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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sahir Ludhianvi : The Poet of Musical Words that whet Appetite…(Part - II)

Here we pay our tribute to Sahir Ludhianvi, the Urdu poet and lyricist, who said, “Ashkon mein jo paya hai, woh geeton me diya hai” (what I got in tears, gave it back in songs), on his 96th birthday: March 8.


As we move on to his next phase of lyrics writing, we, of course, tumble upon Pyaasa (1957), the film made by Guru Dutt for which he wrote all the 9 songs—where that Sahir-SD Burman combination reached its zenith making the songs the very vibe and verve of the movie—a movie that was included in the list of 100 most influential films by the Time magazine. Every song of this film is a gem by itself, and their beauty is that they carry forward the plot as though songs were in a poetic dialog with the protagonist’s spoken words.
Look at the wisdom of words that Sahir put in the mouth of the protagonist—a poet, who being abandoned by the heroine in favor of a wealthy man, and having he got an opportunity to air his tragedy, drawls his dejected and worn-out heart thus: “Jaane woh kaise log the jinke pyaar ko pyaar mila (I wonder what kind of people are they who find their love reciprocated) / Humne to jab kaliyaa maangii kaanton kaa haar milaa (Whenever I asked for flowers, I received a garland of thorns) / Khushiyon ki manzil dhoondi to gham ki gard mili (I searched for a destination of joy, but I found a circle of sadness) / Chaahat ke naghme chaahe to aahen sard mili (I desired tales of love, but I received only the coldness of sighs). He goes on to air the inevitable frustration that a love turned tragic inflicts: “Bichhad gayaa har saathi dekar pal do pal kaa saath (Every companion gave me a few moments of company, and left) / Kisko fursat hai jo thaame deewanon ka haath (After all, who has the free time to hold a crazy man’s hand?) / Humko apnaa saayaa tak aksar bezaar milaa (Even my own shadow is often weary of me).”
There is yet another heart-wrenching song in this very film that depicts his sorrow at the falling social values, growing materialism and the indifference of independent-India towards the marginalized gender by making the protagonist of the film, Guru Dutt, ponder thus while walking down a red light street: “Yeh kooche yeh neelam-ghar dilkashi ke (These lanes, these houses of auctioned pleasure) / Ye lutte hue karvaan zindagi ke (These ravaged caravans of life) / Kahan hai kahan hai muhafiz khudi ke (Where are the guardians of dignity?) Jinhe naaz hai hind par wo kahan hai (Where are they who claim to be proud of India?). Continuing with his utter frustration thus, “yahaan peer bhi aa chuke hain jawaan bhi (The aged comes here, also the young) / tanomand bete bhi, ha ha abbaa miyaan bhi (also the lusty sons, even their father!) / ye biwi bhi hai ye biwi bhi hai aur behan bhi hai maa bhi (These are the wives too as well as sisters and even mothers) …” the poet commands: “zaraa mulk ke rahbaron ko bulaao (just send for the guides of the nation) / ye kooche ye galiyaan ye manzhar dikhaao (show them these alleys, these lanes and the view)” and staring straight into the faces of the so- called self-appointed guardians of the society and the religion, questions: “kahaan hain, kahaan hain, kahaan hain (Where, O where are they?) / jinhe naaz hai Hind par wo kahaan hain? (Where are they who claim to be proud of India?).”


