Thinking About Sahir Ludhianvi

Some time ago I had written a short piece for Kafila titled ‘One Question‘. I had thought that I was articulating my anger fairly strongly at the refusal of the political apparatus to do any thing to punish the Guilty of the 1992 Bombay Riots, despite the fact that many perpetrators of those riots had been identified by the Justice Srikrishna Commission. My worry was that almost no one seemed to be bothered while every one was ecstatic about the “guilty” of the 1993 Bombay Blasts being brought to book.

There were a few responses that agreed with my contention and sent me links to sites where similar concerns had been raised. There was, however, one response that raised serious questions about my style of writing and went so far as to suggest that “Such a discourse ends up making the most harrowing human tragedies sound like the nearly fossilized shayari of Sahir Ludhianvi”.

Now this set me thinking, not so much about what Panini Pothoharvi was saying, about my language – that had apparently been blunted by the enemy to such an extent that it was in imminent danger of being damaged beyond repair, but about how we have looked at Sahir and how Mr Panini has read Sahir. The more I thought about it the more confused I became about the meaning of the word Fossil.

I do not wish to take on Mr Panini and his fulminations about my ‘inability to carry conviction’. I would rather address the issue of Mr Panini’s own understanding of Sahir and the language of his poetry.

Before coming to Sahir I wish to talk a bit about Urdu, the language that this angry poet from Ludhiana chose as a vehicle for communicating his thoughts. Urdu Poetry has been presented for several decades as a decadent language concerned only with wine and women. The speakers of the language were invariably shown spouting poetry as in Mere Huzoor, spending their time in the kothas of dancing girls as in Pakeeza or Umrao Jaan. They would only dress up in Sherwanis and Achkans and would go mukarrar, Adaab Arz Hai and Takhliya at the drop of a hat.

This depiction of the Speakers of Urdu went hand in hand with depicting Muslims as well (read speakers of Urdu) in a stereo typical fashion. In the 50s and 60s, and to a certain extent in the 70s as well, the language and the speakers were placed in the same unreal locations Kothas, Mushairas and such like, in what were called ‘Muslim Socials’.

Subsequently however the Muslim Social disappeared as a genre – presumably because Muslims were no longer ‘Social’; they were in fact all anti-socials. And so you had Bhais, Smugglers, Gun Runners, Terrorists and all kind of ‘Anti National’ characters who had Muslim names and “Muslim” looks and appearances (what ever that may mean) occupying the space vacated by the Johns, Peters, Michaels, Braganzas and Mogambos.

Urdu however remained suspended in the image that had been given to it in the 50s and 60s. The Jagjit Chitra, Ghulam Ali, Anoop Jalota quartet, that primarily picked up the most banal and trite verses to cater to those who were looking only for easily understood verses of love and drunken orgies, helped perpetuate the idea that Urdu is a decadent language and Urdu poetry is fossilized. I will not be surprised if Mr Panini Pothoharvi has also acquired his understanding of Urdu Poetry from the likes of those mentioned above and from its depiction in the Bombay Cinema, a Cinema that may not create stereotypes but certainly does much to perpetuate them once they have been generated.

It would be absolutely unjust to judge Sahir on the basis of his film songs, though even in those lyrics there is much that is living and vibrant, ‘Wo subah kabhi to aayegi’ and ‘Chin-o-Arab hamara Hindustan hamara/ Rehne ko ghar nahin hai sara jahan hamara’ being just two such.

I think there is need to look a little more closely at Sahir. I think there is need to exercise caution before condemning a writer’s entire body of work to oblivion. I think it will be instructive for Mr Panini Pothoharvi to read Sahir, to read ‘Talkhiyan’ and to read ‘Parchhaiyan’ I would specifically recommend ‘Chakle’ ‘Kuchh Baten’ ‘Tulo-e-ihstrakiyat’ ‘Bangal’ ‘Phir Wohi Kunj-e-Qafas’ ‘Ye Kis Ka Lahoo Hai?’ ‘Aaj’ and ‘Khoon Phir Khoon hai’.

Sahir was one of the leading lights of the PWA, a movement that gave us Faiz, Majrooh, Kaifi, Krishan Chandr, Ram Lal, Bedi, Ismat Chughtai and Majaz. A movement of writers that rose with the anti imperialist struggle to give creative expression, along with their friends and comrades in the IPTA and many other organizations of writers, poets, artists and actors from across the sub continent, to the aspirations of a people fighting to break free.

So don’t be hasty in judging others Mr Panini Pothoharvi, lest you be judged similarly.

Before I wind up a little story about Sahir. Years before he had actually seen the Taj, Sahir wrote a poem about the monument. The poem was full of sound and fury at a decadent ruler who had built a memorial to his beloved. Sahir saw the Taj as an insult to the memory of those nameless ones who could not even place a tomb stone upon the graves of their loved ones. But this was before he had seen the Taj. Have you my dear Panini Pothoharvi read him before condemning him to eternal hell and worse.

92 thoughts on “Thinking About Sahir Ludhianvi”

  1. Thanks Sohail for this opportunity to reflect on a wider issue that has all but vanished from our minds – the fate of Urdu and of its speakers, who alas, are now of course, only Muslims. As someone who grew up with the poetry and ghazals of Ghalib, Faiz, Ali Sardar Jafri, Sahir, Qateel Shifai, rendered in the melodious voices of Noor Jehan, Begum Akhtar, Iqbal Bano…I cannot but identify myself with the world that vanished before my very eyes even as I watched with bewilderment. We were certainly not Muslims and in the 1960s, I do not remember – I must say truthfully, unlike many who would like to uphold the great myths of synceretism – anything like “some of our closest friends were Muslims”. We hardly crossed each others’ way. Yet this cultural world was the world where I grew up. And surely, when you grow up in a culture, you cannot really see it the same way as many others can – say, the ‘objective’ eye of the critic. I may not therefore, be the best person to comment here.
    I must confess though that I have yet to understand the meaning of the comment that you have responded to. There is surely something very deep there that I am unable to get. I consulted some of my other friends about the meaning of the word ‘fossilized’ in the context of Sahir’s shayari. Is it ‘frozen in time’? or as one of them put it, a cultural artefact that has long gone out of circulation? If it is the latter, then clearly Sahir still circulates and gives pleasure. If it is the first, then may be for some people the the particular leftist idiom may have become passe but I think Sahir is first and foremost a romantic poet and his poetry is powerful not because of its slogans but because of its romanticism. In either case, I do not see the relevance of the word ‘fossilized’ here in this context.
    Sahir’s ‘Talkhiyaan’ actually came out in print when he was but a young lad of about 24 years and Talkhiyaan has never ceased to circulate since. However, I would urge a consideration of his poetry as something beyond this collection of a young and angry poet. This was just the beginning of a long and productive life where Sahir emerges as a poet who combines his literary and poetic talent with the new and emerging genre of popular, commercial film music culture. I would go so far as to say that he and his ilk actually constituted the formative moments of that new cultural terrain.In fact, if one were to seriously assess the significance of the work of Sahir and others like him, who were formerly associated with the Progressive Writers’ Association and the IPTA, I think it is the film industry that one must closely look at. The first few decades of the Hindi film industry, notwithstanding its problematic representations (and indeed non-representations!) of the Muslim Other, are crucial in evolving an entirely new and popular cultural and linguistic milieu of which many of us are a product. Some of Sahir’s really powerful poetry exists in popular, filmic form and which along with that of others like him has made the sher, the ghazal, the qawwali a part of the popular everyday in this region. But to understand this, I suppose you have to live the culture. Else, what poetic or aesthetic value can you attach to something like say, the boatmen’s song or that of the Baul?


  2. Fair enough! I haven’t read any of the magnum opus that Sohail Sa’ab has referred to – at least not with the kind of emotional involvement that Saohail Sa’ab might have. I have had the opportunity though to look at Talkhiyaan which I read with a degree of diligence and sympathy that I would normally hesitate to accord to works of such ordinary versification.

    It must be remembered that Sahir’s reputation rests largely – go around asking the cognescenti (and who care about them, anyway) what they think of Sahir’s poetry and you would know a thing or two you wouldn’t wish to hear in your adolescent exuberance – on his film songs. And I must say that I am not greaatly enamoured of his Chin-o-Arab Hamara – the refrain may be catchy but the stanzas simply do not work. To a large extent the same holds true for Woh Subah… And, of course, in our unbridled desire to valorize Sahir, we simply forget to place any credit at the music composers’ door. Khayyam, Shankar Jaikishan, OP Nayyar, Ravi… I would prefer a Majrooh Sultanpuri and a Shailendra to Sahir any day. Kaifi simply woouldn’t make the grade.

    Sahir was enormously popular and I am not making out a case where I would like to pitch him against authentic tinsel such as Indivar, Anjan, Hasrat Jaipuri, Raja Mehendi Ali Khan, Shakeel Badayuni, Rajinder Krishan or Gulshan Bawra… That of course would be questionable if not downright retrograde. However, I think my inability to admire Sahir’s poetry can hardly be conflatable with pernicious attempts to engineer the unfortunate eclipse of Urdu. That would tantamount to trivializing the issue…
    The fact of the matter is that most these Urdu writers cited in your and Mr Nigam’s post chose to willfully eschew their own mother tongue, Punjabi i.e. This, to me, smacks of schizoid hubris. Sahir, Faiz, Bedi, Iqbal and Manto (no sir, they couldn’t speak a word of Kashmiri) were all Punjabis writing in Urdu. Some of these worthies, with the possible exception of Bedi and perhaps Sahir, could barely speak the language in which they wrote, oh, so honorably. “The formative moments of that cultural terrain” that most these writers gave birth to could well be based on a painful disavowal of their own cultural vitality. There is a built-in linguistic bias if not a deeply embedded sense of incapacity vis-a-vis their own language. I wish I could give it a harsher name but I refrain from doing so for IPTA for me remains a one of the most significant cultural movements of Asia.

    And, yes, you bring in the question of the Muslim socials and their gradual disappearance. This interests me deeply. Could you enlighten us as to how many Musilm socials were produced before 1947 and exactly how these MS differed from the subsequent portrayals of Muslims, say upto Guru Dutt’s M. Sadiq directed Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1959-60)? I would appreciate if you could write about this.

    Finally, in my response to your One Question, I had written only half a phrase about Sahir but the point about the radical discourse I had raised goes completely unaddressed – possibly because as Mr Nigam points out it is so completely incomprehensible. Is it?


  3. Being the son of the late lyricist shailendra,i was quite disturbed to read in the mid day about this debate about sahirsahab.i personally feel that all the lyricists of that period, which we now know for sure will be known as the golden era of hindi film music,had their highs and lows.thus it would be unfair on our part to compare them in any way.what we should talk about how they respected and praised each other for any exceptional work.i clearly remember my father coming back from a screening of dosti and before saying a word to anybody,he called up majrooh sahab and congratulated him.majroohsahab on his part, in a televised interview said that we were just shayars trying to write film songs.shailendra was the only true lyricist amongst lets enjoy their great songs and not compare.


    1. I was shocked to read about the comparison of shailendra and Sahir. Both were great poets and respected eachother. An interesting example is: When Sahir Saheb was awarded the Best Lyricist of 1964 Film Taj Mahal, in his acceptance letter to the Filmfare, he wrote that according to him the best song of the year is not Jo Wada Kiya wo but Film Bandini’s Mat Ro Mata Lal written by Shailendra, and therefore he would not like to accept the award. This was the relationship and mutual respects among them. I suggest that we should not create such controversy.


  4. hello
    I am not too sure whether I should write anything at all. you all must be old and informed people. I am a young student living far away from my country. The only thing that keeps me going is the poetry, songs, movies, dreams and aspirations, hopes and articulations of the past. I completely agree with Dinesh ji but cant help feel distressed at the discussion on Sahir. If someone cannot find appealing refrain and stanzas in songs like jinhe naaz hai hind par,kabhi khud pe, wo subah kabhie to aayegi, ye ishq ishq hai, allah tero naam…then I must say its too post modern a discussion!!! I am sorry but it wasn’t the music in the case of these songs or renditions by the singing maseehas like rafi saab and lata that made them popular. These songs had soulful, meaningful words that appealed beyond the music. The same music directors that you mentioned Panini ji could not create music and great songs all the time. Lyrics play a very important role. they are the soul of the song…the music is just the outer covering. You are right in that the outer covering does matter sometimes and appeals but the soul is eternal. There are many songs which appeal only because of the music but not sahir’s songs…he was a poet first, lyricist later!

    We lament that they dont make good songs today not because they dont have music directors but because they cannot write the songs like sahir, majrooh saab , shailendra saab….I am not trying to belittle the role of the great music directors…Just trying to argue that Sahir was a genius in his professional life and his work cannot be dismissed so simply. Moreover any comparisons are not possible as all the writers those days had their own style and yet influenced each other so much. I often came across songs by majrooh which bore unmistakable resemblance to Sahir!

    I am a great fan of Sahir…rather his poetry appeals to my soul in myriad ways. It is part of my daily life. I realise that Dinesh saab, you are a wonderful discovery for me in this discussion. How can I get in touch with you? I need to learn about those golden days and sahir . You might have a lot to share since you are the son of the great Shailendra saab, whose songs were also poetry first and lyrics later!

    This is a good discussion and I hope to learn so much.Any information on Sahir would be very helpful. Thanks


  5. I recently came across a book called “Anthems of Resistance” on Progressive Urdu poetry (it is published by Roli Books, you can find it by typing ‘anthems of resistance’ into Google or Yahoo).

    The authors have an entire chapter on Sahir, and interestingly suggest that he was aware of this whole debate on the quality of his poems, and made a deliberate effort to let the content of his poetry dictate the form.


