Saturday, October 22, 2011


Sahir, like his name, was a "magician" of words. He wove fascinating images in songs and ghazals, spellbinding his listeners and readers for decades. For about thirty years, he remained associated with the Hindi film industry. He composed hundreds of songs for Hindi/Urdu films. Most of his songs became hugely popular and are even today sung and hummed by people of all generations. Sahir`s most remarkable contribution is that through his lyrics, he catapulted the standards of Hindi film songs to a level that became the benchmark for quality poetry. His lyrics have immortalized many songs in the memory of Hindi film lovers.

For a moment, imagine and visualize the scene from Guru Dutt`s Pyaasa (1957) :

Jinhe naaz hai Hind par wo kahan hain !

The song succinctly portrays the decadence in Indian society, even as the accompanying visual is the camera tracking through a street of brothels. Or remember a dashing Devanand in Hum Dono (1961), bellowing curls of smoke and singing :-

Main zindagii kaa saath nibhaataa chalaa gayaa
Har fikr ko dhuwein mein uRhaataa chalaa gayaa

Take a romantic Amitabh Bachchan, ambling about a bed of flowers and crooning in the sylvan color riot of Yash Chopra`s Kabhi Kabhi (1976).

Early life: A soul rending journey

1921. Abdul Hayi (later Sahir Ludhianvi) was born in 1921 in a jagirdar (feudal) family in Ludhiana, Punjab. He had several stepmothers but he was the only son of his father, a rich landlord.

1934. His childhood was hardly normal. When he was in his early teens, his parents separated. Sahir stayed with his mother choosing penury over luxury when his mother took the bold step of getting away from her man, forfeiting all claims to the financial assets. Father sued for child-custody and lost. There were threats that he will make sure Sahir does not live with his mother very long, even if that means taking the child's life. Mother found friends who kept a close watch on Sahir and din't let him out of sight. His mother and uncle took care of him. The formative years of Sahir were steeped in fear and financial deprivation. He studied at Khalsa High School, Ludhiana.

1939. He went to the Government College there. He soon became popular for his extracurricular activities, especially poetry. He fell in love with one of his fans, the daughter of a rich man. But, the affair ended because of Sahir`s poverty and he was finally expelled from college. The streak of tragedy developed early in his life -- his mother`s suffering, while his father enjoyed a comfortable life, and his own failure to find love.

1943: Out of college, and by now having finished writing his first serious work *TalkhiyaaN*, Sahir leaves Ludhiana and goes to Lahore to find a publisher who would take it. He does, after two years of getting shuttled here and there.

1945: The result was a collection of Poems, Talkhiyaan (Bitterness Galore), his first serious work. He left Ludhiana for Lahore and after struggling for two years succeeded in publishing his work. He then took up the editorship of Adab-e-Latif, Shahkaar and later on, Savera, which were reputed Urdu magazines.

1949. Sahir`s inflammatory writings in Savera got him an arrest warrant from the Pakistan government, and he had to leave Lahore. He fled to Delhi and stayed there for a few months. Finally, he went over to Bombay and settled there. For the next 31 years, he created history. He wrote more than 200 amazing ghazals, geets (songs), nazms (a genre of Urdu poetry), and songs, which have become a part of the evergreen and immortal body of Hindi film music. His style of writing lyrics revolutionized song writing in Bollywood.

Veteris Vestegia Flammae : Sahir, the Love of Amrita's Life?

A bachelor to the end, Sahir Ludhianvi fell in love with writer Amrita Pritam and singer Sudha Malhotra, relationships that never fructified in the conventional sense and left him sad. Ironically, the two ladies' fathers wouldn't accept Sahir, an atheist, because of his perceived religion. Had they seen the iconoclast in him, that would have been worse; being an atheist was worse than belonging to the 'other' religion. Sahir, perhaps, had an answer to such artificial barriers in these lines written for Naya Raasta (1970):

Nafraton ke jahan mein humko pyaar ki bastiyaan basaani hain
Door rehna koi kamaal nahin, paas aao to koi baat bane

(In this world, full of hatred, we have to build a colony of love,
Staying afar is no great achievement, come close so that we can achieve our purpose.)

A path-breaking writer in her language, Amrita chose to live life on her own terms. Locked in a loveless marriage to a businessman at the age of 16, she fell in love with the poetry of Sahir Ludhianvi and nurtured an infatuation for many years. She wrote his name hundreds of times on a sheet of paper while addressing a press conference. They would meet without exchanging a word, Sahir would puff away. After Sahir's departure, Amrita would smoke the cigarette butts left behind by him. According to Amrita, Sahir was a weaver of words, who, all his life, continued weaving the dreams of others but he, himself, could not become the dream of any. Amrita Pritam was that lady who not only loved him but worshipped him like a god. After his death, Amrita said she hoped the air mixed with the smoke of the butts would travel to the other world and meet Sahir! Such was their obsession and intensity. A Maude Gonne bye Yeats!

Aur mujhe lagta hai -
Ki shamshan ki aag, aag ka apmaan hai
Kisi Sohni, Sassi ya Heer mein -
Jo aag jalti thi
Mujhe us aag ki pehchaan hai

( I feel that the fire of the cremation ghat is an insult to the flame. I recognize the "flame" that burnt in the hearts of any Sohni, Sassi or Heer.)

