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Melodious tribute to rebel poet Sahir Ludhianvi in Atlanta

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA, November 18, 2022: No pal do pal ka shayar, Sahir Ludhianvi’s lyrical journey has lasted way beyond his years. Celebrating his contribution towards Urdu and Hindi literature, Sahir, The Rebel Poet – A life is Poetry, presented by Global Entertainment and Media Services, and produced by Niche entertainment, paid a fitting tribute to the soulful melodies penned by the gifted lyricist on November 4, 2022 at Berkmar High School. With soul-stirring renditions of his classics seamlessly amalgamated with an impassioned narrative sprinkled with shayari, this concert hit all the high notes, setting the houseful audience on a journey of the glorious yesteryears. Hon. Consul General of India, Dr. Swati Kulkarni graced the event.

Highly popular for his thematic musical presentations, Director Milind Oak was in his element, creating the perfect milieu for a musical delight with passionate aptly modulated narration by Nachiket Devasthali and a fine ensemble of singers including Jitendra Abhyankar, Rasika Ganoo, Dhawal Chandwadkar and Neha Varma accompanied by  Kedar Paranjape and Darshana Jog on the Keyboard, Vikram Bhat on Tabla, Vishal Thelkar playing the Guitar, Nilesh Deshpande, the Flute and Ajay Atre on Octapad, Western Rhythm, and Dholak.

The flawless rendition of ‘Allah tero naam’ by the team was a perfect homage to the treasure trove of his timeless nazms and writing, which, beyond the usual romance, reflected his patriotism and empathy. His unmatched pitch for an egalitarian society, where not the religions but humanity was respected above all, were echoed in his lines such as ‘Quran na ho jisme wo mandir nahi tera, Geeta na ho jisme wo haram nahi tera….‘Kaabe mein raho ya Kaashi mein, nisbat to ussi ki zaat se hai, Tum Ram kaho ya Rahim kaho, matlab to ussi ki baat se hai’ ; ‘Ishwar allah tere naam, sabko sanmanti de bhagwan, saara jagat teri santaan.. koi neech na koi mahaan… janam ka koi mol nahi… karam se hai sabki pehchaan..’

The soulful rendition of the melancholic ‘Jaane woh kaise log the jinke pyaar ko pyaar mila,’ brought tears to the listener. The narrative also focused on his writings that delved deep into harsh realities of life, be it the temporary nature of human life, happiness, fame, and wealth. Another recurrent theme was his appeal to remain humble and respectful of time.. ‘Aadmi ko chahiye waqt se dar kar rahe, Kaun jaane kis ghadi waqt ka badle mizaj’ (Man should be fearful of time – For who knows when time’s temperament will change)

Never a dull moment in the over three-hour concert, the audience engaged with excitement and enthusiasm, and in complete awe of the musicians and plenty of admiration and love to Mustafa Ajmeri and Kishan Goyal for bringing the concert to Atlanta.

“At the November 4 event, the music flowed like Ganga , Jamuna, Saraswathi, Godavari and Kaveri. Oh my! The selections at Bekmar was excellent- I saw a paraplegic dancing in her wheelchair at the auditorium. Elderly gentleman danced on the floor for hours!,” Dr Jagan, among the audience said. “A kindred spirit Mustafa bhai excelled here. We thank him for his efforts and the concert was a roaring success. The four singers and the 6 accompaniments reached skywards in music rendition. What a concert !! We will always remember this concert. We will remember you Mustafa bhai,” he added with compliments from his family Radhika. Dhawal and Neha.

“We were lifted into sky by all y’all sound of music. My heart warmed up and my soul soared high on that night Nov 4 th night -that is true Diwali night . Thank you!,” JRD N Cora Bhai said.

Dr. Jagan expressed his joy in a shayari –
Char sitharon ka Zamin par hein Milan aaj ki rath ( November 4 ki dhin)
Sou Bharat Ke zindagi mein achey hein Char din woh sangeet Sammelan ki din!!
Wa wa Jana Bhi walon! Kya haal chaal hein?
Abhi Abhi Dhil Bhara nahin
Abhi kuch kaha nahin Abhi kuch suna nahin!!!
Wa wa. Sangeet ki Raj Avon and Maha raniyon. Aap ki swagath. Aur swagathem karthey huvey. Ijasa chahthey hein Ji Haan Ji bhi Haan

As the group rendered ‘Ude jab jab Zulfe teri’, the audience broke into a frenzy, with organizer Ajmeri inviting folks to join him on the floor. A FB live garnered many comments from fans unable to attend.