I find it very difficult to move away from Pyaasa without talking about the musical climax of the picture and the haunting lyrics of the last song in which Sahir perhaps, enjoyed enough opportunity to express his bitter, cynical feelings about a world that is ruled by bizarre wealth and lust thus: “Ye mehlon ye takhton ye tajon ki duniya (this world of palaces, thrones, and crowns), ye insaan ke dushman samaajon ki duniya (this world of societies that resent humanity), ye daulat ke bhooke riwaajon ki duniya (this world of those hungry for material wealth) / ye duniya agar mil bhi jaae to kya hai ... (What it is to me even if I can have it).” As the song nears the end, even the composer, as though exhorted by the lyrics, made the singer to raise his voice while singing—“Jala do ise phoonk daalo yeh duniya (burn this world, set it on fire), mere saamne se hata lo ye duniya (Remove this world from my sight), Tumhari hai tum hi sambalo ye duniya (This world is yours, you take care of it),Ye duniya agar mil bhi jae to kya hai…”—which indeed heightened the listeners’ emotions too and the result is: everyone glued to the poet. It is the unrequited love of Sahir and his disenchantment with the world that reflects in these lyrics, and obviously, it is the felt experiences that gave such a fort to these songs. And the music of Burmanda and the mesmerizing voices of Hemant Kumar and Rafi simply made them a dear delight to listen.
Lyrics of Sahir, a poet known for his leanings towards Marxist ideology, obviously portrayed profound ideological link to Marxism. It is this ideology that perhaps enabled him to not only perceive the trauma of the subaltern but also narrate their persecution so vividly as in this song: “Aurat ne janam diya mardon ko / Mardon ne use bazaar diya (Woman gave birth to men / And men gave her the marketplace)” from film, Sadhana (1958). The portrait he has drawn of a woman 50 years back—“Tulti hai kahin dinaaron mein (She is weighed somewhere in dinars) / Bikti hai kahin bazaaron mein (And sold somewhere in bazaars)/ Nangi nachvaayi jaati hai (She is made to dance naked) / Ayyashon ke darbaaron mein (In the courts of the debauched) /… / Sansar ki har ek besharmi (Every disgrace in this world) / Gurbat ki god mein palti hai (Is nurtured in the lap of hardship) / Chaklon hi mein aakar rukti hai (inevitably ends up at brothel) / Faaqon se jo raah nikalti hai (The path that begins in hunger) / Mardon ki hawas hai jo aksar (It is often the lust of men) / Aurat ke paap mein dhalti hai (That takes shape in the sin of women)”—is so heart-wrenching to stay up with its listening. And ironically, did anything of it changed in even today’s India?
Taking forward his social consciousness, Sahir, looking at the growing menace of religious-hegemony and perhaps, its ill-effects on society, he penned another gem of a song for the film, Dhool Ka Phool (1959), which is an eye-opener to every Indian: “Tu hindu banega na Musalaman banegaa (Neither you will become Hindu nor Muslim) / Insaan ki aulad hai / Insaan banega (you are the child of man, you will only become a human being).” His anguish at the hatred being spread under the name of religion well reflects when this atheist says: “ye deen ke tajar ye watan bechne waale (These traders of religion and sellers of nation) / insaano ki laashon ke kafan bechne waale (these sellers of shroud off of the corpses) / ye mehel mein baithe hue qaatil ye lootere (these murderers and thieves sitting in the palaces) / / tu in ke liye maut ka elaan banega (you will become their death kneel) / insaan ki aulaad hai, insaan banega.”


That is Sahir’s faith in humanism and secularism! In fact, this spirit of Sahir shines better in another song from the film, Chitralekha  (1964), where he questions the ‘sin-virtue’ concept being pushed forward by the evangelists of organized religion: “sansaar se bhaage phirte ho, bhagvaan ko tum kyaa paaoge? (As you flee from society, how will you find God?).” Incidentally, Sahir, the poet steeped in chaste Urdu, for the first time wrote in pure Hindi to enable a haughty courtesan, who of course, later turns into a humble ascetic challenge a holy man: “ye paap hai kyaa, ye punya hai kyaa? riiton par dharm kii mohare hai (What is sin and what is virtue? Religion uses such traditions as mere facades) / har yug mein badalte dharmon ko kaise aadarsh banaaoge? (How will you idealize the changing religion of every age?)”. And going a step further, as the Vesya cooing, “yeh bhog bhii ek tapsaya hai, tum tyaag ke maare kyaa jaano? (this pleasure too, a penance; what you know about renunciation?)” challenges the holy man uttering: “apaman rachetaa kaa hogaa, rachnaa ko agar thukraaoge (it will be an insult to the creator himself, if you reject the act of creation)”one wonders if Sahir is advocating a philosophy of universal hedonism! Aside of these judgments, his lyrics indeed raise certain questions that call for not only mere listening but also pondering over …..
To be Cont.…. 

Acknowledgements: thanks for the videos to ; ;  


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