June 18, 2021
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Remembering Sahir Ludhianvi

Remembering Sahir Ludhianvi

Sahir Ludhianvi would have been 88 today. To mark the occasion, instead of any of the very many all-time greatest hits, here's a relatively lesser-known song from Phir Subah Hogi as a tribute. Just take the first verse:

chiin-o-arab hamaara
hindostaaN hamaara
rahne ko ghar nahiiN hai
saara jahaaN hamaara

And now contrast this with the first verse of Mohd Iqbal's Tarana-e-Milli:

chiin-o-arab hamaara
hindostaaN hamaara
muslim haiN hum
vatan hai saara jahaaN hamaara

The ITRANS book quotes an old post on RMIM by bismil@delphi.com:

The real beauty of the first verse is that it turns around Iqbal's arguably communal and national hymn into a cry of of the oppressed and anguished that is neither communal nor chauvinist nor nationalist, but internationalist.

The rest of course also has echoes of Taraana-e-Hind, known to all of us as "saaraa-jahaaN hamaaraa". And to continue with Bismil's post:

ae aab-e-rud-e-gangaa
voh din yaad hai tujhko
utraa tere kinaare
jab kaarwaaN hamaara?

To which the parody goes:

saRkon pe ghuumtaa hai
ab kaarwaaN hamaara

or the final line to "saare jahaan":

"iqbal, koyi mehrum apna nahin jahaan mein,
ma'lum kya kisi ko, dard-e-nihaan hamaara"

Here, of course, it is:

"milti nahin majoori,
ma'lum kya kisi ko dard-e-nihaan hamaara"

or, from Taraana-e-Milli, the line goes:

"ae gulistaan-e-andalus, voh din yaad hai tujh ko
thaa teri daliyon mein jab aashiyaan hamaara?"

contrast that with:

"footpaath bambaii ke hai aashiyaan hamaara"

and you'd know why Sahir is regarded as one of the finest lyricists ever for Hindi films. In some ways, woh subah kabhii to aayegii could perhaps be read as an allusion to Faiz's subah-e-azaadi, but about that some other day.

More on Sahir: Click Here

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