The Truth - Her Life was an Open Book - Including Her love for Sahir Ludhianvi

The greatest aspect of Amrita Pritam's life was the way she embraced truth. She gave a new meaning to the expression "my life is an open book." Whatever she experienced, she recorded in her poems and novels - her legendary love for Sahir Ludhianvi, the famous Urdu poet, included. So many of her anecdotes revolved around her love for this man. Like the time her son came to her and said, "People say that I am Sahir Uncle's son." Imagine the inner courage and conviction of a woman who could reply, " I wish you were Sahir Uncle's son."

Amrita Pritam's Tribute on Sahir's Death

Amrita's tribute, on Sahir’s death, was also above par and it could not have been any better by anybody other than Amrita Pritam. Sometimes before Sahir died, both Amrita and Sahir had gone to Russia to attend a conference. There, they were given small name plates to display on their body but since the plates had been made in Hindi, Sahir’s plate went to Amrita and her plate went to Sahir. Sahir wanted to exchange but she said no to it saying that this way his name will be more near to her heart. After a short period of their return from Russia, Sahir died. She said, "I made the biggest mistake of my life in not exchanging the plates. It was actually my death that was destined but the god of death, mistakenly, took away Sahir seeing my placard pinned on his chest."

Vignettes of tragedy and revolt

duniyaa ne tajrubaat-o-hawaadis ki shakl meiN
jo kuchh mujhe diyaa hai vo lauTaa rahaa houN maiN

This couplet appeared on the first page of Sahir's first poetry book : 'talkhiyaaN' (Bitterness), and aptly so.

Ashkon mein jo paya hai, woh geeton me diya hai...

Sahir was basically a romantic poet. He had failed in love many times and therefore, his poetry is full of tragic emotions. He excels in portraying tragedy without going overboard. He talks of personal romance and the ensuing disillusionment. Then he talks of universal romance, and
the inevitable frustration that follows it. His poetry is an amazing canvas of romantic shades.

Bichchad gaya har saathi de kar, pal do pal ka saath
Kisko fursat hai jo thaame deewanon ka haath
Humko apna saaya tak, aksar bezaar mila
Humne to jab kaliyan mangin, kaaton ka haar mila !

The style is simple, straight, and direct. He minces no words. He expresses his thoughts directly without sublimating emotions. Sahir at times gets angry too. His anger can be against God or society. He challenges God and he challenges moribund traditions of society. He throws a gauntlet at the bourgeoisie members of society and their feudal mentality:

Are O Aasmaanwale! Bata isme bura kya hai
Khushi ke chaar jhonke gar idhar se bhi guzar jaaen

As a poet, Sahir belonged to the Progressive Writers` Movement. His poetry had a clear leaning towards socialist philosophy. Sahir was a multifaceted poet. Though his poetry was mostly tragic, romantic, and socialist, he also gave his perspectives on humanism, secularism, and
feminism :

Sansaar kii har ek besharmii,
ghurbat kii god mein paltii hai
Chaklon mein hii aake ruktii hai,
faaqon mein jo raah nikaltii hai
Mardon kii hawas hai jo aksar,
aurat ke paap mein dhaltii hai

A colossus among song writers, Sahir fought for, and became the first film lyricist to get, royalty from music companies. He would deeply involve himself in the setting of tunes for his songs. Any wonder why they are extra melodious? There was a negative trait too: Sahir would
insist he be paid a rupee more for each song than Lata Mangeshkar was.

Sahir will always find place in the hearts of his fans and his words will always echo ...

maiN pal do pal ka shaayar houN
pal do pal meri kahaanii hai
pal do pal meri hastii hai
pal do pal meri javaanii hai

mujhse pahle kitne shaayar aaye
aur aa kar chale gaye
kuchh aaheiN bhar kar lauT gaye
kuchh naGhme gaa kar chale gaye
vo bhi ik pal ka qissa the
maiN bhi ik pal ka qissa houN
kal tumse judaa ho jaaouNgaa
go aaj tumhaaraa hissaa houN

The truth is, that Sahir, the magician of lyrics, was perhaps the last of his tribe. His place in Hindi film music remains at the top, unchallenged, and untouchable. We lost this magician to death, in 1980.

Sahir was considered a *romantic*: personal romance and the resultant disillusionment, followed by universal romance and the resultant frustration with *the way it is*. He never minced the words, did not sublimate emotions. He expressed thoughts clearly and directly. He used to get angry and sarcastic, and at the same time he used to dream. It was the dreamer in Sahir that gave him his characteristic style: *narm-o-naazuk swar, shabdoN ki sundar taraash-kharaash aur neeNd mein doobaa huaa vaataavaran*:

Sahir`s Works

Talkhiyaan (1943), Parchhaiyaan (1953), Tanhaiyaan Aao Koi Khwaab Bune (Collected works), Gaata Jaaye Banjaara (Movie songs)

His famous nazms include Parchhayiaan, Taj Mahal, Gurez, Kabhi kabhi, Kisi ko Udaas dekh kar, Chakley, etc. among others.