  6. Thank you for this reference. Indeed it seems an acceptable argument that in Sahir’s poetry the content dictated the form. What appeals about sahir is the sheer range of songs that articulated a plethora of emotions and yet there was this common thread that could be woven through them. I was trying to study Sahir’s lyrics in contrast to another great poet in the Faizian mode, if I may use that term – Shaqueel Badayuni. The latter was a master of romantic poetry, and lyrical expressions of love, separation and togetherness. Sahir’s range and stylistic variations make him stand out even in the genre of romatic poetry. His poetry was not lyrical and in itself musical…..but words that made powerful impact on the audience. Consider some romantic numbers from Shaqueel saab…chaudavin ka chand ho, mere mehboob tujhe flowed from the words…..Contrast this to kabhie kabhie mere dil mein or even kisi pathhar ki moorat se….its in the content of these songs that the beauty lies… itself they are not lyrical but words draw a powerful imagery….each time…..His poetry, even the romantic ones were not ‘feel good’ moments, they were ‘feel strongly about’ moments!!! there was perfection in shaqueel’s poetry, Sahir was imperfect but profound…..

    also his own life experiences and the mysticism surrounding his failed romances, his arrogance, made a world of difference to the audience who always want to deconstruct the man behind the words……

    I also find another strong factor in Sahir’s lyrics/ songs/ poetry, the unescapable eroticism of a man-woman relationship…..there was always the physical love in his songs…..and physicality was powerfully present…and not just there…..almost all his songs in the genre of romance and love….words like, is male ka kuchh ehsaan jismon pe bhi kar jayen….dil ki tarah jism bhi mil gaye to kya hua, ye badan ye nigahen meri amanat hain…is raat mein sab kho jaane do, is raat mein sab mil jaane do….hriday ki peeda, deh ki agni sab seetal ho jaye….etc etc…..I find this aspect of his poetry quite intriguing ofcourse along with his rebellious notes like rasm kya riwaaz kya, dharm kya samaj kya….which seems to echo through a lot of his songs….as I said….his songs were not the ‘feel good songs’…they made you question, they made you feel uncomfortable…they were too strong!!!!

    thanks again…lets keep the discussion going…cheers


  7. This should not be seen as a response to Swati Parashar’s comment but an attempt to demarcate the poetic trend represented by Faiz, Majrooh,Sahir and others owing allegiance to the PWA from those that were not a part of this movement. This is important because one has to be carefull in placing Shakeel in this group

    (incidentally it is not Shaqueel.Shakeel is a derivate of shakl. Shakeel means handsome/ good looking Khush shakl).

    These two trends can largely be seen as representing two clearly identified tendencies. One that responds to and reflects the immediate reality and the other that by and large does not engage itself with the here and now. The presence of thease two trends can be seen even in the poetry composed towards the begining of the 18th century in what came to be known as Rekhta after the arrival of Wali Daccni’s poetry in Delhi.

    Meer Taqi Meer is a clear example of the trend that engages with the present, Meer uses the metaphor of ‘Dil’ to describe the destruction of Dilli, these two trend had existed earlier asso but they begin to emerge clearly roughly around the times that coincided with the collapse of the Mughal empire and the rise of imperialism.

    The other tradition owed much to Sheikh Ibrahim Zauq and his silsila of disciples, (Daagh, Bekhud,Rasa and a whole lot of others, among the most prominent of whom was Jigar muradabadi) gradually came to represent a trend that did not by and large concern itself with the here and now.

    Those that made a critique of the present and/ or evolved an ideal of the future they wanted gave to Rekhta/ Urdu the likes of Meer, Ghalib, Haali, Iqbal, Josh, Firaq, Faiz and others.

    The tradition of Zauq produced many eminent poets but there are not many among these that are known for having altered and transformed traditions while those that belonged to the group that had Iqbal, Josh Faiz Sahir Majrooh Majaz Jazbi and others among its comtributors are known not only for writing poetry that dealt with the questions of life and of existance but also for the new windows they opened for creative explorations and the manner in which they reinterpreted age old symbols to invest them with new and hitherto unthought of meanings.

    These to my mind are the two broad divisions in Urdu Literature of our times. Those that dreamt of a new world and those that were content with the ideas, forms and vocabulary that they had inherited. Shakeel intellectually belongs to the contented and did not make a deliberate attempt to stand with those that dreamt of and struggled for a better world.

    I am not suggesting that those that did not stand for change were reactionaries, but the fact remains that they were not for change and this is reflected in their attitude to woman as beloved as well
    read or listen to chaudhvin ka chaand etc or read or listen to Aur bhi Gham Hain Zamane mein mohabbatke siwa, Chand roz aur meri jaan faqt chand hi roz, meri mahboob kahin aur mila kar mujh se etc

    The other thing that needs to be kept in mind is that the anti modernist project in Urdu – the so called modernists (Jadeediye) that emerged in Urdu in the 60’s – owes its existance almost entirely to those that either did not believe in challanging and questioning recieved images and vocabularies and were content with the status quo or borrowed discourses such as the ” lonliness of an individual in a crowed” from the developed west to counter the celebration of collectivity that the poetry of Faiz Sahir and many others represented.


  8. I, myself , am not so well read on these matters but over the time as i have evolved i have begun to realise that the axis of our existence is human emotions & all those who help us to go into the depths (there are infinite ways)by their different perceivable insights of life; cannot always to be thoroughly understood & we should try to ponder before saying any thing deneaming.

    All said & done let us find whatever Joy there is to be found when these creative people express themselves.


  9. hello

    Thanks to Sohail Hashmi for drawing attention to the two major trends in Urdu poetry. I am not well informed with Urdu poetry in depths as perhaps you are but would still question these two strong trajectories that you have mentioned. Whether it was a deliberate trend maintained by the poets or created by those trying to deconstruct the poetry of the past is interesting. The disjuncture doesnt appear as profound as you mention when you look at the poetry of the poets you mentioned. I will specifically look at Sahir again. It is not so simple to categorise his works withn the realist framework as you claim. he doesnt even appear to be the ‘ideal’ idealist! His poetry has a quality of hopelessness and disdain and yet hope and redemption. the same person could write ye duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai and also hope in Wo subah kabhie to aayegi….

    By studying the similar poetry of Shakeel and sahir, I was merely trying to probe the different intellectual spaces that they emerged from. I think a useful comparative study can be made by studying all similar kinds of writings together!! on this specific point you mentioned “am not suggesting that those that did not stand for change were reactionaries, but the fact remains that they were not for change and this is reflected in their attitude to woman as beloved as wellread or listen to chaudhvin ka chaand etc or read or listen to Aur bhi Gham Hain Zamane mein mohabbatke siwa, Chand roz aur meri jaan faqt chand hi roz, meri mahboob kahin aur mila kar mujh se etc”… I am not too sure women, and beloved were looked at in any better manner by either group that you mention……the objectification in one where the woman’s beauty ( in Shakeel’s) and even body (like in Sahir’s) was very important aspect of poetry..was merely replaced by rejection for more idealistic goals of society. Faiz said that in mujhse pehli si muhabat meri mehboob na maang…and sahir said that in Ishq hi ek haqueqat nahin kuchh aur bhi hai and even Mohabat hi ka gham tanha nahin hum kya kare…..I admire Sahir and maybe adore the idea of what constitutes Sahir and love his poetry, but see no emancipatory agenda there for women…that can be an interesting debate…isnt it?

    Thanks once again for your insight….they sure make me want to read more and learn!!!!cheers


  10. I am not so sure, Sohail, that this division is very satisfactory. In any case, it seems to be a division made by the taraqqipasands themselves. I am making this almost wild claim without direct solid evidence, primarily because, it seems to me to reflect a kind of division of the world, literature, the arts, philosophy and what have you, by progressive theoreticians who, by doing this also erase all the complex shades that do not fit into these kinds of straightforward classifications. Also, I am not so sure that the theme of ‘loneliness of the individual in the crowd’ is any more borrowed from the west than the ideas of taraqqi and taraqqipasandi themselves. I would imagine the more interesting question would be to ask: what was the experience that they were speaking to? The entirely new experiences that modernity and urban life brought forth were actually being addressed, sometimes not very creatively, through these different kinds of writings in different Indian languages. And these writings straddled the works of writers across the camps. Often enough, the forced division between the ‘progressives’ who were concerned with the ‘here and now’ as you put it, and the socalled ‘formalists’ who were preoccupied with the predicament of the individual, or maybe pure questions of form, has led to difficulties of the kind that I see in your comment.I do not think for instance, that it is right to identify the taraqqipasands solely with celebration of collectivity. Many of them were addressing individual experience (also in the ‘here and now’, incidentally) and questions of sexuality, e.g. Indeed, even Faiz seems to me to not always deal with the celebration of collectivity: dashte-tanhaee mein, aye jaane-jahan, larzaan hain teri awaz ke saaye can only be rendered as such celebration through some strenuous logic the political.


  11. Anyone with a slightest investment of emotion and ideas in the radical poetic beliefs cannot but feel hugely dismayed by the sort of peurile divisions and mimicries Mr Sohail Hashmi has indulged in in trying with such credulous naivete to draw our attention to the two so-called broad streams of Urdu poetry since the beginning of 18th century. It would not fetch him even a B minus in any serious department of cultural studies. Here is one example of what is wrong with the hackneyed discourse of the left or what was once left and is now ‘left-out’. It simply doesn’t work. Valorisation of such views on the blogsphere is indeed a serious cause for concern. Such quasi-critical writing needs to be urgently demoted.


  12. I am a great fan of Sahir saheb. He had a full command over Urdu Language. Those of you who have heard / seen his “Chakle” in Pyaasa, may, perhaps, not be aware that the original verses written by Sahir Saheb included “sanaa_Khwaan-e-taqdiis-e-mashriq kahaa.N hai.n?” which was later simplified by him at Guru Dutt’s request as “Jinhein naaz hai Hind par woh kahaan hain?”

    The richness and deapth of Urdu Language as also the deapth of his sentiments, if you want to see, read Sahir Sahib’s “Mere Giit” and “Maadaam”

    Mere Giit

    mere sarakash taraane sun ke duniyaa ye samajhatii hai
    ki shaayad mere dil ko ishq ke naGmo.n se nafarat hai

    mujhe me.n kaif milataa hai
    merii fitarat ko Khuu.Nrezii ke afasaano.n se raGbat hai

    merii duniyaa me.n kuchh vaq’at nahii.n hai raqs-o-naGme.n kii
    meraa mahabuub NaGmaa hai

    magar ai kaash! dekhe.n vo merii purasoz raato.n ko
    mai.n jab taaro.n pe nazare.n gaa.Dakar aasuu.N bahaataa huu.N

    tasavvur banake bhuulii vaaradaate.n yaad aatii hai.n
    to soz-o-dard kii shiddat se paharo.n tilmilaataa huu.N

    ko_ii Khvaabo.n me.n Khvaabiidaa ko jagaatii hai
    to apanii zindagii ko maut ke pahaluu me.n paataa huu.N

    mai.n shaayar huu.N mujhe fitarat ke nazzaaro.n se ulfat hai
    meraa dil dushman-e-naGmaa-saraa_ii ho nahii.n sakataa

    mujhe insaaniyat kaa dard bhii baKhshaa hai qudarat ne
    meraa maqasad faqat sholaa navaa_ii ho nahii.n sakataa

    javaa.N huu.N mai.n javaanii laGzisho.n kaa ek tuufaa.N hai
    merii baato.n me.n rang-e-paarasaa_ii ho nahii.n sakataa

    mere sarakash taraano.n kii haqiiqat hai to itanii hai
    ki jab mai.n dekhataa huu.N bhuuk ke maare kisaano.n ko
    Gariibo.n ko, mufliso.n ko, bekaso.n ko, besahaaro.n ko
    sisakatii naazaniino.n ko, ta.Dapate naujavaano.n ko
    hukuumat ke tashaddud ko, amaarat ke takabbur ko
    kisii ke chitha.Do.n ko aur shahanshaahii Khazaano.n ko

    to dil taab-e-nishaat-e-bazm-e-ishrat laa nahii.n sakataa
    mai.n chaahuu.N bhii to Khvaab-aavaar taraane gaa nahii.n sakataa

    [sarakash=full of revolutionary verve]
    [ and strife; kaif=joy; fitarat=nature]
    [Khuu.Nrezii=bloodthirsty/bloody; raGbat=interest]
    [vaq’at=value; raqs-o-naGmaa=dancing and singing]
    [purasoz=filled with pain]
    [vaaradaate.n=incidents; shiddat=sharpness/quickness]
    [dushman-e-naGmaa-saraa_ii=enemy of/against singing]
    [faqat=merely; sholaa_nava_ii=raining/pouring fire]
    [laGzish=stumble/falter; rang-e-paarasaa_ii=colour of purity]
    [haqiiqat=reality; tashaddud=violence; amaarat=riches/wealth]
    [taab-e-nishaat-e-bazm-e-ishrat=enjoy the luxuries of a wealthy society]

    aap bevajah pareshaan-sii kyo.n hai.n maadaam
    log kahate hai.n to phir Thiik hii kahate ho.nge
    mere ehabaab ne tahaziib na siikhii hogii
    mere maahaul me.n i.nsaan na rahate ho.nge

    nuur-e-saramaayaa se hai ruu-e-tamaddun kii jilaa
    ham jahaa.N hai.n vahaa.N tahaziib nahii.n pal sakatii
    mufalisii hiss-e-lataafat ko miTaa detii hai
    bhuuk aadaab ke saa.Nche me.n nahii.n Dhal sakatii

    log kahate hai.n to logo.n pe t’ajjub kaisaa
    sach to kahate hai.n ki naadaaro.n kii izzat kaisii
    log kahate hai.n – magar aap abhii tak chup hai.n
    aap bhii kahiye Gariibo.n me.n sharaafat kaisii

    nek maadaam! Bahut jald vo daur aayegaa
    jab hame.n ziist ke adavaar parakhane ho.nge
    apanii zillat kii qasam, aap kii azamat kii qasam
    hamako taa’ziim ke me_aar parakhane ho.nge

    hamane har daur me.n tazaliil sahii hai lekin
    hamane har daur ke chehare ko ziyaa baKhshii hai
    hamane har daur me.n mehanat ke sitam jhele hai.n
    hamane har daur ke haatho.n ko hinaa baKhshii hai

    lekin in talKh mubaahis se bhalaa kyaa haasil
    log kahate hai.n to phir Thiik hii kahate ho.nge
    mere ehabaab ne tahaziib na siikhii hogii
    mere maahaul me.n i.nsaan na rahate ho.nge

    [maadaam=Urdu equivalent of Madam]
    [ehabaab=friends; maahaul=environment/surrounding]
    [nuur-e-saramaayaa=light of wealth; ruu-e-tamaddun=face of civilization]
    [jilaa=shine/brightness; hiss-e-lataafat=finer feelings]
    [ziist=life; adavaar=values; zillat=humiliation]
    [azamat=greatness; taa’ziim=respect; me_aar=level]
    [tazaliil=insult; ziyaa=brightness/brilliance]
    [talKh=bitter; mubaahis=arguments]

    I leave much to write next time.


