1921: Abdul Hayie (later known by his takhallus ‘Sahir Ludhianvi’) is born to a Jagirdar family in Ludhiana, Punjab. He has several step-mothers, but he is the only child of his father who is one big *aiyaash*.
1934: He is in his early teens when his mother takes the bold step of getting away from that man, forfeiting all claims to the financial assets. Dad sues for child-custody and loses. There are threats that he will make sure Sahir does not live with his mother very long, even if that means taking the child’s life. Mom finds friends who keep a close watch on Sahir and don’t let him out of sight. Fear and financial deprivation surround the formative years of this young man who did okay in school.
1939: He goes to college, is popular for his *extra-curricular* talents, falls in love with one of his admirers – the daughter of another rich man of Ludhiana’s bourgeois society. Poverty and lack of the courage to fight another man-like-his-father bring this affair to it’s inevitable sad end, made sadder by the fact that the girl’s father pulls strings to get him expelled from college.
1943: Out of college, and by now having finished writing his first serious work *TalkhiyaaN*, Sahir leaves Ludhiana and goes to Lahore to find a publisher who would take it. He does, after two years of getting shuttled here and there.
1945: *TalkhiyaaN* gets published, and now starts a fairly good period for the Shayar Sahir. He is made the editor of Adab-e-Lateef, Shaahkaar, and later Savera – successful urdu magazines.
1949: Sahir leaves Lahore…basically because he has written stuff in *Savera* that the new Pakistan Govt. decides is too inflammatory, and therefore there is a warrant out for his arrest! He comes to Delhi, leaves Delhi in another few months because, as he tells a friend, *Bombay needs me*! And thus starts a most memorable career for one of Bollywood’s darling poets – a career that spans 31 years and gives Indian films over 200 Golden Greats – songs, ghazals, nazms that will be hummed to, identified with, and *fought over* 🙂 by generations to come!
Sahir is considered a *romantic*: personal romance and the resultant disillusionment, followed by universal romance and the resultant frustration with *the way it is*. He does not mince words, does not sublimate emotions, expresses thoughts clearly and directly. He gets angry and sarcastic, and at the same time he dreams. It is the dreamer in Sahir that gives him his characteristic style: *narm-o-naazuk swar, shabdoN ki sundar taraash-kharaash aur neeNd mein doobaa huaa vaataavaran*:
Based on an article in RMIM (rec.music.indian.misc)on Sahir’s life by Guri