Here is a short documentary on great Poet Sahir Ludhianvi's work and life :-

Here is another documentary on the great Poet Sahir Ludhianvi created by Rajya Sabha TV :-


Here is a beautiful write up by Mr. Guri, contributed by
him on June 20, 1995, on the site :-


Sorry, guys, for coming around here less often than I've
wanted to...been engulfed in a production ...I had started
this post in the days of RJGK 22, when I think it was
Ashok who said the article on Sahir's life talked
about 'Universal Love' in his shaayari but not about
his 'socialistic''s what me thinks :))

The guy who wrote:

zindagHi sirf mohabbat nahiN kuchh aur bhi hai
zulf-o-rukhsaar ki jannat nahiN kuchh aur bhi hai
bhookh aur pyaas ki maari huyi is duniyaa meiN
ishq hi ek haqeeqat nahiN kuchh aur bhi hai

found it quite natural, at one time, to get immersed in
a 'revolution' of his own design...a war against injustice
of 'all' kinds as he perceived it, be it the injustice
done to him by people like his father/his beloved's
father, or that perpetrated by other perceived oppressors
against the man on the street. Sometime in the early
sixties, Sahir's pen seemed to become his sword in this
war, and he wrote:

ham amn chaahte haiN magar zulm ke khilaaf
gar jang laazmee hai to phir jang hi sahi

zaalim ko jo na rokay vo shaamil hai zulm meiN
qaatil ko jo na Tokay vo qaatil ke saath hai
ham sar-ba-kaf uTThay haiN ke haq fatehyaab ho
keh do usay jo lashkar-e-baatil ke saath hai

is Dhang par hai zor to ye Dhang hi sahi

[sar-ba-kaf=hatHeli par sar lekar
lashkar-e-baatil=jhooTh ki senaa]

Very quickly, of course, these 'socially-conscious' pieces
brought the poet himself a label of 'the socialist'...all
kinds of movements of a similar nature readily owned Sahir
as their spokesman, and Sahir wrote more:

zulm phir zulm hai, baDtaa hai to miT jaataa hai
khoon phir khoon hai, Tapkegaa to jam jaayegaa

zulm ki baat hi kyaa, zulm ki auqaat hi kyaa
zulm bas zulm hai, aagaaz se anjaam talak

khoon phir khoon hai, sau shaql badal saktaa hai
aesee shaqleN ke miTaao to miTaaye na bane
aese sholay ke bujhaao to bujhaaye na bane
aese naaray ke dabaao to dabaaye na bane!

kuchh din tak chaltaa rahaa ye pravaah 'zulm' ke
khilaaf 'jang' ke jazbaat ka...Pdt. Nehru died...1965 ki
Indo-Pak conflict apnay saath jang ki us bhayaanak shaql
ko lekar saamne aayi jisme apnay roobaroo apnay khoon ko
bemaqsad behtay dekh kar Sahir ko apni hi likhi huyi usi
ghazal ki akhri do laayineN jaise yaad aa gayiN

tum agar aaNkh churaao to ye haq hai tumko
maine tumse hi nahiN, sabse mohabbat ki hai

baat to vohi mohabbat se shuroo huyi tHi, jang-0-khooN
meiN kaise aTak kar reh saktee tHi? He wrote:

khoon apnaa ho ya paraayaa ho
nasl-e-aadam ka khoon hai aakhir

jang mashriq meiN ho ke magHrib meiN
amn-e-aalam ka khoon hai aakhir

jang to khud hi ek mas_alaa hai
jang kyaa mas_aloN ka hal degee
aag aur khoon aaj bakhshegee
bhookh aur ehtiyaaj kal degee

isliye ae shareef insaano
jang Taltee rahe to behtar hai
aap aur ham sabhi ke aaNgan meiN
shammaa jaltee rahe to behtar hai

bartaree ke suboot kee khaatir
khooN bahaanaa hi kyaa zarooree hai?
ghar ki taareeqiyaan miTaane ko
ghar jalaanaa hi kyaa zarooree hai?

Sufi-poets usually equate ISHQ with IBAADAT, and many a
time therefore, oppose organised religion and organised
conflict (war) of all kinds. They also talk about love
with the beloved being the same as love with God as well
as with all of His creation. They consider this kind of
love to be, sometimes, a difficult, yet the only way
to 'get there'. Previous sufi-poets who have left a huge
treasure of kalaam (usually sung, not recited...a lot of
it in the form of Qawwalis / KaafiyaaN / Dohay / Rang)
etc. They express a close affinity to all the popular love-
ballads: Heer-Ranjha, Laila-Majnu, Sassi-Punnu, Dhola-
Maaru, Shirin-Farhaad, even Radha-Krishna and Seeta-Ram.