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

    Sahir’s stuff: Socialistic or Sufiyaa?

    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’ tendencies…here’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


  14. Sachdeva Sa’ab aapne jo kamaal kiyaa so kiyaa, qiblaa aapne to hadd hi kar di! Marhabaa! Marhabaa! NaghmeN achchhe haiN! Beherhaal, shaayari kuchh zaroorat se ziaadi descriptive ho gayi jaan paRti hai. Agar nazm ki jagah afsaana keh dete Sahir sa’ab to shaayad aur bhi behtar hota.


  15. panini ji….yehi to baat hum sab sahir saab ke fans aapko batane ki koshish kar rahe hain….wo shayari mein hi afsaana keh jaate they aur afsanon mein shayari karte they….ye hunar bahut kam shayaron ke bas ki baat thi….looks like you are in minority in disliking or rather not liking Sahir’s poetry…As for your earlier comment about the linguistic bias of writers who wrote in Urdu and not their own language ie punjabi….I had meant to respond long time back……bhasha kisi ki milkiyat to nahin…..these great writers needed a medium of expression which they found in Urdu more than in their own language…we also had great writings in punjabi…like amrita pritam……by your logic….we would be deprived of great writings of people who didnt write in their own vernaculars….language is meant to express and free…and not meant to bind thoughts……Why should linguistic identities be restricted?… this logic….Rafi saab wouldnt be singing chaste hindu bhajans, for what did he understand of butparasti?…..and sampooran singh, Gulzaar, wouldnt be writing in urdu……

    Thank you Sachdeva ji….I am a great admirer of Sahir and appreciate ur comments…..please keep posting more messages…..


  16. Dear Panini,

    Regarding your comments about the linguistic bias of writers who wrote in Urdu and not their own language i.e. punjabi and Swati’s referring to great writings in punjabi…like by Amrita Pritam, I would also like to make a mention of the Punjabi writings by Shiv Kumar Batalvi who had been another Sahir for me in Punjabi Language. My dear Sir, Language is just a mode which the poet adopts to express his thoughts and he will use the language at which he is more comfortable. I am a Punjabi but I prefer to write my poems in Urdu because I feel more comfortable in writing in Urdu. And there is one thing more of substance and that is that what is the demand of the audience. They liked Sahir for his Urdu writings, he wrote in Urdu.

    I referred to Shiv Kumar Batalvi, he has written very extensively in Punjabi but then persons like me admire him as another Sahir because I know Punjabi but I know, for sure, everybody may not be able to appreciate Shiv because of the linguistic hassle.

    Okay, here is one very popular poem written by Shiv. Let’s see how you like it.

    Kee puchhade ho haal faqiraan daa Saadha nadiyon vichhre neeraan daa
    Saadhaa hanj de joonein aayaan daa Saadhaa dil jalyaan dilgeeraan daa

    Eh jaanadeyaan kuj shokh jahe rangaan daa hee naan tasveeraan hai
    Jad hut gaye assi ishqe dee mul kar baiThe tasveeraan daa

    Saanun lakhaan daa tan taan labh gayaa par ik daa man vee naan milyaa
    kya likhyaa kise mukaddar see hathaan diyaan chaar lakeeraan daa

    Taqdeer taan saaDhii saukan see tadbeeraan saathon naa hoyeeyan
    Naan Jhung chhutyaa naan kan paaTe jhund lang gayaa inj Heeraan daa

    Toon khud noon aaakal kehndaa hain main khud noon aashak dasdaa haan
    Eh lokaan te assi chhad dayeeye kinoon maan nein dende Peeraan daa

    If you want to listen to it in Shiv’s own voice, you may listen to it ath the following site :-

    H.K.L. Sachdeva


  17. Dear Panini,

    I have gone through the other thread “Pal do pal kaa Shaayar” also and find that through all your arguments you are trying to establish the superiority of Punjabi Language over Urdu (and interestingly, I find that nobody has extended any argument in favour or against this) and in this process you have quoted big big names from History of Punjabi Litrature starting with the Sufi Sant Baba Farid, Baba Bulle Shah, Shah Hussain and many more of the foregone era and Puran Singh and Ustad Daman, only two (as you say) of the 20th century. While I don’t mean to confute or belittle any of the foregoing utterances of yours, but I have two questions to you, in this regard, are :-

    1. How many of these writers have you read ?


    2. While quoting so many of them from the ancient era and only two from the 20th century, how can you forget the others belonging to the current era, like, Bhai Veer Singh, Amrita Pritam, Nanak Singh, Surjeet Pattar and Shiv Kumar Batalvi or you don’t find their works to be upto the mark.

    Take a consensus of both the threads, you are standing alone not because their is any dearth of knowledge in your arguments but because it is the negativity in flow of your thoughts which is prevailing all along in your arguments. In the process of be-littling Sahir Saheb, you have made Mukesh ji also besura.

    My dear friend, why should there be a need to prove anybody to be small. Try to prove yourself (or for that matter anyone you are trying to convass for) to be big (like Birbal drew a bigger line alongside the other line to prove to Akbar that he had made that line small without erasing or cutting it). And one, thing more, where is the need to prove anybody small. You praise those, you like and I praise those whom I like. I like Janaab Javed Akhtar Saheb more than Janab Sampooran Singh Gulzar Saheb but hat is a matter of personal choice and I have never attempted to prove one’s superiority over the other. It is just a matter of opinion and I am not a lion who will say, “You have every right to own MY opinion”. I recall a very illustrative couplet, in this regard, written by Janaab Wasim Barelvi Saheb :-

    apane har har lafz kaa Khud aa_iinaa ho jaa_uu.Ngaa
    us ko chhoTaa kah ke mai.n kaise ba.Daa ho jaa_uu.Ngaa

    With regards,

    H.K.L. Sachdeva


  18. Sachdeva Sa’ab,

    aapne hameN yaad kar ke jo izaaz bakhsha hai uske liye janaab tahe dil se mashkoor hooN.

    But, for me, Sahir remains a minor poet and am not convinced about any of your arguments to foreground his relevance to our troubled and complex times. And now that you bring in Javed Akhtar and Gulzar into the debate (quite appropriately, I think), things have become almost symptomatically curiouser. Ab iske baad rahi sahi qasar Janaab Gauhar Raza ko maidaan meN utaarne bhar ki hi reh jaati hai.

    As for your questions, there isn’t a Punjabi writer of consequence, past or present, I haven’t read. And read them I have cover to cover and book to book. I do not wish to praise myself but the tenor of your query is such that I am constrained to mention that you would not find me lacking in any challenges that you may want to throw my way in this regard (provided the challenge is intellectually interesting enough). Vaise aapki ittelaah ke liye paRhi maine Urdu shaayari bhi achchhi khaasi hai.

    Unlike you, I cannot be enthused about Bhai Veer Singh (he would have, given the kind of poet he is, better been a poet-laureate of the Akali Party), Shiv Kumar Batalvi (the man has, despite great static images, no sense of history past or present – this man is lachrymose, dead and syrupy) and Amrita Pritam (who remains one of, if not, the most overrated poets of 20th century India). And Nanak Singh? Lahaul… The only writer I am willing to take seriously from your list is Surjit Paatar.

    I quoted only two poets because I did not want to burden the Urdu-daaNs with any further complexes. Vaise agar ferihist hi chaahiye to janaab tafseel se banaayi ja sakti hai. Babu Rajab Ali, Dhani Ram Chatrik, Puran Singh, Bawa Balwant, Daaman, Najm Hussain Sayyed, Nand Lal Noorpuri, Shiv Kumar Batalvi (with some reluctance), Harbhajan Singh, Tara Singh, Misha, Paash, Amarjit Chandan, Lal Singh Dil, Surjit Paatar, Amitoj, Navtej Bharti, Ajmer Rode, Avtar Jandialvi, Ahmed Salim, Jaswant Singh Neki, Harnam, Gagan Gill…

    The 20th century Punjabi poetry is as great, if not in very many ways greater, as the 20th century Bengali poetry (and I am thinking of Rabindranath Tagore, Jibnanand Das, Shankho Ghosh, Shakti Chattopadhyaya… )

    Baaqi, sukhan-cheeN hooN, achhi shaayari ka qadr-daaN hooN. Mehez sukhan-taraashi meiN mera koi yaqeen nahiN.


  19. Dear Mr Sachdeva,

    I thought I would take up some of your comments and try to answer them in my somewhat intellectually inhibted way. You say:

    “all your arguments you are trying to establish the superiority of Punjabi Language over Urdu.”

    You are completely off the mark, Mr Sachdeva.

    1. I am not trying to articulate the position you are imputing to me so self-assuredly. It was Mr Mahmood Farooqui who made suggestive (I would hold back the word ‘insinuative’ for now) comments about the enormous richness of Urdu belittling (read his texts carefully and you would realize what he is trying to do) Punjabi. Danish has dragged it unambiguously within the domain of insinuations.

    2. I honestly believe that Urdu has produced some of the truly exciting writers of the sub-continent in the last 250 years. I also believe that the hidden assaults on the Urdu language from the Hindu right reaction need to be passionately resisted.

    3. I also believe that Urdu, no matter what some linguists (?) and cultural historians (?) on board may want us to believe, is the language of the cultural elite and the courtly flock. It was never ever a language of the people. And I do not understand why, in our radical zeal, we should try to establish the opposite or why we should feel ashamed of its intrinsic elitism. I do not think for a minute that there is some kind of an irreconciliable contradiction between being part of the elite and espousing liberal, radical and secular beliefs.

    4. I think Sahir is a minor poet but culturally an important phenomenon – perhaps, even more important than Faiz Ahmed Faiz. But that does not guaratee immunity from literary and cultural critiques. I do believe that Faiz is a much greater poet (I feel miserable having to put Faiz in the company of Sahir) in terms of reflective prowess and intellectual complexity.

    You also go on to make an astounding statement,

    “I would also like to make a mention of the Punjabi writings by Shiv Kumar Batalvi who had been another Sahir for me in Punjabi Language.”

    This is such a reckless statement and I am so shell-shocked having seen it on the blog that my jaw has actually dropped in disbelief. Shiv and Sahir alike… tauba, tauba. Such literary blindness is both frightening and saddening. There is, thus, all the more reason why dispassionate tanqeed (critique) is important even if the one who undertakes this unsavoury responsibility stands in a minority of one.

    For the record, let me mention, however, that Sahir was possibly a greater poet than Shiv.

    You also go on to say in a wave of self-congratulatory innocence,

    “Take a consensus of both the threads, you are standing alone not because their is any dearth of knowledge in your arguments but because it is the negativity in flow of your thoughts which is prevailing all along in your arguments.”

    I am afraid I do not need to take a consensus because I know the opinion-poll doesn’t carry very good reports about me. I am a loner who loves being narcissistically within a community of the so-obviously-convinced. I love myself and I love the community that comes so quixotically close to dismissing me but then so endearingly stops short.

    The life of ideas, my dear Mr. Sachdeva, is unfortunately steeped in complexity and always incorporates vestiges of uncomfortable strands. Mukesh, for instance, was now and then besura but that does not stop him from being such a ‘huge’ singer with genuine soz in his voice or, was it, heart. That’s a bit of complexity for you. And we should learn to live with it. Honestly!


  20. Dear Panini,

    You have made certain statements :-

    – Sahir remains a minor poet (I don’t know how much of Sahir you have read)

    – Sahir was possibly a greater poet than Shiv ( and I don’t know how much of Shiv you have read)

    – Shiv and Sahir alike – such literary blindness (this was too blunt a statement, rather a childlike – reflecting your level of decency – I am sorry to say so)

    – Amrita Pritam who remains one of, if not, the most overrated poets of 20th century India (same true here, how much of Amrita Pritam you have read).

    Anyway, all your above statements make me believe that you belong to the world of Robinson Crusoe.

    My dear friend, I belong to this world and neither I belong to the world of Robinson Crusoe nor I want to.

    I am reminded of a very good couplet by Kanwar Mohinder Singh Bedi ‘Sahar’ (I dont know which category you hold him) :-

    Daaman Bachaa ke yuun Na Hikaarat se Dekhiye,
    Ashkon Ki Aabruu Bhii Sitaaron Se Kam Nahiin hotii !

    H.K.L. Sachdeva


  21. I can’t read Urdu and yet I am a great lover of Urdu poetry. Many of you would tend to see it as a contradiction but for some one like me who mostly reads and writes in Hindi, it is a natural choice. The love for Shaayri, in my case, has never been inhibited by the ignorance of script. The point I want to make is that it is essentially the world that a poet seeks to create through his/her which is more meaningful rather trying to know what status he/she enjoys in the annals of history.
    Much of the discussion about whether or not Sahir was a great poet has unfortunately, veered towards literary nuqtaacheeni adding little to the understanding why a poet or for that matter any artist becomes an icon for a whole generation.
    Faiz may have been a poet of greater intellectual prowess and capable of articulating finer shades of emotions but does that allow us to dump Sahir?
    I agree that Sahir is not always profound. He has his blind spots that do not allow him to comprehend the nuances but what would you say about the sheer passion that oozes from his verse like Yeh Duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai- could there be more trenchant critique of a society! And mind you Sahir was writing this for a film.
    Sahir has the courage to reject the world the way it exists. You might call it escapism but then you cannot expect a poet to offer the blueprint of the society he wants to have around. One may find Sahir bypassing the complex interplay of forces that constitute the real world in which we live and work, however, his grasp of the visible is total.
    Sahir is more a poet of ‘appearance’ than the hidden structure but his Nazms have the uncanny quality to stir the anger lying deep in our conscience.
    Further, why must a poet be judged on the basis of what is absent in his poetry. I think it more worthwhile to engage with what he says. And in this respect Sahir was a great poet: he had the strength of conviction to bring the rough, raw and the unsophisticated into the popular domain.


