BiographiesSalamUrdu Special

Majrooh Sultanpuri

Asrar ul Hasan Khan (Majrooh’s real name) was born in Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh in India in 1919. After an education in Urdu, Persian and Arabic, he formally studied the Unani system of medicine and graduated in 1938 as a ‘hakim’.

He practised medicine for a year before he started his career as a full-time poet. His mentor, or ‘ustad’was Jigar Moradabadi. In 1945, he wrote his first film song “Gam diye mushtaqil…”, which was sung by K.L.Saigal and catapulted him to the forefront of film lyricists, a career which spanned more than five decades. His contributions to films and to the world of Urdu poetry were recognized and rewarded with the Dadasahib Phalke award (1994) and the Iqbal Sammaan (1993) respectively.

Majrooh Sultanpuri was among the foremost poets of modern progressive poetry. He believed that no great art was possible without social content. Ali Sardar Jafri in his foreword for Majrooh’s book “Never Mind Your Chains” calls him “younger brother in poetry and struggle”. Majrooh was not always pleased with the association of his poetry with his film work. However, this was more a reaction to society’s hypocritical attitude of looking down on anything connected with the film world, than with any basis in fact.

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