Sahir was never very far from this preoccupation with
ishq...he had written earlier in 'TalkhiyaaN':

mere sarkash taraane sun ke duniyaa ye samajhtee hai
ke shaayad mere dil ko ishq ke nagHmoN se nafrat hai

magHar ae kaash dekheN vo meree pursoz raatoN ko
main jab taaroN pe nazreN gaaDkar aaNsoo bahaataa hooN

maiN shaayar hooN mujhe fitrat ke nazzaaroN se ulfat hai
meraa dil dushman-e-nagHmaa-saraayi ho nahiN saktaa
nagHmaa-saraayi=geet gaanaa]

mujhe insaaniyat ka dard bhi bakhshaa hai qudrat ne
meraa maqsad faqat sholaa-nawaayi ho nahiN saktaa
sholaa-nawaayi=aag barsaanaa]

The late-sixties saw a number of sufiyaanaa stuff from
Sahir in the movies. When he talked about the fundamentals
of sufism in... Barsaat Ki Raat / Roshan:

ishq aazaad hai, hindu na musalmaan hai ishq
aap hi dharm hai, aur aap hi imaan hai ishq

Allah aur Rasool ka farmaan ishq hai
yaani Hadees ishq hai, Quraan ishq hai
Gautam ka aur Maseeh ka armaan ishq hai
Ye qaaynaat jism hai, aur jaan ishq hai
ishq Sarmad, Ishq hi Mansoor hai
ishq Moosaa, Ishq Koh-e-toor hai
khaq ko but, aur but ko devtaa kartaa ishq
intehaa ye hai ke banday ko Khudaa kartaa hai ishq!

And, BTW, the following couplet in this qawwali
is 'inspired' by the famous Sufi Amir Khusrau :)


bahut kaThin hai dagar panghaT ki
(ab) kyaa bhar laaooN maiN jamunaa se maTakee
maiN jo chali jal jamunaa bharaN ko
(dekho ri sakhi ri)
maiN jo chali jal jamunaa bharaN ko
Nand ko chhoro mohe rok-ke chhaaRo
(to) kyaa bhar laooN maiN jamunaa se maTakee

(ab) laaj raakho mere ghooNghaT-paT kee


bahut kaThin hai dagar panghaT ki
kaise maiN bhar laaooN madhwaa se maTakee

paniyaa bharan ko maiN jo gayi tHee
dauR jhapaT moree maTakee paTakee

Khusrau nizaam ke bal-bal jaayiae
laaj raakho mere ghooNghaT paT kee

Back to Sahir...he talked about the khokhlaapan of
organised religion and man-made divisions of this planet
in ...Dhool Ka Phool / N. Dutta:

achhaa hai abhi tak teraa kuchh naam nahiN hai
tujhko kisi mazhab se koyi kaam nahiN hai
jis ilm ne insaan ko taqseem kiyaa hai
us ilm ka tujh pe koyi ilzaam nahiN hai !

maaliq ne har inssan ko insaan banaayaa
hamne usay hindu ya musalmaan banaayaa
qudrat ne to bakhshee tHee hameN ek hi dhartee
hamne kahiN Bharat kahiN Iran banaayaa

nafrat jo sikhaaye vo dharam teraa nahiN hai
insaan ko roNday vo qadam teraa nahiN hai
Quraan na ho jisme vo mandir nahiN teraa
Geeta na ho jisme vo haram teraa nahiN hai

And he put ishq-o-mohabbat above takht-o-taaj in... Tal
Mahal / Roshan:

aap daulat ke taraazoo meiN diloN ko toleN
ham mohabbat se mahabbat ka silaa dete haiN

takht kyaa cheez hai aur laal-o-jawaahar kyaa hai
ishq waale to khudaayi bhi luTaa dete haiN

And he questioned the sin-virtue concept pushed by
organised religion in...Chitralekha / Roshan:

ye paap hai kyaa, ye punya hai kyaa ?
reetoN par dharm ki mohreN haiN
har yug meiN badalte dharmoN ko
kaise aadarsh banaaoge ?

And when he came back to the love with khudaayi, this time
he compared God with baabul in...Dil Hi To Hai / Roshan:

bhool gayi sab bachan bidaa ke
kho gayi maiN sasuraal meiN aake

koree chunariyaa aatmaa moree
mael hai maayaa jaal
vo duniyaa more baabul ka ghar
ye duniyaa sasuraal
jaa ke babul se nazareN milaaooN kaise,
ghar jaaoN kaise
laagaa chunaree meiN daag chhupaaooN kaise

He wrote plenty of love-songs, plenty of zamaanaa-khilaaf
songs, plenty of insaan-ki-insaan-se-mohabbat songs...most
of this stuff had couplets that relate to the concept of
sufism (which may comment on 'pre-occupation' with
material things, and may disagree with putting 'daulat'
ahead of 'dil' but does not have an 'unconditional'
problem with the use/enjoyment of material things as such)
a lot more than to the narrower concept of anti-
capitalism...understandably I guess, because when he found
himself in the midst of success and 'capital' the guy did
not abstain from an extravagant personal life-style
himself ! He supported it thus:

ye bhog bhi ek tapasyaa hai
tum tyaag ke maare kyaa jaano

ham janm bitaa kar jaayenge
tum janm gaNvaa kar jaaoge !