Film lyricists, the creative minds that actually form the base of good music, often remain in the shadows. Very few have managed to rise up to the ranks of music directors and be recognized for their work, such as Shailendra and Sahir Ludhianvi. What sets them apart? It was perhaps their unadulterated presentation of truth that compelled the listener/reader to reflect, accept, and maybe even act upon.

Amongst many others, his “Main tujhe raham ke saaye mein na palne doongi/ Zindagaani ki kadi dhoop mein jalney doongi/ Taaki tap-tap ke tu faulad baney/ Maa ki aulad baney” speaks volumes about his unconventional view of a mother’s duty – which is traditionally believed to offer shelter to her young son. Instead, the mother in Ludhianvi’s lyrics tells her son that instead of offering the cool shade of mercy, she would rather let him be in the harsh sunlight of life so he can turn into steel.

Born Abdul Hayee 8 March 1921 to a decadent zamindar, Ludhianvi’s mother Sardar Begum was the eleventh wife out of twelve. His father’s dissolute ways combined with ill -treatment, forced her to leave her husband.  These bitter memories of legal battles that followed remained etched in him and reflected in his lyrics – “Dunia ne tajurbaat -o- havaadis ke shakl mein, Jo kuch mujhe diya hai, lauta raha hoon main”

Sahir completed his schooling from Khalsa High School in Ludhiana, and lived with his mother and maternal uncle after his parents separated. He studied at SCD Government College, Ludhiana, in arts stream. In 1943, Ludhianvi settled in Lahore where he completed Talkhiyaan (Bitterness) (1945), his first published work in Urdu. His controversial statements resulted in a warrant for his arrest by Pakistan Government. Post partition, Ludhianvi fled from Lahore to Delhi and eventually settled in Mumbai. He made his debut with four songs performed in the film Azadi Ki Raah Par (1949). Ludhianvi gained recognition with Naujawan (1951 film), with music by S.D. Burman. Sahir’s major success was Baazi (1951). He also worked with several popular musicians including Ravi, Roshan, Khayyam and Datta Naik, Laxmikant–Pyarelal & Khayyam, among others. From about 1950 until his death, Sahir collaborated with Baldev Raj Chopra, a film producer and director. Sahir’s last work for Chopra was for Insaaf Ka Tarazu. Yash Chopra, both while directing for B.R.films, and later as an independent director and producer, also engaged Sahir as the lyricist for his films, till Sahir’s death. On Oct 25, 1980, at the age of fifty-nine, Sahir died of a sudden cardiac death.

Sahir was a controversial figure in that he was artistically temperamental. He insisted that the film score should be composed for his lyrics and not the other way around.

His work influenced Indian cinema, in particular Bollywood films. Sahir won a Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist for Taj Mahal (1963). He won a second Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist for his work in Kabhie Kabhie (1976). He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1971.On 8 March 2013, the ninety-second anniversary of Sahir’s birth, a commemorative stamp was issued in his honor

Organizers Mustafa Ajmeri and Krishan Goyal invited sponsors and supporters on stage and honored with flowers bouquets to Tarang Sassani of Atlanta Pallet Rack (APR) (A manufacturer & nationwide distributor of pallet racks, cantilever racks, material handling equipment & related products. APR has the largest inventory of new and used warehouse racks and structural cantilever rack in the country.), Walia Hospitality Group – Ricky Walia, Rina Gupta, 27 Investments, Shiv Aggarwal — Global Mall & Legacy Jewels, Poonam Datta Seva Adult Day Care and Seva Home care, Kalpesh Patel SWAD & Raja foods, Chetan Jumani -Manage My Taxes Inc, S&N Team Atlanta – Surabhi Nitin Arora with special thanks to Members of Seva Bangla Library and Dhoop Chhav who helped to promote and buying group tickets. Program could not possible without supporters like Swetha Pakala, Anwar Ajmeri, Nimesh Sevak, Sanjay Pandya, Sharad Patel, Rohitbhai and Nimaben Patel, Ajmeri said. He also thanked Dr. Kulkarni who graced the occasion as a fan of Sahir Ludhyanvi songs and stayed through the night enjoying the program and appreciating singers, musicians and organizers.

Sahir often observed life from a different perspective, thought on a tangent, and made one introspect and marvel at his novel way of viewing things. Rendering perfect justice to the rebellious poet, Niche Entertainment group highlighted all aspects of his life that culminated to a glorious peak of success and recognition very few lyricists in the industry enjoy. The audience responded with equal enthusiasm, thanks to the vivacious energy of hosts Mustafa Ajmeri and Kishan Goyal and despite the three hour affair, left them yearning for more… Abhi Na Jao Chhod Kar…Ke dil abhi bhara nahin…


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