  22. Dear Mr. Panini

    Your attention seeking ‘intellectual’ critique of sahir and Mukesh is becoming pettier with each comment you make….You dont seem to me a loner but someone who writes for seeking attention rather than making intellectually sound arguments!!! I think its a waste of time by commenting on ur writings…waste of precious time that we can spend in learning more about these poets and writers and esp Sahir.You make sweeping statements without adequate understanding…..”Mukesh was besura”…..Haven’t heard ur name in the music circles or the literary circles….since u claim to have so much knowledge of sur and Urdu and punjabi… dismiss great writers alike!!! I think we are falling into the trap of responding to you when thats exactly what u would like……

    I request Sachdevaji to give us more constractive arguments on Sahir. This forum can be very useful in engaging with and disseminating information on the great writers of yester years whose writings provide us with dreams and hopes to face contemporary realities.



  23. Dear Mr Sachdeva,

    You quote me selectively when you refer to my previous posting:

    – Sahir remains a minor poet (I don’t know how much of Sahir you have read)

    The full quote is:

    – I think Sahir is a minor poet but culturally an important phenomenon – perhaps, even more important than Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

    So how does one interpret your efforts to suppress complexity? To satisfy your curiosity so parenthetically pitched, my answer is I have read him enough to form an opinion about his poetry.

    And I make bold to say that I have read the entire oeuvre of Shiv. During my adolescence I was a die-hard Shiv fan. I have since fallen on degenerate ways and put his poetry under erasure which doesn’t mean that I do not read him any more.

    Comparing Shiv and Sahir is a an act of blindness – the term is often used in literary criticism under more respectable names such as ‘aporia’ but then aporia is applied to philosophical impasse and uncertainties. You need to state why you chose to compare one with the other failing which it remains, at the most charitable, an act of blindness. What is the formal, emotional or ideological basis of your comparison? Or, does it merely reflect a ‘blind’ bhakti-bhaav?

    And, yes, as for Amrita, I have once again read the entire Oeuvre of Amrita Pritam including her: “Aise bheR bhaRhathe de payi palle, jehRi cheez maNgo soyio hai ee nayiN”!

    Your sher by KaNwar Mohinder Singh Bedi Seher and your anger as revealed in your posts reminds me of a a couplet by Akbar Allahabadi:

    Hum aisi kul kitaabeN qaabil-e-zabti samajhte haiN
    ki jinko paRhke laRke baap ko khabti samajhte haiN

    As for behen Swati, I do concede right away that I am of an unsound mind. I have spent a part of my life looking helplessly at death and devastation in Mr Modi’s Gujarat (so obviously there is a need to go beyond ‘you praise yours and I praise mine’) and have lost my mind amidst the strident ‘sounds’ of Jai Shriram and become unsound listening to the wailing winds. But then she too says that in my last posting I have said that ”Mukesh was besura”. This is a bit like Yudhishtir’s “Ashwathama mar gaya, haathi” from Mahabharat.

    What I had, in fact, said was:

    Mukesh, for instance, was now and then besura but that does not stop him from being such a ‘huge’ singer with genuine soz in his voice or, was it, heart.

    Of course, my name is not heard in ‘music circles’. I haven’t heard Mr Sachdeva’s name in literary circles either. I have heard Mr Sohail Hashmi’s name though which begs the question all over again. Isn’t that an indication of how misleading these so-called ‘heard names’ could very often be?

    I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love Mukesh. I even love Sahir, in an intellectually ‘unsound’ way. But this doesn’t stop me from being sceptical.

    And, finally, why Robinson Crusoe? I’m totally and completely shattered by your kindness. I would have felt a lot happier being compared to Don Quixote or better still Sancho Panza. Just a personal request, Mr Sachdeva. Please consider it favourably. I shall be most obliged.

    With warm regards,

    Panini alias Pannu


  24. Dear Mr Panini

    I am compelled to write after reading your post….I do not think that is the space to indulge in petty arguments over the great and not so great writings of the past. It is precisely this skepticism and pessimism that you keep claiming is what bothers me……because you do end up expressing them in very profound statements……to even say that Mukesh was besura now and then….or that Sahir was a minor poet thought culturally relevant…you do not express that skepticism in your expressions….you just come up with profound statements which in my opinion, no one should be entitled to…esp when is making a critique of sensitive poetry and writing….This is not a forum for getting even with each other or even for proving our own intellectual prowess…..I believe that each one of us are entitled to our own opinon and there is no agenda od conversion here but when u belittle those and that, which havent even been understood completely …it does seem inappropriate……

    Your mention of Mr. Modi’s gujarat….yes, its enough to live through it and question rationality and all thats human..In that I share your concerns, anxieties, sorrows and bewilderness…at this mad world….I am also in my reserach always trying to make sense of the collective rationality behind the irrational….I study terror-ism…and violence with a gender lens…and there is nothing else in the world that can make one completely insane…..moreover what is disappointing is that people just dont speak up….I only wish that with your experiences nad knowledge you could share more than just skepticism expressed so profoundly…..poets like sahir Faiz and writers like amrita help us make sense of this world….very often they say it with ease what comes to our mind and doesnt find expressions…..

    Khuda-e-bartar, teri zameen par,
    Zameen ki khaatir ye jang kyoon hai;
    Har ek fath–zafar ke daaman pe,
    Khoon-e-insaan ka rang kyoon hai

    Jinhen talab hai jahaan bhar ki,
    Unheen ka dil itna tang kyoon hai

    Saron mein kibr–ghuroor kyoon hai,
    Dilon ke sheeshe pe zang kyoon hai….


    let me conclude by saying that….what cannot even be understood in totality, should not be rejected or belittled because of skepticism…..opinions are good…..there are people who still like Hitler…but all opinions cannot be acceptable….we can use this space to learn and understand and share……because I do believe that atleast all of us have one thing in common…we still read…..we can still comprehend somethings and we can articulate in a language that we all understand…..!!!



  25. Naresh Ji,

    I entirely agree with you.

    This debate started with me critiquing a mode of writing which wallows in self-flagellation of which Mr Sohail Hashmi’s piece about Muslims to me was a somewhat symptomatic example. I had begun by decrying such outmoded and failed attempts at political irony. And I did think and still do that such attempts trace their lineage back to the malingering passivity of “Jinhe naaz hai HiNd par woh kahaaN haiN” and “Yeh duniyaa agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai”. The comment was made – rightly or wrongly – within the context of a need to move beyond sheer sentimental excess and invent new modes and voices to combat the menacing communalism of the Modis, Togadias and ilk.


  26. Behen Swati,

    Thanks a ton for your kind response. I had been profoundly saddened by your earlier resolve to no longer take my views seriously and I am immensely pleased that you chose to break the silence. However, I do not think my mail is petty. I do believe that I am trying to open an issue which concerns the independent secular and liberal voices. There is absolutely no harm in critiquing our own cultural and polical strength. Without a critique, we would cease to be relevant.


  27. Panini ji….I am with you in as much as you feel that secular voices should speak up…I also believe that critiques are important in the context of an everchanging and adapting society…..The big difference I have with you is that there is only a certain space within which you want to draw relevance of the writings of pple like Sahir and faiz to the present…..and in that you cannot denounce their works as ‘outmoded and failed attempts at political irony’……They wrote during their particularly turbulent times and expressed them sensitively……..

    In Sahir’s own words…
    Ashqon mein jo paya hai…wo geeton mein diya hai
    uspe bhi suna hai ki zamane ko gila hai……
    AWESOME!!!!!……I find it difficult to get over this….

    I have been following your comments closely hoping to learn a few things…and your sarcasm, disdain, skepticism is all too strong…..and your critique of sahir does seem strangely prejudiced….esp when you take away all the credit from him… talking about his language, the great music directors who you claim should get more credit for his songs…..Pyaasa….for instance…had no music…because the words of the songs created that music….and even Sachin da understood the subtlely and sublimity of the words and left it at that!!!!

    I dont want to carry this debate further….as it is completely pointless……I share your other concerns about the turbulent times we live in and the hatred that has acquired a particularly sinister form….I wish we had an answer to the Togadias and Modis of the world….we seem to eat out of their hands….and democracy and liberalism are good enough only for academic discourse….But while we think of new modes to deal with this menacing communalism which is out to destroy our country, I would reiterate that words of Sahir are of particular relevance today….He courageously questioned norms and traditions and perhaps was one of the few poets of his time who had a political opinion that denounced communalism and the confines of ‘riwaaz’ and ‘rasm’….Incidently do you not like him…because he wrote for the movies? and unlike Faiz he wasnt much interested in activism?….That he still had a feudal mindset and was an egocentric guy….?…I do not know your reasons….and as I this we differ strongly…The relevance of his poetry today is profound….and his contribution to the movie industry is enormous…he used the most popular media in the country to get across his revolutionary, sensitive and politically progressive ideas………I will leave it there…

    I look forward to more insights from everyone in this forum…..Cheers


  28. Incidently….Sahir was born on march 8th, 1921…so it is his Birthday today and we are debating the relevance of his poetry…..its interesting….besides, today is International Women’s Day….and no poet can articulate feminist claims and the decadence of patriarchy…as Sahir did….Its a neat coincidence……

    awtaar payambar janti hai….
    phir bhi shaitaan ki beti hai….

    mardon ke liye laakhon sejen
    aurat ke liye bas ek chita…..

    mardon ki hawas hai jo aksar…
    aurat ke paap mein dhalti hai…..

    most wars….political, communal, religious have always been fought over territories…..the territories of women’s bodies, their physical and mental beings…..and in that when it comes to wars and conflicts….there are only two sides…men against women…all other differences merge…..women are the ‘other’…..have always been the ‘other’…..was just struck by the coincidence of women’s day and sahir’s Birthday!!!!

    Mardon ne banayi Jo Rasmen, unko hak ka Farmaan kaha
    Aurat ke Zinda jalane ko, Kurbani aur Balidaan kaha
    Ismat ke badle Roti dee, aur usko bhi Ehsaan kaha………

    even with a strong feminist movement…truth for many women hasnt changed from what it was during sahir’s time….I still see the resonance of his poetry…..from the leser known corners of the world……as he had himself said…

    Duniya ne tajurbaat-o-havadis ki shakl mein
    jo kuchh mujhe diya hai, wo lauta raha hun main


  29. Random aside: of the (little) Sahir I know, one of my favorites is a poem that I now see is also part of the NCERT X/XI standard Urdu text, “Chalo ek baar phir se ajnabi ban jaayen hum dono…”

    I hope my non-radical intervention is forgiven just this once :-)


  30. The question of the representation of Urdu as “decadent” must be seen in the context of pre- and post-partition politics, in my opinion. Specifically, a context where “political” Urdu was seen as separatist, and subversive of the national project. Thus the only “safe” Urdu came to be the neverneverland of the “Muslim social”, stripped of any “edge” as it were. The decline of the Urdu social in Hindi cinema is in some ways to be welcomed: distasteful though the continual representations of Muslims as gangsters, etc. might be (not the representation per se but the fact that the space for representation of the Muslim appears to be so cramped), at least it signifies that the Muslim occupies the same “space” as the “rest of us” — in contrast to the world of the Muslim social, which apparently deemed the Muslim acceptable only insofar as he was consigned to the realm (ghetto?) of fantasy.

    Muslim caste-politics is itself quite complicit as far as the phenomenon of the Muslim social is concerned. That is, the latter is perhaps the logical consequence of a cultural elite speaking — and standing in — for Muslims “as a whole”. The elite has long chosen to wield Urdu as the very sign of the Muslim, regardless of the fact that the cultural traditions of (for instance) the Muslims of the North are considerably more diverse than that, and hardly reducible to the “chaste Urdu” norm. Naturally, this symbolic universe ensured that the elite’s privileged cultural position stayed privileged, and the traditions, cultural expression, the very language, of other Muslims ended up being de-legitimized (as a linguistic matter, often dismissed as “bad Urdu”/dialect/ehat-have-you). The rise of “lower caste” politics over the last couple of decades (combined with the erstwhile elite’s own abandonment in favor of Western-style education, a far more reliable status marker in contemporary India) strongly suggests to me that privilege is unsustanable. To the extent it leads to a recognition of the many Urdus/Hindis/Hindustanis (we see welcome signs of it in the writings of someone like Shamsur Rahman Farooqi), there might yet be a silver lining…


  31. PS– As a keen observer of Hindi cinema, I should note that the representation of Muslims today is somewhat better than during the absolute nadir of the mid- to late-1990s. Perhaps because of the commercial failure of most of the “Muslims-as-terrorist” films, as well as the “war” films (with some significant exceptions), very few such films continue to be made, and in recent years we have seen some indications of a more positive trend, neither the fantasy/ghetto Muslim of the 1960s and 70s nor the threatening “other” of the 1990s, but a more “unmarked” sort (I of course resist the notion that the Muslim OUGHT to be “unmarked” in order to be acceptable, but it is nice to see cinematic acknowledgment that such a “type” is worthy of representation too), so far mostly in supporting roles, but notable nonetheless: Munnabhai MBBS, Armaan, Chalte Chalte are some examples that come to mind from the last few years.


  32. Dear Pannu (I think, I can take this liberty to address you like that because agewise I may be much older than you, I am 62 and moreover you have ended one of your posts with this alias),

    Now whatever I will be writing in this post, will be more with pun intended.