Source: From the archives of ALUP


An extract from an article contributed by Anupama on Hamara Forum (

Amrita Pritam wrote in her autobiography - Raseedi Ticket :-

"I recall - many years ago when Sahir had come to Delhi, he invited me and Imroz to the hotel where he was staying. We were there for a couple of hours. Sahir had placed an order for whisky and there were three glasses on the table. We returned deep into the night.And when it was almost midnight - Sahir called me up saying : " There are still three glasses lying on the table, and by turn I am sipping from each of them, and writing '' These Empty Goblets Are My Companions." ( Mere Saathi Khaali Jaam )

Dooj ka Chand(1964): Roshan

Mehfil se uth jane walon tum logon par kya ilzaam
Tum abaad gharon ke baasi main awaara aur badnaam
Mere Saathi, mere saathi, mere saathi khaali jaam

Do din tumne pyar jataya, do din tumse mel raha
Aachha khasa waqt kata aur achha khasa khel raha
Ab us khel ka jikr hi kaisa, waqt kata aur khel tamaam
Mere saathi...

Tumne dhoondhi sukh ki daulat, maine pala gham ka rog
Kaise banta kaise nibhta ye rishta aur ye sanjog
Maine dil ko dil se tola tumne maange pyar ke daam
Mere Saathi ...

Tum duniya ko behtar samjhe main pagal tha khwaar hua
Tumko apnane nikla tha khud se bhi bezaar hua
Dekh liya ghar phoonk tamasha jaan liya apna anjaam
Mere saathi...

Bezaar: angry, disgusted, out of humor
Khar: angry, thistle/thorn,

Mehfil se uth jane walon... the sense of being suddenly abandoned, it is a very dramatic and visual beginning. The word "abaad" is suggestive of being peopled, flourishing, whereas the opposite of that would be "barbaad" which is not actually used in the song to describe the poet's situation. Instead the opposting term is "awaara" "badnaam" suggesting his disassociation from any social moorings...

The only companions he has are -and it is in the repetition and brilliant rendition of Rafi's "mere saathi, mere saathi, mere saathi...khali jaam", that the song really packs the emotional punch...and it is this word "Khaali" that finally opposes the earlier analogies of mehfil and abaad.

That emptiness seeps into the following stanzas. He rejects any sense of fulfilment in their relationship, it has been a futile time offering nothing, "waqt Kata aur khel tamam".

The opposing images that he chooses for the lover and the girl who left him are unique in that they do not form what I can only call parallel oppositions. In the same way as "abaad" is not pitted against "barbaad" in the second stanza, in response to"tumne dhoondhi sukh ki daulat" the poet is not saying he has chosen "pyar ki daulat" but uses the much more galling "maine pala gham ka rog" ... It is definitely not a positive emotion that he pits against his beloved's materialism... There is nothing heroic or defiant but something very dreary about this image, it is a sickness that he has nurtured...Only in the last line does he allow himself an accusation: "Maine dil ko dil se tola/tumne maange pyar ke daam" but in the next stanza the tone lapses back into despair.

A situation where the beloved has chosen someone else over the lover/poet and is obviously in a better position is often accusatory in tone but in this song the dominant emotion is that of exhausion. He agrees that she understood the world better, she is a survivor, he is the crazy one who ended up getting angry and disillusioned. The second line is an ironic look at himself, rare in disappointed lovers... "tumko apnane nikla tha khud se bhi bezaar hua" he was looking to support her in a relationship and has ended up alienated from himself. The self criticism continues, he has ended up with nothing, his "house" blown up into dust, becoming a mere spectacle of the moment and he knows where he is headed...

Now take a look at another song from a drunk lover once again in Rafi's magical voice(I cannot imagine any other singer singing this song)

Whereas the first song emerges out of personal disappointment at the breaking up of a relationship the self ananlysis, depairing though it is,still functions from within the parameters(social/material/emotional), drawn by society. The second song is much more nihilistic. Emerging out of the same situation, it goes on to incredible, iconoclastic denunciations, a coalesing of perhaps a lot of the questions and emotions that one feels/or might feel across the span of a lifetime, or some of those at least...

Vaasna (1968): Chitragupt

Aaj is darja pila do ke na kuch yaad rahe
Bekhudi itni badha do ke na kuch yaad rahe

Dosti kya hai wafa kya hai mohabbat kya hai
Dil ka kya mol ahsaas ki keemat kya hai
Hamne sab jaan liya hai ke haqeeqat kya hai
Aaj bas itni dua do ke na kuch yaad rahe

Muflisi dekhi ameeri ki ada dekh chuke
Gham ka mahaul mussarrat ki fiza dekh chuke
Kaise phirti hai zamane ki hawa dekh chuke
Shama yaadon ki bujha do ke na kuch yaad rahe
Aaj is darja...

Ishq bechain khayalon ke siwa kuch bhi nahin
Husn berooh ujalon ke siwa kuch bhi nahin
Zindagi chand sawalon ke siwa kuch bhi nahin
Har sawaal aise mita do ke na kuch yaad rahe
Aaj is darja...

Mit na payega jahan se kabhi nafrat ka rivaaz
Ho na payega kabhi rooh ke zakhmon ka ilaaz
SUltanat zulm khuda vahm museebat hai samaaj
Zehan ko aise sula do ke na kuch yaad rahe...

Musarrat: joy
Zehan: mind

Erasing memories...

