March 28, 2012

Sahir Ludhianvi -A Romantic Rebel..!!

Right from the era of Aristotle to these days there have been numerous attempts to define Poetry. Every Thinker, Philosopher & Writer has had his say but Poetry could never be defined to precision.

This ultimate art form has always had as much of impact upon me as any other artistic manifestation. Friends, I have something interesting to share. As a boy in high-school, I always believed Hindi Poetry was a fiefdom of writers from UP/Bihar until I grew up to know Sahir Ludhianvi. I grew increasingly fond of his lyrics. In fact, my yet-to-be-developed mind had so strong a conviction for all good writers belonging to Bihar & UP that i could have assumed Ludhiana to be somewhere near Bhagalpur, had my knowledge of Geography been any weaker.

Yes! Sahir was the one who busted my childish myth and further went on to develop in me an admiration for the pen of Punjab. I grew up through my teens and came to know about more such iconic poets. For me, it was a surprising revelation. This was the land of Faiz, Bulleh Shah, Shiv Kumar Batalvi, Waris Shah, Amrita Pritam and so on. Mature & Learned, I looked out of Bihar and found people outside could also think!! You can pardon me, for those were my school days and it was a process of enlightenment.

My journey of understanding the literary acumen of Punjab could never have started but for this legendary lyricist of Indian cinema. Deliberating on writers & poets from the land of five rivers, or for that matter the Punjabi/Urdu literature is a topic I can never do justice with. Neither am I that qualified, nor have the authority. So, I would restrain myself to Sahir Ludhianvi and intend to shed some concentrated light on him. Sahir's indomitable personality is as much a topic of discussion as is his breathtaking poetry.

One of the legends of Urdu Poetry, he could easily touch & strike a chord with the audience with words deep and profound in meaning. Born Abdul Hayee on March 8, 1921 at Ludhiana, Sahir Ludhianvi too had his shades of grey, his imperfections which tendered beauty to an attractive personality. Sure, he was Arrogant, Egotist and an antonym of humbleness by the mildest of standards as the critics would say. But no one can deny the fact that he was an iconoclast, a crusader and a maverick. His roller coaster life can be best underlined by his own song "Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya, har fiqr ko dhuwein mein udaata chala gaya." This composition from Hum Dono picturised on DevAnand succinctly describes his debonair life story.

From an ideological point of view, his was a voice against Capitalism, Supression, Corruption & Materialism. With such communist undertones, the Faizian genre was quite evident in Sahir's writings.

A tendency to fight for his beliefs and rights came naturally to him. He was the first ever song writer to get royalties from Music companies after a bitter struggle and his insistence on writing the song before its music was composed was against the usual Bollywood norms and tradition. He once demanded a rupee more than what was paid to Lata Mangeshkar and it was indeed for his efforts that All India Radio began crediting lyricists alongwith singers & musicians before playing a song. Sahir Ludhianvi was a crusader and that too a bitter(talkh) one for many. I must say his collection of urdu poetry is aptly titled -Talkhiyan.

Raj Kapoor starrer "Fir Subah Hogi.." was an adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel "Crime & Punishment". Shankar Jaikishan, as usual, was the obvious choice of Raj Kapoor for this 1958 film. But, Sahir had other plans. He insisted on a musician who had read Fyodor's novel. Ultimately, Sahir's choice, Khayyam superceded and a highly acclaimed song "Woh Subah kabhi toh ayegi.." was born. The song showcases a huge contrast between reality and the poet's hopes for future.
"Jinhe naaz hai Hind par wo kahan hain.." and "Ye duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai.." from Guru Dutt's Pyasa are sublime proofs of his contemplative mind at a very young age.

Talking of lyrics, words can not be arranged any better than in "Chalo ek baar fir se Ajnabi ban jayein.." from Gumrah(1963). The power of words manifested makes it my personal favourite. At the same time, this song also prompts me to talk a bit about Sahir's tumultous Love life.