    Your these statements :-

    “I think Sahir is a minor poet but culturally an important phenomenon – perhaps, even more important than Faiz Ahmed Faiz.”


    “Mukesh, for instance, was now and then besura but that does not stop him from being such a ‘huge’ singer with genuine soz in his voice or, was it, heart.”


    “I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love Mukesh. I even love Sahir, in an intellectually ‘unsound’ way. But this doesn’t stop me from being sceptical.”


    “During my adolescence I was a die-hard Shiv fan. I have since fallen on degenerate ways and put his poetry under erasure which doesn’t mean that I do not read him any more.”

    remind me of a jyotishii who gave a roled slip to a pregnant lady to predict about her forthcoming child and the slip read, “Putrii naa Putraa”. If the lady gets son, the slip will mean to say “Putrii naa, putraa” and if she gets a daughter, the slip will mean to say “Putrii, naa Putraa”.

    It also reminds me of a dialogue from the film “Chalti ka naam gaddii”.

    and that is “Chit main jiitaa, paT tum haare”.

    Liijiye, aapke iss formule se hum apnii haar maan lete hain.

    Baakii rahaa Shiv ke pratii blind bhaktii bhaav toh chalo aisaa hii samajh liiliye, lekin blind bhaktii bhaav bhii koyii kissii ko tabhii detaa hai agar woh ussko isske qaabil samajhtaa hai.

    Regarding Akbar Allahabadi’s sher you have quoted, I go a step ahead and put it more plainly like this :-

    Naajaayaz hotti hai woh aulaad,
    Jo baap ko khabti samajhtii hai.

    But I am happy to note that you feel :-

    Sahir is culturally an important phenomenon


    You love Mukesh and Sahir


    you, even now, read Shiv.

    And all this brings you more close to me.

    With love for all and malice to none,

    Hari Krishan Lal Sachdeva


  33. Dear Swati,

    I had started one thread with the title “sahir ludhianvi – the romantic rebel – a biography” in “Aap Kaa Nazrana” Forum of The thread was very much liked by the members.

    But to read that you have to become member, firstly of RYZE and then of “Aap Kaa Nazrana” Network within Ryze. After that you can go through this thread on the link :-

    However, I append, hereunder, the intoductory post that I had posted to start the thread.


    H.K.L. Sachdeva



    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

    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

    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. His childhood was hardly normal. When he
    was in his early teens, his parents separated. Sahir
    stayed with his mother choosing penury over luxury. 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, and then 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.

    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.

    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 30 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.

    A bachelor to the end, Sahir, later, 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

    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 me 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`s Works

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

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



  34. Dear Pannu,

    Having read your message to Swati regarding your having spent time looking helplessly at death and devastation in Mr Modi’s Gujarat and the strident ’sounds’ of Jai Shriram, I feel very much aggrieved by the turbulence you have been through and I share my concerns with all those who have been through this type of meances.

    After the Brecent Bombay Blasts, I was so much disturbed that taking a lead from Sahir Saheb’s :-

    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

    I wrote a small poem titled “Wahshat Ka Nagaa Naach” :-

    Kal yahaan aisaa ik kohraam uThaa ki havaayein bilakhne lagii,
    Maut nein kiyaa kuchh yoon taanDav ki zindagii sisakne lagii,
    Laashon ke TukRhe uRhkar kuchh yoon bikhre fazaa mein ki –
    Mahoul royaa khoon ke aansuu aur insaaniyat taRhapne lagii.

    Mulq ko kyaa yahii tavakko hai tumse ki wahshat naachne lage,
    Mulq nein kyaa yahii diyaa hai tumko ki haivaaniyat hansne lage,
    Jaahilo, jis thaalii mein khaate ho, ussii mein chhed karte ho –
    Mulq kaa mustakbil kyaa hoga jo juutiyon mein daal banTne lage.

    UTho gairatmand insaano, jawaab do ki haivaaniyat taRhapne lage,
    Utho mulq ke jawaanon, muqaablaa karo ki wahshat sisakne lage,
    Keh do inn darindon ko ki khud bhii jiyein auron ko bhii jiine dein –
    Warnaa yoon muhn kii khaayeinge ki inkii ruuh bhii kaampne lage.

    Aur mere bhai, main to Nawaaz Deobandi Saheb ke iss sher kaa bahut hii qaayal huun :-

    Bhaaii se bhaaii ke kuchh takaaze bhii hain
    Sahan kii biich kii diiwaar apnii jagah

    H.K.L. Sachdeva


  35. sachdeva ji

    Its so wonderful to realise that pple like you are still around with your warmth that comes through your ermails and the knowledge and sensitivities that you articulate. I esp liked the way you responded to panini jis comments…ITS HEARTENING that we as individuals can build communities even using modern technology like the internet….

    I will definitely join the forums you mentioned. I really want to learn and grow. Sahir’s poetry has appealed to me in a kind of uniqueness…and has been the source of inspiration at various stages in personal and professional life….I unfortunately belong to a generation that refuses to even look for anything relevant in the past and is dismissive of all old songs and poetry as outdated, slow and boring!!! I have had to struggle to find like minded pple with whom to discuss ideas and share my passions….Always had to depend on the older generation like yourself….Its a pity…but I feel that the youth are also restless and constantly feel lost and directionless because there is a strong cultural vaccuum…..there is an identity crisis, that I find within friends around me…I am thankful that I still have things to retain my sanity!

    I thank you for your last post and look forward to your insights. I liked your last poem. I also look for paniniji’s comments…because they do generate a good amount of intellectual exercise. I do hope this community and this forum will continue to grow.

    Thanks to everyone…and looking forward to more thoughts….I must confess, I cannot read urdu and write urdu…have read all of sahir, Faiz, Ghalib etc only in hindi script…but the wonderful thing is that I have started learning Urdu!

    Cheers and regards


  36. Janaab-e-mohtaram Sachdeva Saaheb,

    Choonki aapne “pun intended” ka ailaan karte hue hameN apne adhure sher meiN naajayaz qaraar diya hai:

    “Naajaayaz hotti hai woh aulaad,
    Jo baap ko khabti samajhtii hai.”

    to janaab shukraane meiN hamaari gardan khud-b-khud jhuk gayi hai. YaaN phir filmi andaaz meiN kaheN: “shukriya, karam, navaazish”. Aur choonki behen Swati bhi aapke khatoot se intahaayi hudood tak mutaasir haiN to yaqeenan aap jo bhi keh rahe haiN ghalat to woh sab nahiN hi hoga. Aapke 62 aur hamaare 26 (ya Allah, kaisa ulaT pher hai!) – aapki gaaliyaaN (hum kis zabaan se ise “petty” qaraar deiN – nahiN, nahiN yeh hamse nahiN hoga) huzoor sar aakhoN par. Zaraa ghaur farmaayeN, Janaab Sahir ka apne abba miyaaN se kaisa rishta tha yaa phir Janaab Javed Akhtar Saheb ki Janaab JaaN Nisaar Akhtar se taa-umr kis tarah ki guftgu rahi. Janaab Hegel ne kisi jagah Preface aur Text ke hawale se yeh farmaaya hai ke inke beech ka rishta homage aur parricide ka hota hai. Is hawaale se kam-o-besh sabhi nahiN to bahut baRi taadaad meiN daanishwar “najaayaz” Theharte haiN. Vaise ise hum “pun intend kiye bagair” COMPLEXITY ka naam dete haiN jo “binary oppositions” meiN baNdhi huyee soch ko ek hi choT meiN nestnabood karne ki quwwat rakhti hai. Aapko aapki jaayaz aur zarkhez zameen-o-rutba, aapka laal-o-chaman, aapka firdaus mubarik hameN hamaari “najaayaz” dasht. Jaisa ki kehte haiN – “apna apna naseeb hai!” Sach ke DevoN se hum vaise bhi bahut ghabraate haiN. So khush raho ahl-e-watan, hum to safar karte haiN.

    Aapki shakhsiyat se Daraa Daraa,

    Panini ya phir, batarz Bulle Shah, Pannu


  37. Mr. Panini

    you have this wonderful quality of missing the point – dont you? You perhaps must read the comments seriously to see the context in which they are made.

    Its a good thing you sent in this last post. Confirms my belief that you are a self obsessed person, incapable of deconstructing your own conflicting views, in the light of constructive criticism!!!! I notice how you keep changing your arguments!!!! Good for you…perhaps to attract attention it works as a strategy. A self obsessed person like you will fail to see the COMPLEXITIES in others’ arguments because all you want is a point to prove and to disagree!!!I am supremely disappointed since u mentioned your age. If that is true, I am forced to think that I belong to a generation of self obsessed cynics, like yourself or people who are too cynical of cynicism itself!!

    You reinforce stereotypes unfortunately!!!! If this last self obsessed mail was to also prove to us about ur urdu skills, you only disppoint. Because you had mentioned being in Gujarat,I had mistakenly assumed that you still have some sensitivities left despite all your negativity!!!

    Good luck with your cynicism and narcicism!!!! You might have a use for it for your self esteem, most of us dont!!! and with your COMMAND over the Urdu and even Punjabi languages which you have emphasised from time to time….was wondering if you still understand hindi?

    Adhjal gagri chhalkat jaye!!!!!

    We would still look forward to a constructive mail from you which adds to the discussion here and not takes away from it!!! and just incase I have been too harsh on your unintended sarcasm and self obsession, self righteousness etc etc….well you might want to even develop a COMMAND over the medium of expression in any language…and perhaps express urself better!!!!



  38. Behen Swati,

    Aapne apne pichhle khat me baNde ki jo taweel aur hairataNgez mazammat ki hai, use paRh kar to waqi’ee hamaare hosh fakhtaa ho gaye. Aisi baraf-baari to bas Stalin ke Siberia meiN, bazariya bedakhal danishwaraaNaan,suna hai siyaah-waqtoN meiN huaa karti thi. MeiN koshish karuNgaa ke kuCh sudhar jaauN par iski ummeed to ab kam hi nazar aati hai. Aapne durust hi farmaaya ki aap jaise shareefoN aur baasaleeqa deconstructivists ki basti meiN mujh sareekhe be-adab aur shaoor se mehroom bashar ka kya kaam. Kam-az-kam jis tarah se hum “Dear Mr Panini” se “Panini ji” aur ab “Mr Panini” hue haiN us se to hameN yahi sandes mila hai ki ‘bahut huaa miyaaN ab jaayiye yahaaN se’. Ham koshish kareNge ke aapko aur aap jaise “most of us” ko is blog par aur takleef na deN. Par koi pakka vaada nahiN – kam-az-kam us vaqt tak nahiN jab tak Bhai Shivam Vij ya Mehmud Faruqui sahab khud iska ishaara na kareN. Ham jaise bhaTke hue logoN ki beherhaal ek pareshaani hai: jaayeN to jaayeN kahaaN. YahaaN kuCh bahut umda logoN ka – masalan Aditya, Nivedita, Shivam aur hairaaN mat hoyiye khud Faruqui saahab – virtual saath naseeb hota hai jinheN kisi doosri shakl meiN mil paana mere jaise haashiye pe paRe hue insaan ke liye namumkin hai. BaRe hausle, koshish aur paRhaayi likhaayi (‘meri Chalakti huii adhjal gagri’ – khaasa gender-insensitive muhaavra hai) se hamne ye ghalat-fehmi paal rakhkhi hai ke hum kisi bhi soorat mein “stereotypical” nahiN – hargiz, hargiz nahiN – aur kisi bhi riwaayati shakl meiN hum apni position ko hargiz hargiz nahiN badalte. Ye donoN ilzaam saraasar ghalat haiN. Is se ziaada harsh hamse nahiN huaa jaata. HameN cynicism ke ilzaam se bhi inkaar hai. Aapko hamse “constructive mail” ki tawakko hai to aapko ye bhi zaahir kar deN ki hum kisi Nehruvian sense meiN “constructivists” nahiN haiN. Haal hi ke vaqtoN meiN hum SiNguraaye gaye haiN. Isi liye namaaz kuCh ziaada hi paRte haiN.

    Aakhir meiN, on a lighter note, Ghalib ke ek sher se apni baat baNd karta hooN:

    qaasid ke aate aate khat ek aur likh rakhooN
    meiN jaanta hooN jo woh likheNge jawaab meiN

    Aapka naalaayaq bhaai



  39. janaab….panini saab….!!!

    aap self obsession se bahar nikalkar is blog par kuchh contribute kijiye….to achha rahega…..hum ye nahin chahte ki aap na likhen….aur Nehruvian sense mein constructivist hone ki zarurat bhi nahin….see you missed the point again….I reiterate all my last comments and want to reserve more since u have already quoted Ghalib and I do not wish to be predictable! :)

    well, since its not a great idea to move into the realm of personal, I would like to revert the attention to Sahir and his poetry. I thought its not about what YOU think of Sahir but WHAT you think of Sahir that is important….

    Its interesting how sahir’s poetry moves easily between dream and reality, hope and resignation….he offers a very complex understanding of life situations…but to me what is infinitely interesting is the fact that he couldnt not as a poet separate the personal from the political!!! the poet and his poetry would have to be considered together…..he wrote what he felt/ experienced….

    hum gham zada hain…laayen kahan se khushi ke geet
    denge wahi jo payenge is zindagi se hum…..

    As Javed Akhtar had put it once….he didnt take to the film medium, the film medium accepted him!!!!!



  40. My dear Pannu,

    Naajaayaz hotti hai woh aulaad,
    Jo baap ko khabti samajhtii hai.

    Yeh toh maine mahaz Akbar allahabadi Saheb ke sher ke jawaab mein kahaa thaa aur isskaa aapke saath yaqiinan koyii lenaa denaa nahiin hai.

    Baakii aur jo bhii bhaav apne vyakt kiye hain unke baare main maatr yahii kahuungaa “Main Chup Rahuungaa” kyonki Sahir Saheb ke naqsh-e-paa par chalte huye main unn baaton ko ek khuubsuurat moRh dekar chhoRhnaa hii behtar samajhtaa huun.