He begins by attacking the three mainstays of human relationships...Dosti, wafa and mohabbat...He has realised what those concepts mean...just as he knows the truth about the value of the heart and the value of emotions.

In the second stanza, he rejects not just the lifestyle of the rich , but also that of the "muflis", an identity he sought to don in so many of his other poems, he has experienced both happiness and despair...and rejects both in the context how how fickle the mood of the world is vis-a vis both. In this poem too he uses repetition as a tool to drive home a point, in the first stanza he uses the word "Kya hai" to underscore his questioning, in the second stanza he uses the ironic "dekhi/dekh chuke".

The mood of the poem builds towards rejection of some of the most cherished subjects of his own poetry...

Love is nothing but restless imagination
Beauty is nothing but soulless light
Life is nothing beyond a few questions...

It is impossible to erase the culture of hatred in this world and impossible to cure the wounds of the soul... and finally moves to articulate some of his most iconoclastic metaphors in poetry...

Sultanat zulm, khuda vehm, museebat hai samaaj

And then ...

Let the mind sleep in such a way that the memories don't haunt...

Sahir has palpably moved away from the personal disappointment in love that the song begins with, moving to a sweeping rejection of everything that he has held dear uptil now. If the first poem is despairing, the poet disappointed in love coming face to face with the fact that his affair, his ideals and his life have been in vain, the second song is much vaster in scope, his personal disappointment quickly moving on to a rejection of all relationships, lifestyles, ideals and ideologies...The second poem is no less despairing but the scope of the despair is much wider, not just encompassing the poet and his life but all human endeavour...And yet the beauty and power of the poem lies in how personal he makes that rejection...

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Movie: Bahu Beti
Singer(s): Mohammad Rafi
Music Director: Ravi
Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi

jiyo to aise jiyo jaise sab tumhaaraa hai
maro to aise ki jaise tumhaaraa kuchh bhii nahii.n

ye ek raaz hai ki duniyaa na jisako jaan sakii
yahii vo raaz jo zindagii se haasil hai
tumhii.n kaho ye raaz tumhe.n kaise samajhaa_uu.N
ke zindagii kii ghuTan zindagii kii qaatil hai
har ek nigaah ko ye qudarat kaa ishaaraa hai
jiyo to aise jiyo ...

jahaa.N me.n aa ke jahaa.N se khi.nche-khi.nche na raho
vo zindagii hii nahii.n jisame.n aas bujh jaa_e
ko_ii bhii pyaas dabaa_e se dab nahii.n sakatii
isii se chain milegaa ki pyaas bujh jaa_e
ye kahake mu.Dataa hu_aa zindagii kaa dhaaraa hai
jiyo to aise jiyo ...

ye aasamaa.N ye zamii.n ye fizaa ye nazaare
taras rahe hai.n tumhaarii ik nazar ke li_e
nazar churaa ke har ek shai ko yuu.N na Thukaraa_o
ko_ii shariiq-e-safar Dhuu.NDh lo safar ke li_e
bahut qariib se maine tumhe.n pukaaraa hai
jiyo to aise jiyo ...

You can view this song through this video :-

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Haal hii mein puraanii film Leader dekh rahaa thaa to uss mein Shakeel Badayuni Saheb kaa likhaa hua giit thaa "Ik Shahanshah ne banwaa ke hasiin Tajmahal duniayaan waalon ko mahabbat kii nishaanii dii hai". Sahir Saheb kaa muriid hone kii wajah se mujhe bessakhtaa Sahir Saheb kii nazam "Tajmahal" yaad aa gayii. Main yeh nahin kehtaa ki Shakeel Saheb ke giit mein koyii kamii hai lekin yeh toh maanna paRhegaa ki unhon nein giit likhaa film kii zaroorat ke mutaabiq jab ki Sahir Saheb kii nazam bayaan kartii hai haqiqat-e-haaziraa ko.

Chalo, Sahir Saheb kii nazam paRh kar khud hii faislaa kar lijiye :-


taaj tere liye ik mazahar-e-ulfat hii sahii
tum ko is vaadii-e-rangii.n se aqiidat hii sahii

mere mahabuub kahii.n aur milaa kar mujh se!

bazm-e-shaahii me.n Gariibo.n kaa guzar kyaa maanii
sabt jis raah pe ho.n satavat-e-shaahii ke nishaa.N
us pe ulfat bharii ruuho.n kaa safar kyaa maanii

merii mahabuub pas-e-pardaa-e-tashhiir-e-vafaa
tuu ne satavat ke nishaano.n ko to dekhaa hotaa
murdaa shaaho.n ke maqaabir se bahalevaalii
apane taariik makaano.n ko to dekhaa hotaa

anaginat logo.n ne duniyaa me.n muhabbat kii hai
kaun kahataa hai ki saadiq na the jazbe un ke
lekin un ke liye tashhiir kaa saamaan nahii.n
kyuu.N ke vo log bhii apanii hii tarah mufalis the

ye imaaraat-o-maqaabir ye fasiile.n, ye hisaar
mutal-qulhukm shahanashaaho.n kii azamat ke sutuu.N
daaman-e-dahar pe us rang kii gulakaarii hai
jis me.n shaamil hai tere aur mere ajadaad kaa Khuu.N

merii mahabuub! u.nhe.n bhii to muhabbat hogii
jinakii sannaa_ii ne baKhshii hai ise shakl-e-jamiil
un ke pyaaro.n ke maqaabir rahe benaam-o-namuud
aaj tak un pe jalaa_ii na kisii ne qa.ndiil

ye chamanazaar ye jamunaa kaa kinaaraa ye mahal
ye munaqqash dar-o-diivaar, ye maharaab ye taaq
ik shahanashaah ne daulat kaa sahaaraa le kar
ham Gariibo.n kii muhabbat kaa u.Daayaa hai mazaak

mere mahabuub kahii.n aur milaa kar mujhase!



