Born Abdul Hayee
The People’s Poet, the most prolific lyricist and poet India had ever seen — Sahir Ludhianvi stole every heart. Be it Main Zindagi Ka Saath or Saathi haath badhana, or his Aye Meri Zoharjabin , every Bollywood fan knows him, adores him.
Born on 8th March 1921 in Karimpura, Sahir had quite a troubled childhood, his mother separated herself from his father and they suffered financial deprivation.Later on as a college student, Sahir was popular for his ghazals, nazms and passionate speeches.
Sahir in Partition
In 1943, Sahir settled in Lahore.He completed his first published work in Urdu Talkhiyaan. Some time later he got mixed up in a controversy resulting in a warrant issued in his name.
Later on he built a bungalow named Parchaiyaan after one of his works and lived here till his death.
The unfulfilled Love of Sahir and Amrita
In 1944, Sahir met Amritaji at a mushaira in the village of Preet Nagar. He was all idealistic and intense. She looked striking in her beauty and words.
It all started as the cliché Bollywood romance story, their eyes met in that dimly lit room, but what followed was anything but conventional.
She was married to Pritam Singh, though the marriage was unhappy.
Their relationship began with courtship of words in letters, she called him “Mera Shayar”,”Mera Mehboob”,”Mera Devta”.
In his book A People’s Poet , Akshay Manwani discloses that Pritamji convinced Sahir to lose his single status, he even once told his mother it was Amrita Pritam that could have been her Bahu.
But Sahir never did really commit himself to her. It was a relationship that had letters, secret meetings and courtships.
Pritamji had fallen headlong into love with Ludhianvi. She even went to the extent of smoking the stubs left after his chain smoking spree to feel the feel of his parted mouth.
In her own Autobiography Rasidi Ticket, she makes no attempts to hide her love for Sahir. He shimmers through and through across her poetry.
But he was not so sure about their love, nonetheless he wrote some striking works where Amrita resonated. Romance was secondary in his life but he always did have a compelling attraction towards her.
He wrote one song “Mehfil se uth jaane waalo” inspired by their unfulfilled love.
Actually this was inspired or brutally brought out of him when he saw Pritam ji with another man Imroz, this artist and poet was a long standing partner of Amrita Pritam and when they visited Sahir in Mumbai in 1964, this utterance poured forth
“Mehfil se uth jaane walo,
Tum logo par kya ilzam
Tum aabad gharo ke vasi
Main awaara aur badnaam.”
The final yet unfinished fallout with Amrita ji occurred when he was captivated by the singer Sudha Malhotra in 1960.
Though he lovedthe idea of falling in love with woman, his reluctance to be openly in love with them was attributed to his childhood with a very dominant forc. His mother who suffered a lot to protect him led him to his obsession with his mother.
The love and regard he had for his mother was boundless. He unable to transfer such affection to any other woman except Amrita.
It was apparent to media outside that they had moved on but an excerpt from his biography says otherwise. A Punjabi composer Jaidev visit Ludhianvi in the 1970s, he saw a really dirty tea cup and asked him to clean it, to which Sahir replied, “Don’t you dare touch it, Amrita drank tea out of it the last time she was here.”
Such was their complicated yet endearing relationship.
It wasn’t a normal happy ending kind of love story, it was taboo considering those times, but it had it’s chastity. Their innocent pure love in it’s silence and letters, despite the unfulfillment of it, and the secrecy which it was wrapped in, still lives on in our minds.
The Last Call
He died on October 25,1980.
He described his legacy as
“Kal aur aayenge nagmon ki
Khilti kaliyan chun-ne wale
Mujhse behtar kehne wale
Tumse behtar sun-ne wale
Kal koi mujhko yaad kare
Kyun koi mujhko yaad kare
Masroof zamana mere liye
Kyun waqt apna barbad kare”