    Chaliye Sahir Saheb kii ek aur bahut hii naayaab chiiz se aapkaa taa’ruf karwate hain :-

    Dharamputra film mein ek qawaalii thii jiske zarriye Janaab
    Sahir Sahib nein Shamaa aur Parwaane kii kashish ke baare
    mein amooman jo kuchh bhii kahaa jaataa hai uss sab ko
    Parwaane kii jaanib se naqaar diyaa thaa. Dekhiye Parwaane
    kii jaanib se woh kyaa kehate hain. “I am the lover of
    the dark night. If shamaa is lit in the daytime, I don’t
    come and shamaa is a message for my destruction.”

    The actual verses go somewhat like this :-

    Main toh aashiq hoon raat kii syaahii kaa
    Shamaa din ko jale toh main aataa nahin
    Shamaa paigam hai merii tabaahii kaa

    With best wishes,

    H.K.L. Sachdeva


  41. Swati ji,

    Yeh aapkii nazar. Umiid hai ki aap isse apnii pasand ke anukuul paayeingii.

    H.K.L. Sachdeva


    Janaab-e-Sahir kaa zikr ho aur Film “Phir Subah Hogi”
    ke liye likhe gaye unke naayaab nagmon kii baat naa ho,
    toh yeh baat unke tamaam muriidon par naagwaar guzregii.

    Here is a brief write-up on the film “Phir Subah Hogi”,
    a must see for everybody to make a true assessment
    of “Meraa Bhaarat Mahaan”.


    “Phir Subah Hogi (1958)” – a film by Ramesh Saigal –
    is basically a film version of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s
    “Crime and Punishment (1866)”. From the point of
    view of Indian scenario, it is an emotional piece of
    work to inculcate a culture of social justice in tune
    with the human compassions. The film concentrates
    on the various malevolent aspects of city life like
    exploitation, crime, unpleasantness & slums and the
    struggle of the downtrodden even for their basic needs
    for their day-to-day living.

    The film successfully brings out, in an extremely
    convincing manner, both the external and the internal
    conflicts of its characters. It is more or less a
    philosophical dealing of the guilt and mental mayhem
    which go through the mind of the hero who accidentally
    murders someone. Raj Kapoor, in fact, gave one of his
    life best performances in this film. The character
    played by Raj Kapoor was, virtually, internalized by
    him and rendered mind blowing performance and in a
    perfectly befitting manner. His performance depicting
    a man fighting with himself and his guilt was par

    Mala Sinha was in the female lead in the film and this
    film was amongst the better performances of her career.

    Among the supporting cast, Rehman appearing as hero’s
    munificent friend who tries to help him out as much as
    he can and makes the most of it creating a character
    who though cannot be of much help but walk along as a
    true friend. Mubarak reflects strong screen presence in
    playing the role of the police officer trying to exploit
    the hero’s mental turbulence and ultimately to make him
    confess to the murder.

    The film had excellent self-illuminating lyrics containing
    a Compendium of Sahir’s writings sung beautifully by
    Mukesh ji, Rafi ji and Asha ji with excellent Music Score
    composed by Khayyam Saheb.

    Some extremely beautiful songs, written by Sahir Ludhianvi
    with Music by Khayyam were sung by Mukesh and Asha Bhonsle,
    the most glaring of which were :-

    – Aasamaan pe hai khudaa aur zamiin pe ham
    – Chiin-o-arab hamaaraa, hindostaan hamaaraa
    – Phir naa kije merii gustaakh nigaahii kaa gilaa
    – Woh subah kabhii to aayegii, Woh subah kabhii to aayegii

    The best part for the song “Woh subah kabhii to aayegii”,
    of course was the modification from “Woh Subah Kabhi To
    Aayegi” to “Woh Subah Hum Hii Toh Laayeinge” at the end of
    the film which depicts Sahir’s leaning towards a system of
    collective change.

    Though released way back in 1958, the film still has
    relevance in the present times. In fact, the problems
    of poverty, homelessness, exploitation of the poor and
    corruption have multiplied manifold and even 60 years
    after of the Independence, we pray Woh Subah Kabhi to



  42. Behen Swati is persistent in her pointed critique of me. Says she,

    “see you missed the point again”

    What am I to say except that the missed point remains missing. So it is better we miss the missing point Miss.

    Having said that more about Mr HKL Sachdeva’s write-up on Phir Subah Hogi:

    Been wondering if the entry on Phir Subah Hogi at has indeed been penned by our own Shri HKL Sachdeva ji for his ‘write-up’ on the film in his last post reads suspiciously like the one carried at the above website. If indeed the two pieces are indeed written by two different people, it involves some truly uncomfortable questions about copyright violations.

    Here are a few similar sounding extracts from the two pieces:

    “Phir Subah Hogi (1958)” – a film by Ramesh Saigal –
    is basically a film version of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s
    “Crime and Punishment (1866)”…
    The film concentrates
    on the various malevolent aspects of city life like
    exploitation, crime, unpleasantness & slums and the
    struggle of the downtrodden even for their basic needs
    for their day-to-day living.

    From Sachdeva ji’s

    Though Phir Subah Hogi is loosely based on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment published in 1866

    The city became synonymous with jobs, wealth and excitement. But this was just one edge of the sword. The other edge was exploitation, crime, sleaze and slums as the poor and dispossessed struggled even with basic day-to-day living

    From Upperstall

    The film successfully brings out, in an extremely
    convincing manner, both the external and the internal
    conflicts of its characters. It is more or less a
    philosophical dealing of the guilt and mental mayhem
    which go through the mind of the hero who accidentally
    murders someone. Raj Kapoor, in fact, gave one of his
    life best performances in this film. The character
    played by Raj Kapoor was, virtually, internalized by
    him and rendered mind blowing performance and in a
    perfectly befitting manner. His performance depicting
    a man fighting with himself and his guilt was par

    From Sachdeva ji’s

    Phir Subah Hogi is one of those rare films that are able to successfully bring out not just the external conflicts but also more importantly the internal conflicts of its characters extremely convincingly. The film stays with its characters so we can see what they are going through. It is a fine study of the guilt and emotional turmoil that goes through the hero’s mind following his accidental murder of another man. In fact Raj Kapoor gives one of the best and most insightful performance of his career in Phir Subah Hogi. While physical acting is easier, it is much tougher to internalize oneself and portray the state of the mind and Raj Kapoor does exactly that perfectly. It is a marvelous performance of a man fighting with himself and his guilt and an attribute to his great skill as an actor.

    From Upperstall

    Mala Sinha was in the female lead in the film and this
    film was amongst the better performances of her career

    From Sachdeva ji’s
    Mala Sinha was on her way up following the success of Pyaasa where she had made a major impact when she did Phir Subah Hogi. This is among the better performances of her career

    From Upperstall

    Among the supporting cast, Rehman appearing as hero’s
    munificent friend who tries to help him out as much as
    he can and makes the most of it creating a character
    who though cannot be of much help but walk along as a
    true friend. Mubarak reflects strong screen presence in
    playing the role of the police officer trying to exploit
    the hero’s mental turbulence and ultimately to make him
    confess to the murder.

    From HKL Sachdeva Ji

    Among the supporting cast, Rehman has a rather unusual and bindaas role of Rehman, Ram’s benevolent friend who tries to help him out as much as he can and Rehman makes the most of it creating a character you cannot help but like and smile along with. Mubarak uses his strong screen presence to play the police officer trying to play on Ram’s mental turmoil and to get him to confess to the murder even employing unorthodox methods if he has to. Well fleshed out, it is the scene-stealing role of the film. Nana Palsikar plays the suffering retired patriarch who cannot take care of his family and so drowns himself in alcohol while Leela Chitnis plays his long suffering wife. Here is an extremely interesting characterization of a woman who actually chides her husband and unbelievably for a Hindi film even expresses relief at his death after what he has put the family through

    From Upperstall

    Though released way back in 1958, the film still has
    relevance in the present times. In fact, the problems
    of poverty, homelessness, exploitation of the poor and
    corruption have multiplied manifold and even 60 years
    after of the Independence, we pray Woh Subah Kabhi to

    From Sachdeva ji’s

    Released in 1958, Phir Subah Hogi continues to be as relevant in today’s time. The same problems of poverty, homelessness, exploitation of the poor, corruption plague the nation today in fact more so. In fact for millions even today it is a fact of life that Sone ko Ghar Nahin Hai Sara Jahan Humara. Today 56 years after Independence one cannot help but still pray Woh Subah Kabhi to Aayegi…

    From Upperstall


  43. Dear Pannu,

    The write up has not been penned down by me. It has been straight picked up from an iternet site and put here for the perusal of people here.

    It appears that you are only concerned with criticizm in one way or the other and not really interested in the content part. Tell me if you have anything to comment on the contents, may be you don’t have any because you may not even have seen the movie.

    Mr. Pannu, if you can take somebody’s advice seriously, please drop this attitude of “aaTTaa goondhate hiltii kyon ho” as usually displayed by a mother-in-law as it will not lead you anywhere. You have yourself admitted that you are a loner and now I am saying you will remain one. And there is no pun intended in it.

    May God be with you.

    H.K.L. Sachdeva


  44. Dear Sachdeva ji,

    In addition to your Hindi example perpetuating the stereotype of the mother-in-law being highly objectionable – gender-insensitive as it is – you are not even in the least bit remorseful about your unacknowledged lifts from other sites. I must say that you are a very determined soul.

    Plagiarism is a culpable offense. It is illegal to just “cut and paste” without acknowledging the source. People in universities – barring those teaching in the Okhla type of academic rackets where junior dons with proven acts of plagiarism get appointed as Professors without interviews – lose their jobs and research scholars their Ph.Ds if found out in this ethically unsustainable activity.

    You don’t seem to realize the gravity of the issue at stake so confident you are about the so-called ‘content’ of your(?) wisdom about which I have absolutely no comment to make.
    Incidentally, I have seen the film Phir Subah Hogi and other than its music, it has nothing much to recommend itself.

    For other people on the blog, I have the following queries:

    a) Was Sahir ever a part of PWA or IPTA?
    b) Did he ever write about or express any opinion about Lenin and Stalin – especially the latter?
    c) Was he relatively closer to the Nehruvian model of the industrial development – the so-called ‘temples of modernity’ than he was to the left?
    d) Was he ever critical of the left?



  45. Pannu,

    What Sahir (or for that matter any other Poet/writer) writes, if you like it enjoy it, if you don’t like it forget it. Baal kii khaal nikaalne se kuchh milne milaane waalaa nahiin. issii liye maine apnii last but one post mein likhaa thaa :-


    Baakii aur jo bhii bhaav apne vyakt kiye hain unke baare main maatr yahii kahuungaa “Main Chup Rahuungaa” kyonki Sahir Saheb ke naqsh-e-paa par chalte huye main unn baaton ko ek khuubsuurat moRh dekar chhoRhnaa hii behtar samajhtaa huun.


    and I stick to it.

    Hamein toh jo achhaa lagtaa hai woh hum sabke saath share karte hain aur jo nahiin achhaa lagtaa usse bhool jaate hain. Criticism (just for the heck of cricticising) is not my cup of tea whereas I feel, with you it is the only cup of tea. Aur agar aapkaa yahii vyavhaar barkaraar rahaa toh yahaan shaayad hamein apnii aamad par bandish lagaanii paRhegii.


    H.K.L. Sachdeva


  46. Dear Pannu,

    You say that you have seen the film Phir Subah Hogi and other than its music, it has nothing much to recommend itself.

    After reading this, I am sorry to say that I am again compelled to express my doubts as to whether you have really seen the movie.

    The hero who very well knew that there is neither any witness or evidence to the crime which got comitted by him, suffers a sort of mental agony and the turmoil that he undergoes in his mind, ultimately falls prey to the traps of the Police Inspector who magnificiently attempts to exploit the hero’s mental turbulence and ultimately the hero is just not able to resist but to confess to the murder.

    In the scenario, as above, the roles played by Raj Kapoor, the hero and Mubarak, the Police Inspector are just superb and par excellence and other supporting cast also did full justice to their roles.

    And my dear friend, you say that you have seen the film and other than its music, it has nothing much to recommend itself.

    I pity myself for having to respond to this.

    May God be with you.

    H.K.L. Sachdeva


  47. I find it a bit surprising that even though Sahir has written such a lot on the plight of women, his critical negotiation occurs almost entirely though the metaphorized/descriptive image of prostitution – at least in his film songs. The question of feminine desire gets largely unaddressed except in an occasional song, and what a song, like “Raat bhi hai kuCH bheegi bheegi” but nothing quite as ontologically elevating as, for instance, Jan Nisar Akhtar’s “Ai dil-e-nadaaN” from Kamal Amrohi’s Razia Sultan. There are very few songs where the question of feminine desire gets articulated in Sahir’s poetry and more often than not he begins to sound like a sulking child – examples: “deNge wahi jo paayeNge is jahaaN se hum” (very Mahesh Bhattish) or “ashkoN meiN jo paaya hai geetoN meiN diya hai”. Even on the theme of market and woman’s body as an object of sexual transaction, he comes across as more of an emotionally hurt outsider commenting as an observer. Even a minor poet like Kaifi Bhopali in Pakeezah – inhiN logoN ne le leena – has more of a socially involved stake and therefore his critique is more direct if not emotionally as searing.


  48. The point about Sahir is that his poetry comes across as very definively positioned within a – good or bad – male cosmologly. Either he fails to move beyond the reformist agenda where his concerns are largely sociological (and not existential) or, when he addresses it, he places the question of desire within the erotic idiom with a clearly patriarchic idea of subservience unabashedly in play – this includes even “Raat bi hai kuCh bheegi bheegi” and “Aaj piya mohe aNg lagaa lo”. He evinces no ontological need to concern with the ontological nature of the feminine desire. A woman’s desire, per se! Even when it comes to lighter expressions of desire, he is nowhere near Shailendra – unless of course one refers to “AaNkhoN hi aaNkhoN meiN ishaara ho gayaa” and “jaane kya tune kahi” which are rumoured to have been ghost written by JaN Nisaar Akhtar. Compare his lighter songs to Shailendra’s “Pal bhar jo udhar muNh phere o chaNda” or “Pyar hua iqraar hua” or “Haaye gajab kahiN taara TooTa”… the list is long and songs too numerous to count.


