Sahir Ludhainvi was many things along with a poet, the legendary lyricist was also a communist sympathiser and a pro-independence poet opposing the British colonial era capitalistic system. His works traversed beyond love and romance and patriotism and empathy reflected in his timeless nazms (poetry in Urdu) and writings.
Born as Abdul Hayee on March 8, 1921, in Ludhiana of undivided Punjab, after completing his schooling from Khalsa High School in
Ludhiana, and after separation of his parents, he was living with his mother and maternal uncle. He then enrolled in arts stream at the Satish Chander Dhawan Government College (SCD Govt. College), Ludhiana. As a college student, he was popular for his ghazals, nazms and speeches. Popularly known as ‘Takhallus’ (pen name), he edited Urdu magazines such as Adab-e-Lateef, Shahkaar, Prithlari, and Savera and also became a member of the Progressive Writers' Association.
His works influenced Indian film industry, especially Hindi films and even before Gulzar, Sahir was the master of Urdu in Bollywood.
As today is the the legendary poet and lyricist’s 100th birth anniversary, here are some interesting facts:
- He was born to Muslim family, in a Red Sandstone Haveli in Karimpura in Ludhiana of undivided Punjab.
- In 1943, published his first poetry book ‘Talkhian’ (Bitterness). He was just 22 and the book was his recollection of bitter childhood.
- He fled from Lahore to Delhi because of an arrest warrant issued against him by the then Government of Pakistan for making controversial statements against them.
- Amrita Pritam, a famous Punjabi writer, too studied with Sahir in college. Sahir loved and admired her poems. The duo shared mutual admiration for each other and their respective literary works.
- Somewhere in 1943, Sahir was expelled from the college. The reason being Amrita’s father objected to the relationship between them, as Sahir was Muslim and Amrita was a Sikh.
- He named himself ‘Sahir’, which means a magician and added Ludhianvi because he hailed from Ludhiana.
- Among the many of his classics that remain immortal, his works also spoke boldly of women’s oppression in society and inequality they face throughout life.
- He received his first Filmfare award for Best Lyricist for Taj Mahal (1963) and the second in the same category for his work in Kabhie Kabhie (1976).
- Despite several love affairs, Sahir remained a bachelor all his life. Nursing many grudges against his father, who deserted his mother when he was a minor. He died on 25 October 1980 due to a sudden cardiac arrest at the age of 59.