Turns out that the renowned Pakistani poet and songwriter, Sahir Ludhianvi, grew up with a mom who divorced Sahir's father when Sahir was 13 in 1934. She forfeited all claims to his assets in doing so. The father then sued for custody, but lost. That didn't stop him. He then threatened to make sure the boy didn't live with his mother long, even if it meant killing the boy. The mom basically set up round-the-clock surveillance to keep the boy safe.
A reminder that even in other cultural settings and time periods, we see that abusers pursue a custody battle as a personal control vendetta, and that killing the child (at least in their own mind) serves the same purpose.
Sahir’s 29th death anniversary observed
Monday, October 26, 2009
By Shahab Ansari
The Subcontinent has observed the 29th death anniversary of renowned poet, intellectual, writer and a revolutionary leader Sahir Ludhianvi on Sunday.
A large number of people and various organizations in Pakistan and India paid tribute to this great man of 20th century who had been predominantly known for his song writing talents for the Bollywood. Sahir is a household name in the literary circles on both sides of the border. The generations of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s are well versed with his revolutionary poetry and songs which have been immortalised by great singers like Late Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mungashkar.
Sahir was born on March 8, 1921 into the wealthy family of a Muslim Gujjar of Abdul Hayee in Ludhiana. Sahir’s parents had a very loose and estranged relationship. In 1934, when he was thirteen years old, his father married for the second time. At that time, his mother decided to take a bold step of leaving her husband, forfeiting all claims to the financial assets. Sahir’s father then sued his mother for child custody but lost. He threatened to make sure Sahir did not live with his mother very long, even if that meant taking the child’s life. Sahir’s mother then found friends who kept a close watch on him and didn’t let him out of sight. Fear and financial deprivation surrounded the formative years of this young man. His parents’ divorce brought him and his mother face to face with poverty and struggle in life.
Sahir graduated from Khalsa High School in Ludhiana. Upon matriculation, he joined the SCD Government College for Boys, Ludhiana, from where he was expelled within a year ‘for sitting in the principal’s lawn with a female classmate’. Amrita Pritam became his most ardent fan in the college days at Government College, Ludhiyana. She has openly acknowledged her love for Sahir in interviews and books. He was quite popular for his ghazals and nazms in the college. However, he was soon expelled from the college (some say it was the work of Amrita Pritam’s father who did not approve of Sahir as a potential match for his daughter because she was a Sikh and Sahir a Muslim and also because Sahir was poor).
In 1943, after being expelled from college, Sahir settled in Lahore. Here, he completed the writing of his first Urdu work, Talkhiyaan (“Bitter Harvest”). He then began searching for a publisher who would publish his work and after two years of search he found a publisher in 1945. After his work was published, he began editing four Urdu magazines, Adab-e-Lateef, Shahkaar, Prithlari and Savera. These magazines became very successful . He then became a member of the Progressive Writer’s Association. However, inflammatory writings (Communist views and ideology) in Savera resulted in the issuing of a warrant for his arrest by the Government of Pakistan. So, somewhere in 1949, Sahir fled from Lahore to Delhi. After a couple of months in Delhi, he moved to and settled in Bombay. A friend of his recalls Sahir telling him “Bombay needs me!”
Sahir lived on the first floor of the main building of an Andheri Outhouse. His famous neighbours included poet Gulzar and Urdu litterateur Krishan Chander. In the 1970s, he constructed Parchaiyaan (“Shadows”), a posh bungalow, and lived there till his death. Journalist, Ali Peter John, who knew the poet personally, says real-estate sharks have been eyeing Sahir’s abode after the death of his sister. His belongings and trophies are in a state of ruin, according to the journalist.
Sahir Ludhianvi made his debut in films by writing lyrics for film Aazadi Ki Raah Par (1949). Sahir worked with many music composers including Ravi, S.D. Burman, Roshan and Khayyam, and had left behind many unforgettable songs for fans of the Indian film industry and its music. Pyaasa marked an end to his successful partnership with S.D. Burman over what is reported to be S.D. Burman’s displeasure at Sahir receiving more admiration (and thus credit for the success) from audiences for the words of the lyrics than S.D. Burman did for his memorable tunes . Later, Sahir Ludhianvi teamed up with composer Datta Naik in several films. Datta, a Goan, was a great admirer of Sahir’s revolutionary poetry. They had already worked together to produce the music for Milaap (1955). Sahir wrote many unforgettable gems for Datta. In 1958, Sahir wrote the lyrics for Ramesh Saigal’s film Phir Subah Hogi, which was based on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment. The male lead was Raj Kapoor and it was presumed that Shankar-Jaikishan would be the music composer. However, Sahir insisted that only someone who had read the novel could provide the right score. Thus, Khayyam ended up as the music composer for the film and the song Woh Subah Kabhi Toh Aayegi with minimal background music remained an all-time hit. Khayyam went on to work with Sahir in many films including Kabhie Kabhie and Trishul.