  49. you have opinions for sure…..unfortunately they are uninformed ones!!!! I would urge you to first go through all the songs of sahir, and then get back on the blog……

    Most men, articulate womens sexuality in the way they would like to see it, and sahir as a poet was not above that….neither were the other poets you mentioned…….You also mention the ‘ feminine desire’ in the way you would like to see it expressed…..and even then….you havent even read sahir to have written the last post!

    Do not insist on articulating uninformed and prejudiced opinions….just because you are used to doing things for the sake of doing them! Why be averse to knowledge and learning?



  50. Your argument has set me rolling with laughter….its like looking for a critique of George Bush’s Iraq policy in sahir’s writings and then saying…..well its not there….what kind of a poet was he?….

    and with all your claims of gender sensitivity….I cannot help think that you have such a simplistic understanding of womens sexuality or feminine desire as you claim…..that it again makes me laugh…….Actually on second thoughts…please do keep writing……atleast you offer good entertainment………one gets to know…..what someone who hasn’t read sahir thinks of him!!!!!!!please do write…..and even if I may not be able to reply all the time…because of all my travels….I will atleast read them for sure… keep myself in good cheer..!!!!!



  51. For all those who admire Sahir Ludhinavi’s poetry….here is a rare treat incase u havent already seen it!!!!



  52. Mimicry, as they say, is the last resort of IGNARROS (a fatal combination of ignorance arrogance) who claim to be the God’s of Truth. Lest the charge is extended to me, let me point out that I qualify my statements as being mine and open to error. For me Sahir’s mediocrity as a creative artist does not necessarily imply that he is socially insingnificant or irrelevant even if I believe his significance has over a period been severally reduced. I do believe that the complexity of this phenomenon called Sahir has not as yet been addressed and has, on the contrary, been allowed to be drowned in sentimental mush. I oppose, what in my opinion constitutes, bad scholarship and I mince no words – and I do believe that Janaab Sohail Hashmi’s bravely attempted history of Urdu shaayari since the 18th c was a symptomatic example of such scholarship. About Behen Swati, what is one to say except hate oneself for having been the cause of such strange behaviour and bile?

    So completely self-enclosed this adulation of Sahir is! Either you like our Sahir or quite simply get lost. These worthies have been throwing broad hints to me to literally leave this blog which I believe is trully frightening. Maybe I am not as learned and well-read or well-informed as the Gods and Panditas of Truth, but I have a non-plagiarist’s – I am quite self-consciously original and dare I add theoretically challenging – right to exist and express my opinions even if they make very little sense. If my posts make someone roll with laughter, it makes me shudder in pain at someone’s open, blatant and hubris-engulfed anti-intellectual self-positioning. It saddens me even more to note what a completely misplaced and poor sense of interpretation scholars pursuing higher studies and doctoral research from Indian Universities have when it comes to dealing with uncomfortable issues. I may be wrong but I do not fiond Sahir very convincing when it comes to the ontology of feminine desire. Where is it articulated in his oeuvre? I would loe to be enlightened. The questions I raised remain important and cannot simply be wished away just because someone is blindly in ‘awe’ of Sahir.


  53. The sentence:

    About Behen Swati, what is one to say except hate oneself for having been the cause of such strange behaviour and bile?

    should read as:

    About Behen Swati, what is one to say except one hates oneself for having been the cause of such strange behaviour and bile?


  54. Mr. You know it all!!

    You are not the only one who understands the value of a nuanced crtique and surely not the only one who understands the importance of addressing uncomfortable questions…….I reiterate… humour comes from the fact that you arent even making relevant remarks and indulging in self obsession which is abominable……

    I cannot speak for everyone…but for myself…..I think of myself as a feminist, and certainly not the kinds you imagine feminists to be…that Sahir was not a feminist at all even when he wrote aurat ne janam diya mardon ko…is not rocket science to figure out…..the point is that when you make a crtique, an intelligent one that too, esp of poems nad writings, it has to be usually on what was written and not on what wasnt even intended or mentioned or written about!!! Poor Sahir must be turning in his grave thinking folks like you expected him to carry out a revolution, and carry further the emancipatory agenda of feminists of his time…and articulate through his artistic medium of poetry something as important as ‘feminine desire’…Poor man…who probably didnt ever have a woman in his life,…and partly his problem that too!!!!…I am certainly not in awe of sahir…i do recognise the problems in his poems as well and as a feminist I have several issues there…but it is the quality of his writings that is phenomenal..and the context that is so relevant….the content and the form of his poetry calls for a greater understanding than simply pointing out…. he didnt address this and that!!!!!And If u think I am in awe of him…well you are also determined to reject him in not even an intellectual sort of way…but on petty matters……as I said…the poor man…didnt write about George Bush and Osama…he didnt write about womens write to divorce, to abort….well that rascal…didnt even talk about gays and lesbians and his poems just reinforced gendered streotype of heterosexual longing and desire!!!!!…..and so he is a mediocre poet!!!!What do u expect me to do? To not laugh?….as i sad…do write….I like ur posts……for the fun they generate…..coz unfortunately…intellectaully they are definitely prejudiced nad hollow!!!!

    ‘It saddens me even more to note what a completely misplaced and poor sense of interpretation scholars pursuing higher studies and doctoral research from Indian Universities have when it comes to dealing with uncomfortable issues’….wow…what a statement!!!!clearly you have no idea of what has been happening in the universities….and the amount of questioning that goes on…..STOP making generalisations like this!!!!!

    So you also think you are ‘original nd dare I add theoretically challenging’….I honestly wish you challenged one enough to respond in an intellectual way……your prejudiced posts have been hell bent on proving sahir mediocre or even non engaging on issues…the poor fellow hadnt even probably thought about!!!!! Thats why I find ur posts amusing…and you call this theoretically challenging!!!!!I am beginning to pity you because I am seriously thinking you like to prove a point…only because u are an attention seeker…not because u really care about either sahir or his ‘bad’ poetry!!!!I am beginning to see that you are not bothered about criticising sahir as much as interested in proving a point!!!! In a way that relieves me……

    I wish you luck……I will still be a part of this blog…coz I look forward to some greater insights on sahir and his poetry from those who have something to contribute..I shall certainly read your messages…and needless to say will get amused…..unless u atleast recognise ur prejudices…..which is least likely!!!! Haar nahin manoonga….keep up the spirit…Mr. original thinker…and theoretically engaging……intellectually sound…better than us , products of uni systems, Mr. panini pothoharvi…..the SAD TRUTH is that it is you who doesnt see the grey areas…in your quest for the white and the black!!!!!!!



  55. See it doesnt bother me now…whatever u want to say……I am not prejudiced and an intelligent crtique would still not change my feelings towards sahir….clearly i find the meaning in his poetry that eludes you, Mr. panini……I long for intellectual inputs from pple on sahir…and am willing to take a reasonable critiqe of his works…but not by someone whose main agenda is to prove that he is an original thinker and intellectually engaging….self obsessed person…out to prove a point!!!!

    As I said…..I do not even understand the need for ur doing so…unless you really have an attention problem…..i reiterate that my reason to join this blog….is to learn about the mystical sahir….not to hear prejudiced opinion………..It doenst matter now what u have to say…..


  56. Happily for some, in fact “most of us”, I withdraw than be hysterically abused. Adieu!


  57. hi everybody,sorry but i was busy with the illness and finally the death of my eldest brother shailey shailendra who expired on 7th.i am pained at the way this discussion is progressing with things really getting personal and petty.anyways what i am glad about is that inspite of all the silly songs we hear today there exist these diehard fans of great poets of yesteryears.anyone who wishes to get in touch with me is mobile no is 9820800690 e mail


  58. Dear Dinesh,

    Please accept our heartfelt condolenses on the demise of your eldest brother. We pray that The Almighty may bless peace to the departed soul and courage to the bereaved family to bear this unbearable loss.

    H.K.L. Sachdeva


  59. dear shri sachdeva thank you very much for your condolences on my brother shaileys death.for all who do not know when my father expired in 1966,he had only written the mukhda of jeena yahan marna was shailey at age 16 who wrote the antaras.unfortunately he could not stand the pressures of being compared with my great father at every stage of his career as a lyricist also the other lyricists who jumped at trying to fill the void left by my fathers untimely death, (he was 43) tried their best to keep him out.coming back to this discussion,i think it has reached a point where everyone is trying to prove that he knows more than the others.let us keep it healthy and positive.sahirsahab,shakeelsahab,majroohsahab,my father have all contributed to to giving us some of the greatest songs and poetry of our times.let us listen and enjoyinstead of comparing and slinging mud at each quote my father,”kuch log jo zyada jante hain insaan ko kam pehchaante hain”


  60. Dear Dineshji

    It was heratening to get your email. please accept my condolences as well. Thank you for sharing with us your grief

    I couldnt agree with you more that we should try to enjoy nad get what we can from these great lyricists. I am a great admirer of sahir saab’s poetry and it aggrieved me to see malicious criticism of his works. I would be similarly saddened if we speak against the other great lyricists of the times including your father…if at all, we should build a systematic critique of the films today which have eroded the culture of lyrical poetry and social sensitivities. Most songs produced today are enough to shame us forever….

    I am in india at the moment and would definitely like to speak to you sometime. I was wondering if you might have some insights on any minor or major interactions between your father and sahir saab if at all. Or any opinion shailendra saab had of sahir’s writings. Also if you would like to share with us the story behind the making of the movie Teesri Kasam, and Shailendra saab’s experinces with it. It would be something we would all be grateful for. Is there anything else you might like to share about your brother?

    Many thanks for getting back to the blog. Its like a breath of fresh air!!!

    warm regards


  61. Dear Dinesh & Swati,

    I have happened to enjoy the best of poetry from the great poets like, I think I should start with Janaab Qamar Jalalabadi (Ik dil ke TukRhe hazaar huye, koyii yahaan giraa, koyii wahaan giraa) and then Kaifi Azmi, Sahir Ludhianvi, Shalendra ji, Harat Jaipuri, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Pt. Gopaldas Neeraj, Rajendra Krishan, Anand Bakshi, Gulshan Bawra, Sampooran Singh Gulzar, Javed Akhtar and many others.

    I beleive all of it is for enjoyment and not for criticism. All that a poet writes, is his thought process which he shapes them into words which gets weaved into the music by the Music Director or may be sometimes it is vice-versa also. It is agreed that sometimes the poet has to compromise his thought process or even the words according to the demand of situations in the movies. Like I gave the examples of Sahir Saheb having written “sanaa_Khwaan-e-taqdiis-e-mashriq kahaa.N hai.n?” which was later simplified by him at Guru Dutt’s request as “Jinhein naaz hai Hind par woh kahaan hain?”

    Yeh log toh hameshaa hii aallah-zarf log rahe hain (people of higher intelect), how can we imagine to put ourselves at a higher level vis-a-vis them and do the critiqing on them because we can do critiqing on another person only when we are at a level which is “one plus” the person we are attempting to criticise.

    I also write and I know how the thought process develops and takes the shape of words. I will share with you one beautiful couplet (not mine) which I think is the best couplet I have heard so far :-

    Naamuraad-e-mohabbat ko hikaarat kii nazar se naa dekh,
    Yeh baRhe log hain, jiine kaa hunar jaante hain.

    This is referring purely to their aallah-zarfii and the same is equally true with all these great poets. Inn sabb kaa darjaa toh aasmaan par biThaane kaa hai aur jabb hum unnko aasmaan kii uunchaaii par dekhte hain toh hamein sabb uunche hii nazar aane chaahiyein.

    Hoping for a better inter-acion in this forum,

    H.K.L. Sachdeva


  62. hi everyone,thanks for the condolences.i for one absolutely agree with mr sachdeva these were great souls and i dont think anyone in the world is qualified to criticise even a word that they have written.swatiji thanx for being so kind.i am a film director having directed for kamalhaasan including his last hindi film mumbai ambition is to make a full length feature based on the life of my father for which i have done a lot of research over the years.this would include the real stories about how some of those great songs were written and composed.i would love sharing all of it with anyone who is interested.only i am not too comfortable typing.i would prefer writing on paper or speaking to people.


  63. I would like to start my say on the topic of Sahir Sahab with a couplet by Ghalib..”Mushkil hai zabas kalaam mera ai dil..padh padh kar sukhan wara’an e kaamil aasan kahne ki karte hain farmaish..goim mushkil wagarna goim mushkil” ..aptly said by Ghalib for his own works but still it holds true in this context as people are misunderstanding Sahir..he undoubetdly is one of the best Urdu poets of 20th century and before any belittleing comment on his works i suggest one should be aware of the circumstances he faced in his life coz only then one can neatly comprehend his work and even for that matter any artists work. Where else can we find such deep and meaningful lyrics that too in movies ..for mahlon ye takhton ye tajon ki re tu kaahe na vaada kiya vo..jaane vo kaise log the..chalo ek baar phir say..and the list is endless..i can categorise most of his songs and we all combined cannot come up with any verse even close to the quality which Sahir has sometimes amazes me as how can he so closely feel the situation and then write with such in ..Tum chali jao gi parchaiyan rah jaein gi..the entire song has to be heard to grasp the pathos..and even..jise tu qubool kar le..and teri duniya mein jeene se to..i will come back to the beauty of his songs later..but first let me refute the claim of people who say that Sahir sometimes dictated terms to the music directors..when Sahir was the time of SD Burman..who himself was monopolising the industry ..and had his own fixed rates…ranging in lakhs of that time..Sahir wanted to create a niche for himself and once he established himself..he prefered working with struggling music directors of his time and thus increased there worth and money making capacity..for instance..Ravi,Roshan , N Dutta and Khaiyyam..who all have got major hits of there career with Sahir..the reason being Sahir himself faced so much of struggle and sometimes humilation that he truly felt for struggling artist in the industry.


