Remembering Sahir

main pal do pal ka shaayar hoon
pal do pal meri kahaani hai
pal do pal meri hasti hai
pal do pal meri jawaani hai


I’m a poet only for a second or two;
My story will be over soon.
My existence is only for a moment or two;
My youth will be over soon.

— translation, modified, from here

Many of the Hindi songs whose lyrics have stayed with me over the years have been penned by Sahir Ludhianvi. Whether it is Kabhi Kabhi, Tabdeer se bigdi hui, Main Zindagi ka Saath, Sahir has explored the depths of love and infinities of life like no other lyricist. He can juxtapose the impeccable beauty of nature with the emotions of a waiting lover in an almost effortless way.

duur vaadi mein duudhiya baadal,
jhuk ke parbat ko pyaar karte hain
dil mein naakaam hasraten lekar,
ham tera intezaar karte hain


in a distant valley, while a milky cloud
leans over to kiss the mountain,
with unfulfilled wishes in my heart,
I wait for you…

There is a certain pain, a very palpable one, in Sahir’s words. Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai…  He was not one to care much about the conventions of the world, or be drawn to its materials. Do you have any Sahir verses that are a favorite of yours?

At some point, would love to dive deeper in to his life and poems, and write more. For now, if you wish to spend 20 minutes for Sahir, highly recommend hearing his story from none other than Javed Akhtar:


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