[mazahar-e-ulfat=symbol of love;
vaadii-e- rangii.n=beautiful spot;
[bazm-e-shaahii=royal court; sabt=etched]
[satavat-e-shaahii=royal grandeur;
ulfat bharii ruuh=lovers]
[pas-e-pardaa-e-tashhiir-e-vafaa=behind the veil
of thisadvertisement of faith/love]
[satavat=wealth/grandeur; maqaabir(maqabaraa)=tomb;
[saadiq=true; tashhiir=advertisement; mufalis=poor]
[hisaar=forts; mutal-qulhukm=unthinking/arrogant;
azamat= greatness; sutuu.N=symbol]
[daaman-e-dahar=on the face of this world;
gulakaarii=flowers and vines; ajadaad=ancestors]
[sannaa_ii=artistry; shakl-e-jamiil=beautiful form]
[benaam-o-namuud=without name or even a trace;
[chamanazaar=garden; munaqqash=picturesque]

View this Nazam sung by Rafi Saheb for the Movie Ghazal on Late Sunil Dutt jii :-

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Here is a beautiful nazam written by Sahir Saheb :-


Dekhaa hai zindagii ko kuchh itnaa qariib se
Chehare tamaam lagane lage hain ajiib se

Iss rengatii hayaat kaa kab tak uThaayein baar
Biimaar abb ulajhane lage hain tabiib se

[rengatii = crawling; baar = weight; tabiib = healers]

Har gaam par hai majamaa-e-ushshaaq muntazir
Maqtal kii raah milatii hai kuu-e-habiib se

[gaam = step; majamaa = crowd; ushshaaq = lovers (plural of aashiq)]
[maqtal = place where peopel are executed; kuu-e-habiib = friend's street]

Iss tarah zindagii ne diyaa hai hamaaraa saath
Jaise koyii nibaah rahaa ho raqiib se

[raqiib = rival]

ai ruuh-e-asar jaag kahaa.N so rahii hai tuu
aavaaz de rahe hai.n payambar saliib se

[saliib = cross]


Movie: Ek Mahal Ho Sapnon Ka
Singer(s): Kishore Kumar
Music Director: Ravi
Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi

Dekhaa hai zindagii ko, kuchh itnaa kariib se
Chehare tamaam lagane lage hain ajiib se

Kehane ko dil kii baat jinhein DhuunDhate the ham - 2
Mehafil mein aa gaye hain woh apne nasiib se
Dekhaa hai zindagii ko, kuchh itnaa kariib se

Niilam ho rahaa thaa kisii naazniin kaa pyaar - 2
Qiimat nahiin chukaayii gayii ik Gariib se
Dekhaa hai zindagii ko, kuchh itanaa kariib se

Terii vafaa kii laash pe laa main hii Daal duun - 2
Resham kaa ye kafan jo milaa hai raqiib se
Dekhaa hai zindagii ko, kuchh itnaa kariib se

Saturday, April 26, 2008


A real life song of Sahir Saheb and Sudha Malhotra ji from the Movie "GIRL FRIEND"


Singer: Kishore Kumar, Sudha Malhotra
Music Director: Hemant Kumar
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi

Kishore :

Kashtii kaa khaamosh safar hai, shaam bhii hai tanahaaii bhii
Duur kinaare par bajatii hai leharon kii shahanaaii bhii
Aaj mujhe kuchh kehanaa hai, aaj mujhe kuchh kehanaa hai
Lekin ye sharmiilii nigaahein mujhko ijaazat dein to kahuun
Yeh merii betaab umangein thoRhii fursat dein toh kahuun

Sudha :

Jo kuchh tumko kehanaa hai, woh mere hii dil kii baat naa ho
Jo mere khvaabon kii manzil uss manzil kii baat naa ho

Kishore :

Kehate hue Darr saa lagataa hai, kehakar baat naa kho baiThuun
Yeh jo zaraa saa saath milaa hai, ye bhii saath na kho baiThuun

Sudha :

Kab se tumhaare raste pe main, phuul bichhaaye baiThii huun
Keh bhii chuko jo kehanaa hai main aas lagaaye baiThii huun

Kishore :

Dil ne dil kii baat samajh lii, abb munh se kyaa kehanaa hai
Aaj nahiin toh kal keh leinge, abb to saath hii rehanaa hai

Sudha :

Keh bhii chuko, keh bhii chuko jo kehanaa hai

Kishore :

ChhoRhoo abb kyaa kehanaa hai

View this song at :-

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Another real life song of Sahir Saheb and Sudha Malhotra ji from the Movie "DIDI"