  64. Sahir is a poetic genius without even a shade of doubt. He maintained a high level of poetry in his songs even in 70’s when the quality of film songs had declined. Listen to the track of Kabhi Kabhi and songs like tera mujhse hai pahle ka naata koi..kiska rasta dekhe..maine tujhe maanga tujhe paaya hai..mohabat bade kaam ki cheez hai.
    This one especially for die hard Sahir admirers and fans..we all the abstract quality of Gulzars doubt his songs are par excellence but just listen to this song by Sahir from the movie raat ye chandni phir kahan..and ud be surprised to see how Gulzar like the lyrics are.and the movie was released in 1952 (so no Gulzar then).for instance..Pedon ki shaqon pe soyi soyi chandni..and..lehron ke honton pe dheema dheema raag the Master inspires a few too..:)..(no hard feelings please) these are soully my views.


  65. Dear Meesam Raza Saheb,

    Hats off to you for penning down our (pro Sahir) heart here. I went a step ahead in saying that how can we criticize Sahir or any other poet when we qre not one up as compared to them.

    I am sure, you would have read Mr. Guri’s write up wherein he has given virtually a step by step analysis of the changes which he observed in Sahir’s writings.

    I am a die heard fan of Sahir Saheb. Read what he write in “Kissii ko udaas dekhkar”. First he talks of her sadness and his concern for it and then he talks of the sadness of everybody around him and then says :-

    ye Gam hai.n bahot merii zi.ndagii miTaane ko
    udaas rah ke mere dil ko aur ranj na do

    Read his “Mere Giit” reporoduced by me above wherein he categorically says that he is not averse to the love songs and poetry but he can’t stand the torture of human sufferings around and that is why his pen womits fire.

    This only Sahir Saheb could write.

    Hope to have more interaction in times to come.


    H.K.L. Sachdeva


  66. good for you Meesam!!!! Great job done and eloquently too…All those critics should wake up and start reading sahir!!!


  67. I deliberated a long while before opening up but it was absolutely essential to share a little information. So here goes: Mr MR should read a bit of Pablo Neruda to know where some of the verses he has so extolled – PeRoN ki shakhoN par etc – have come from. People who have ‘started reading’ Sahir should also start reading the original. It will do them a world of good.


  68. Respected Mr P.P.

    Aap kahte hain to theek hi kahte honge..Sahir ne aaj tak Shayeri hi nahin ki..he was merely thriving on the profession of plagiarism. Seems you have some vendatta against the departed poet. Due to shortage of time im unable to reply in full so will surely do the catching up.


  69. Well if sahir hadn’t plagiarised…how would the likes of his critics like Panini thrive?….My amusement is unabated….the fact that people have to take so much trouble to just prove that sahir was the biggest moron who walked on this earth!!!Well atleast it is to sahir’s credit that people have started reading Neruda!!!!



  70. Dearest MR,

    You jumped to a conclusion with remarkable alacrity. Baqaul Faiz:

    Woh baat saare fasaane meiN jiska zikr na tha,
    woh baat unko baRi naagawaar guzri hai!

    Read your recommendations of Sahir on Lenin. I do not think there is much to write home about such poetry. His filmi stuff is a lot better even if it confirms the age-old belief: Great minds think alike. We have a Sahir and Neruda in a creative shadow play. Maybe Neruda is the Sahir of Latin America in much the same way as Godard is the Mrinal Sen of France. We have furious commentators here, the rasiks in unbridled kaifiat, who would hear no evil… etc.


  71. And yes, you have also mentioned in one of your earlier postings:

    “Where else can we find such deep and meaningful lyrics that too in movies ..for mahlon ye takhton ye tajon ki duniya..”

    Since you, albeit vitriolically, concede that I am a MR CRITIC I would like to state my position unambiguously on this rather sadly extolled poem of Janab Sahir Ludhianvi Saheb. It seems to me to be amongst the shoddiest poems I have read in a relatively short literary life-span of let us say of ten years of serious reading. And have I read a lot!!! I requires some guts to be moved by Janab Sahir’s almost feudalistic command in this poem:

    “mere saamne se haTa lo ye duniya”

    Are kyoN bhai! Hum kyoN haTaayeN? Koi naukar lage haiN tumhaare? Agar itni lakleef hai to haTa lo na khud hi! Sahir ki yehi problem hai. Uska politics ekdum begana hai – uninvolved or phuss. YahaN to vo darmiyaani shayari se bhi niche utar aata hai.BaNde meiN koi dam nahiN lagta, kam-az-kam yahaN par to nahiN hi

    “Ye duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai”

    Kya hai? Aisi duniya agar mil jaaye to bhaiyye laanat hai!!!


  72. for those serious critics/admirers or even readers of Sahir’s poetry…hope you will pitch in…

    In Sahir, I find a poet, who has the poetic conscience to engage with the ‘real world’……sahir was writing at a time when the euphoria of a new nation was glossing over the harsher realities…there were only some lyricists during his times, who wished to look beyond the romanticised image of the great Indian nation, the perfect heterosexual romance, the desired female body, or the overt sense of patriotism. To be able to construct a poetic narrative of the challenges of the times was an arduous task… articulate the failures of the Nehruvian vision was difficult….or rather to put it simply…to put in words the myriad emotions of human life and relationships was not easy…At a time when idealism was rampant…to be able to state the obvious, that too so beatifully…and yet retain the idealism tells us much about his poetic abilities…..I have always found a rupture between Sahir’s life and his poetry and am not too sure his personal…was also his political or poetical if u please……He was an arrogant man….probably even a mysoginist…even an egotist whose concern was to be better than others…to stand out……He did have feudalistic tendencies expressed in his interactions…even with his best friends…..He wasn’t a feminist perhaps…and in real life didnt think much of women…..But to be able to then….even articulate the voices of the ‘subaltern’…including women…was a phenomenal job that only a born poet could achieve…If only in terms of how he managed to express things….his literary skills were unsurpassed….he was truly the ‘magician’…..of words!!!!At a time when we are all worried about who can speak for whom….and who can represent whom……I am convinced of his abilities to represent the secular, the feminists, the post modern, the idealists, the realists….and many more…and therein lies his greatness….

    And surely those who have read Sahir might ponder on the fact that his lyrics are engaging…in the way he questions…rasm…riwaaz…dharm..and samaj…..and yet manages to dream…of wo subah…kabhi to aayegi…..His idealism was intact in the way he saw the different aspects of life…khak ko but aur but ko devta karta hai ishq…..he maintained a delicate balance of questioning without offending……and perhaps….poetry didn’t flow out of him…but he evolved out of his poetry….

    poetry and music is a political statement about the time as well as a personal expression of ideas…..we read these forms of art also in the ways in which our worlds are constructed…The ‘politics of location’ works both ways…for the reader and the writer….Being an ardent admirer of Sahir’s writings/poetry…I am not too sure…how it would be to have met him…if he were alive….but his poetry talks to me…engages a constant conversation…Perhaps even for those who lived during his times…his poetry was better to relate to and engage with than sahir himself!!!! And the Sahir-Amrita story does exemplify this….

    Sahir’s poetry is not dull or dead…It speaks…..and how it speaks to us…depends a lot on our own positionings…….Thanks sahir for telling us…’hooren’ milti hain kise…iski parwah se gaye………!!!!!….those who find it difficult to see beauty in sahir’s writings or meaning in his words….might want to locate themselves…..and position themselves….afterall we do experience things differently…but the difference between those who appreciate the writings of sahir and those who dont lies in the argument that the earth does not revolve around the sun, or that we dont need air and water to survive!!!!!It would be too stark….and unneccessary……!!! cheers


  73. Ms Parasher’s last posting, even if I disagree with the line of the argument, is by far the most sensibly thought out posting on the Sahir Ludhianvi. I am glad that the debate moves beyond gooey ‘Sampooran Singh Gulzar’ type of familiarity.

    I shall be back – once I return to India – with my comments soon.


  74. I am worried about what is happening to our country with the steady growth of fundamentalism and so much moral policing that is enough to muffle voices….was reading about the recent art college controversy in Baroda. I am not too sure we are a secular country anymore and suddenly…religion scares me….its not culture anymore …..its always a political statement even in our daily interactions…..Religion was supposed to take care of our worldly problems, contradictions and bring us peace….Its no longer that way…..Or perhaps religion has always been a problem? We don’t feel free today?…do we?..

    I cannot help think of my favourite poet again in these troubled times….a man who always rejected religion that stood before human values and human life…..A man, who gave voice to the secular, the humane and the ideal….what better way than to capture the imagination through poetry…..?…Sahir Ludhianvi was a poet beyond his times…His poetry/ lyrics are more meaningful today than ever before….His poetry engages me and is a constant reminder of the sanity that is elusive and desirable……Even if it means.. to be moved by allah tero naam ishwar tero naam…sabko sanmati de bhagwaan…..I will unashamedly claim…..yes, I wish the world that he created in his poetry could really exist….I am happy I can still escape into that world…..

    How can I then not admire him, who helps me and perhaps many others make sense of our worlds?…


  75. Undoubtedly, these are terribly troubled times. No gainsaying the obvious! Let us therefore concretely invoke Sahir’s poems in which he emerges as someone ‘ahead of his times’ and see how they have continued to be relevant to our times. Concrete poetic examples and analysis if possible, please!


  76. Allah tero naam happens to be one of my favourite songs.I dont consider myself worthy of critisising Sahirsahab for whom my father had so much admiration and respect.Having basically worked and analysed my fathers songs and non film poems i can mainly quote him.I for one believe and think the world would be a better place if we all believe “bahut diya dene wale ne tujhko aanchal hi na samaaye to kya kijay.Beet gaye jaise yeh din raina baaki bhi kat jaye duaa kijay” regards and apologies if i am moving away from the real mudda.


  77. Yaaro, aakhirkaar mil hi gayiN! Finally, Sahir Ludhianvi’s two lines in Punjabi:

    Ishq na puchhe deen dharam nu,
    ishq na puchhe zaataaN,
    ishq de haththoN garam lahoo vich,
    DubbiyaaN lakhkh baraataaN!

    from the famous qawwali “yeh ishq ishq hai ishq ishq”


  78. I am a maharashtrian and only 35 and hence cannot write much about the urdu & punjabi literature. I have read a little bit by most of the great names in urdu poetry. Ghalib, Mir, Momin, Zauq, Daag from older tradition and Jigar, Faiz, Saahir, Firaq from the last century.

    Undoubtedly, Saahir counts as a towering figure in last century’s poetry. His only fault (or misfortune) was that he wrote a lot of his profound poetry for films and in an extremely simple language. I do not recount many films made with a poet as a protagonist. (Leave apart Mirza Ghaalib and Mahakavi Kalidas). But the one’s which were produced had Saahir writing the lyrics. Pyaasa, Kabhie Kabhie…What greater proof is required?

    His Ishq, Ishq quawaali is almost legendary in philosophical thought. Or the 4 great songs from hum dono, (three of them greatly philosophical and the other eternally romantic). His belief that song is a poet’s creation and I also read somewhere that he charged a rupee more than the music director for this reason!

    I cannot agree with the people who believe he was a sub-standard shaayar…


  79. I am thankful and grateful to read the abov articles.I am glad to know about the Urdu Shairs and Urdu Shairies.Much pain has been taken to narrate the life ketches of all Uru Poets.I hope the same in future.


  80. Main toh aashiq hoon raat kii syaahii kaa
    Shamaa din ko jale toh main aataa nahin
    Shamaa paigam hai merii tabaahii kaa

    these lines are from movie SHAADI 1961 and according to movie credits the lyricist is RAJENDRA KRISHAN.
    mr.H.K.L. SACHDEVA has made a big mistake by claiming that the movie is DHARAMPUTRA
    and lyricist is far as panini’s comments about SAHIR’s poetry is concerned;it shows his or her little knowledge about SAHIR and his poetry.of course there are many sayings like BANDAR KYA JANE ADARAK KA SWAD,GADHE KO DHOOL MEIN LOTNE ME HI MAZA AATA HAI etc.


    1. Dear Farhaad,

      I fully agree with you. You are very right, the lyrics

      Main toh aashiq hoon raat kii syaahii kaa
      Shamaa din ko jale toh main aataa nahin
      Shamaa paigam hai merii tabaahii kaa

      are from the movie “Shadi” and penned down by Janaab Amir Rajendra Krishan Sahab. I sincerely regret for the error.

      However, recently, I came across something written by Sahir Sahab which touched me a lot. I am sharing it here to let people know of the depth to which Sahir Sahab was involved for the cause of the society.

      ग़ज़ल – बहु जलाने का हक

      ऊँचे ऊँचे नामों की तख्तियां जला देना,
      ज़ुल्म करने वालों की वर्दियां जला देना |

      दरबदर भटकना क्या दफ्तरों के जंगल में,
      बेलचे उठा लेना डिग्रियां जला देना |

      मौत से जो डर जाओ तो ज़िंदगी नहीं मिलती,
      जंग जीतना चाहो तो कश्तियाँ जला देना |

      फिर बहु जलाने का हक तुम्हें पहुँचता है,
      पहले अपने आँगन में बेटियाँ जला देना |


  81. Excellent piece, sir!
    However, the fact that Urdu as a language has been implicitly designated to a certain religious group by many of the commentators here is saddening and speaks volumes about the way we, as a society make associations that can be very, very misleading.


  82. Hi friends,
    I like Sahir Ludhyanvi’ shayari. He has composed a great poetry for urdu poetry lovers. The Sher, I liked very much when I found it here

    it was
    तुम मेरे लिए अब कोई इल्ज़ाम न ढूँडो
    चाहा था तुम्हें इक यही इल्ज़ाम बहुत है |

    and one more I liked

    बे पीये ही शराब से नफ़रत
    ये जहालत नहीं तो फिर क्या है |


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