Renowned Punjabi writer Amrita Pritam got her surname from a marriage to Pritam Singh, a Lahore merchant, but, she was best known as an ardent admirer of Sahir Ludhianvi. She left her husband and had a relation with Sahir which ended when Sahir fell for Sudha Malhotra. Heartbroken Amrita found solace in Imroz, a lesser known artist and Sahir remained a bachelor throughout his life.

Some of today's senior journalists recollect how during a press conference Amrita Pritam wrote Sahir's name hundreds of times on a sheet of paper. "Mann rey tu kaahe na dheer dhare.." so very well suits the fickle mind of the artist.

The biggest contribution of such classic writers is that they enhance the power of written communication and Sahir's poetry has truly created a benchmark for future generations. We had this song from Kabhi Kabhi "Main pal do pal ka shayar hun.." where Sahir further writes.. "Kal koi mujhko yaad kare, kyun koi mujhko yaad kare? Masroof zamaana mere liye kyun waqt apna barbaad kare." This was the only time he got himself wrong and the only point where I don't endorse his words because aur kuchh ho na ho, Sahir ko zamaana yaad zarur rakhega, chahe kitna bhi Masroof ho jaye......


  1. this is a jewel among gems!! The best post and undoubtedly Sahir deserves all the praise.

  2. Ohh.... Beautifully presented article Sir!
    Liked your element of Humour. Writing something so serious like Sahir Ludhianvi with wit and humour is a great task.

    Wish you loads of Success..

  3. Before coming on to this blog of yours, i already was a Fan of Sahir Ludhiyanwi. But, as i post this comment i've also become a Fan of yours.

    Found the link from facebook, read 4 articles till now and have not left your Anupam Abhivyakti. Very interesting(esp "Ek thi Cycle")
    Sir, You write to kill.

    Looking forward to more of your writings. :)

  4. Kripashankar MishraMarch 29, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    Sahir Luhiyanwi was a great figure.
    Some of his songs like 'main pal do pal ka shayar' and 'main jindgi ka sath nibhata chala gaya' are my personal favorite.
    Would say that I enjyed reading your essay. Nice Blog.
    I also read a couple of Hindi articles on your blog. You are so good a writer. Best Wishes..

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  10., tributing a legend in your own style. your reach is increasing. Zindagi ka saath isi tarah se nibhate chalo, tera lakshya ab sikhar pe pahuchna hai, taki log tujhe bhi anupam ki tarah yaad karein.

  11. 'ye duniya agar mil bhi jaye toh kya hai' on emay call it revolutionary and another may call it bitter and rude and may be a bit 'narcissist'.... akhir is duniya mein aisa hai kya jiski chaahat ki jaaye

    chose the right poet to pay tribute to... Sahir ke vyaktitva ka ye pehlu aap kaafi logon se behtar samajh sakte hain aur isiliye shabdoan mein aise piro paaye ki har padhne waale ko Sahir jaana pehchaana lag raha hoga... jaise abhi saath baith kar chai peene waale hoan uske saath....ANUPAM

  12. खरगोश का संगीत राग रागेश्री पर आधारित
    है जो कि खमाज थाट का सांध्यकालीन राग है, स्वरों में
    कोमल निशाद और बाकी स्वर शुद्ध लगते हैं, पंचम इसमें वर्जित है, पर हमने इसमें
    अंत में पंचम का प्रयोग भी किया है, जिससे इसमें राग बागेश्री भी झलकता

    हमारी फिल्म का संगीत वेद नायेर ने दिया है.

    .. वेद जी को अपने संगीत कि प्रेरणा जंगल में चिड़ियों कि चहचाहट से मिलती है.
    Feel free to visit my web-site :: खरगोश

  13. classic sentence closes a nice article...beautiful.......

  14. fantastic article
    i shared this on sahir ludhianvi genius global council page on facebook. plz see and be with us for love to be continued with sahir sahib.
    dr.salman abid


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