (Kabhie Kabhie, 1976)
Kabhie kabhie (Kabhi Kabhie, 1976)
Log Aurat ko FaQat , Jism samajh lete hain ( Insaf ka Tarazu ,1980)

1921: Was born on March 8th in Ludhiana, Punjab
1934: Parents got divorced
1942: Admitted to Satish Chander Dhawan Government College For Boys, Ludhiana
1943: Expelled from college and went to Lahore
1945: Got his first Urdu poetry Collection "Talkhiyaan" published
1949: Ran away from Lahore to Delhi and later to Bombay
1949: Got a break in his first Bollywood movie "Aazadi Ki Raah Par"
1951: Gained recognition with Guru Dutt's "Baazi"
1964: Won the Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist for "Taj Mahal"
1971: Honored with Padma Shri Award
1977: Won the Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist for "Kabhie Kabhie"
1980: Died in Mumbai on 25th October, aged 59

                                                                                     Dr.Salman Abid

                                                                                     Founder President
                                              Sahir Ludhianvi Genius Global Research Council, India

(This Article is a random extract from first of its kind RESEARCH SCRIPT written in an Autobiographical Style where Sahir tells the story of  his life all by his own-self in a 240 pages book titled ‘’Main Sahir Hoo’n’’ written by Dr.Salman Abid and Mr.Chander P.Verma. Readers can visualize Sahir’s complete life, love interests and work clearly in this book written as a SCRIPT FOR MOVIE. A First Publication by Sahir Ludhianvi Genius Global Research Council.India.

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