Singer(s): Mukesh, Sudha Malhotra
Music Director: Sudha Malhotra
Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi

Sudha :

Tum mujhe bhuul bhii jaao toh yeh haq hai tumko
Merii baat aur hai maine toh muhabbat kii hai

Mere dil kii mere jazabaat kii kiimat kyaa hai
Uljhe-uljhe se khyaalaat kii kiimat kyaa hai
Maine kyon pyaar kiyaa tumne naa kyon pyaar kiyaa
In pareshaan savaalaat kii kiimat kyaa hai
Tum jo ye bhii na bataao toh ye haq hai tumko
Merii baat aur hai maine toh muhabbat kii hai
Tum mujhe bhuul bhii jaao toh yeh haq hai tumko

Mukesh :

Zindagii sirf muhabbat nahiin kuchh aur bhii hai
Zulf-o-rukhsaar kii jannat nahiin kuchh aur bhii hai
Bhuukh aur pyaas kii maarii huyii iss duniyaan mein
Ishq hii ek haqiikat nahiin kuchh aur bhii hai
Tum agar aankh churaao toh yeh haq hai tumko
Maine tumse hii nahiin sabse muhabbat kii hai
Tum agar aankh churaao toh yeh haq hai tumko

Sudha :

Tumko duniyaan ke Gham-au-dard se furasat naa sahii
Sabse ulafat sahii mujhse hi muhabbat naa sahii
Main tumhaarii huun yahii mere liye kyaa kam hai
Tum mere hoke raho ye merii qismat naa sahii
Aur bhii dil ko jalaao yeh haq hai tumko
Merii baat aur hai maine toh muhabbat kii hai
Tum mujhe bhuul bhii jaao toh yeh haq hai tumko

View this song at :-


Sunday, April 20, 2008


A really offbeat song emerging from the pen of great Sahir Saheb that has been given the best of voice by the great Rafi Saheb. This is the most haunting melody by late Mohd. Rafi Saheb, as far as I am able to remember. It is absolutely superb ! I just love this song :-


Movie : Neelkamal
Singer : Mohammad Rafi
Music Director : Ravi
Lyricist : Sahir Ludhianvi
Actors/Actresses : Raj Kumar, Waheeda Rehman, Manoj Kumar
Year: 1968

aa jaa aa jaa aa jaa
tujhako pukaare meraa pyaar
aajaa, mai.n to miTaa huu.N terii chaah me.n
tujhako pukaare meraa pyaar

dono jahaa.N kii bhe.nT cha.Dhaa dii maine raah me.n terii
apane badan kii khaaq milaa dii maine aah me.n terii
ab to chalii aa is paar
aajaa mai.n to miTaa huu.N ...

itane yugo.n se itane dukho.n ko koI sah naa sakegaa
merii qasam mujhe tuu hai kisiikii koI kah naa sakegaa
mujhase hai teraa iqaraar
aajaa, mai.n to miTaa huu.N ...

aakhirii pal hai aakhirii aa.Nhe.n tujhe Dhuu.NDh rahii hai.n
Duubatii saa.nse.n bujhatii nigaahe.n tujhe Dhuu.NDh rahii hai.n
saamane aajaa ek baar
aajaa, mai.n to miTaa huu.N ...

View this song at :-

Sunday, April 13, 2008


If you have never wept on seeing or hearing a movie song, have a look at this and try your self control. It is such a soulful song that Sahir Saheb put his soul in the song while writing it, Rafi Saheb put his soul in it while singing it and Balraj Sahni jii and Waheeda Rahman jii put their souls in it while enacting the scenes of the song. It is said that during the period this movie was released, Rafi Saheb actually sang this song on his daughter's marriage :-


Movie: Neelkamal
Singer: Mohammad Rafi
Music Director: Ravi
Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi

baabul kii du_aa_e.N letii jaa jaa tujhako sukhii sa.nsaar mile
maike kii kabhii naa yaad aa_e sasuraal me.n itanaa pyaar mile
baabul kii du_aa_e.N ...

naazo.n se tujhe paalaa maine kaliyo.n kii tarah phuulo.n kii tarah
bachapan me.n jhulaayaa hai tujhako baa.Nho.n ne merii jhuulo.n kii tarah -2
mere baaG kii ai naazuk Daalii tujhe har pal na_ii bahaar mile
baabul kii du_aa_e.N ...

jis ghar se ba.Ndhe hai.n bhaag tere us ghar me.n sadaa teraa raaj rahe
ho.nTho.n pe ha.Nsii kii dhuup khile maathe pe Kushii kaa taaj rahe -2
kabhii jisakii jot na ho phiikii tujhe aisaa ruup-si.ngaar mile
baabul kii du_aa_e.N ...

biite.n tere jiivan kii gha.Diyaa.N aaraam kii Tha.nDii chhaa.Nvo.n me.n
kaa.NTaa bhii na chubhane paa_e kabhii merii laa.Dalii tere paa.Nvo.n me.n -2
us dvaar se bhii dukh duur rahe.n jis dvaar se teraa dvaar mile
baabul kii du_aa_e.N ...

Please view this song at :-