Sahir Ludhianvi – Making of Dreamer – Freudian Poet of the Indian Cinema


‘Phir Subah Hogi’ (New Morning will be born” is dream which anticipates Birth of New Future from the womb of the darkest Night which has overshadowed the Struggles of the Humanity led by Working Class.  Sahir Ludhianvi, a Poet , Lyricist and Rebellious psychologist by Birth has set an illustration for innumerable Artists, Film makers, Poets  and Revolutionaries. During 1944 to 1980, Sahir Ludhianvi is  known as the most prolific and versatile Leading Revolutionary Lyricist of the Indian Film Industry who molded its Structure and Cultural Face.   He was major contributor in ushering GOLDEN ERA of the Indian Cinema

Sahir, a Charismatic Lyricist who provided Verses to 122 movies and 550 Popular songs for Hindi Films and who kept the Film Industry spell bound with his magical verses, (Visit- who inspired not only the last generation of youth, intellectuals and social activists but exercises similar influence on the present generation of Indian youth and music lovers and listeners. Relevance of his Poetic Verses and the Messages and his Filmography remain un-diminished today, in fact has increased manifolds. Known as Rebel from his Childhood, he is still considered as one of the greatest poet,-lyricist-thinker-activist of the modern India. As a poet of down-trodden, oppressed and exploited humanity he wished to spark fire of revolt into the souls of oppressed laborers and peasants.  SAHIR in Urdu means Magician, awakener and inspirer and was true to his name.

As a Poet & lyricist, Sahir  is also remembered as greatest critique for the institution of religion, which he saw as the most lethal tool of exploitation at the disposal of the Ruling Capitalist Class. Not only did he attack the very basis of religion but questioned the hypocrisy of the priests and the landlords and Religious Fundamentalist. He is well known for his Internationalism and is regarded as Poet who lived far ahead of his time.

He can be termed as Organic Revolutionary Poet of the women and working Masses who inspired them to voice their sufferings. Innumerable professionals, intellectuals, Art Lovers and Psychologists have attempted to discover and investigate the sources and secrets of his historically massive, unparallel and all-round creativity. My interest is focused on Reviewing and exploring such in-depth efforts made by Sahir lovers!  

Sahir’s Traumatic Childhood  And his Authoritarian  Father

A child named,  Abdul Hayee, was born in Ludhiana (8th march 1921) in a Muslim Family. Since his Birth, Abdul Hayee, the child faced immeasurable twists and turn of horrifying nature. Sahir’s father, named Chaudhary Fazal Mohammed was a Muslim Gujar, a rich Feudal Landlord of Sikhewal, and his mother, Sardar Begum was Chaudhary Fazal Mohammed ‘s twelfth  wife but  first child to this illegal wife. Sardar Begum, Sahir’s wife left her abusive tyrannical Husband Fazal Mohammed when Abdul Hayee (Sahir) was barely six months old. When Sardar Begum insisted on official acceptance of her as wife and inheritance. His father rejected it and ill treated her and ruthlessly forced her out to leave.  Sahir who has been witnessing the horrifying treatment of his mother by his father since his childhood, he revolted against his father and accompanied his mother. A psychotic Father—who ill treated  Sahir’s mother turned Sahir in to Life Long Rebel against father, his feudalism and Authoritarianism. Sahir’s rebellion against his father,  laid the foundations for  SAHIR to become  profound Lyricist Psychologist and inspired him to wedge life long battle against oppression of all types.

Sahir, as six months old child and till his growth  as flowering boy aged thirteen and subsequent period experienced his mother’s psychic, mental and physical struggle for years to make two ends meet and up bring her child he assimilated her tortured Psyche at the behest of his tyrant father as his own.  His mother and maternal Uncle took care of the child. Mother and child both had to spend the child hood years under traumatic fear and risk and severe poverty. The confrontation made long lasting unforgettable impact on Sahir’s life. The traumatic events were deeply rooted in his psyche and mental life and which were never erased. These deep wounds and mother’s pains and sorrows he swallowed as his own made deepest impact on child’s Psyche and reverberated in his ‘unconscious’ and became the source of all his subsequent endeavors.

His Poems and Lyrics are mirror images of upheavals in his Unconscious, propping up as Dreams and Nightmares and provide us insights into his psychic Life, who expressed his Dreaming Life and unleashed Dreams for Humanity. However most remarkable thing about his childhood was that he stood up firmly with his mother who was ill-treated by her Despotic Landlord Husband. His revolt against tyrannical father provided him the natural emotional and mental tools to express himself through multiple revolutionary modes.

When he reached the age of going to school, he was admitted in Malwa Khalsa School from where he passed the matriculation examination. At that time, Ludhiana was a vibrant and active center of Urdu. From here, he developed a passion for poetry and on reaching matriculation, he started reciting poetry.

In 1939, after passing the entrance examination from the same school, he entered Government College, Ludhiana and migrated to Pakistan , Karachi in 1939.

Sahir, during his college days had earned himself a reputation as a poet and had throughout his college life, had been an active member, leader and also president of leftist student unions. He regularly used to write for the downtrodden and fearlessly criticized the self-appointed guardians of religion, question the hypocrisy of the priests and the landlords. Sahir was enthusiastic reader of Karl Marx and he retaliated against the Bourgeoisie and landlords and the aristocrats who were rejoicing when the workers and oppressed castes suffered and languished on account of exploitation and misery. The farmers were sinking in debts and women were reeling under the fire of male chauvinism. In mid-1930s, he committed himself to work for the independence of India, opposed imperialism and colonialism in any form.

In 1943, Sahir moved to Lahore. His first Poetic Work ‘Talkhiyaan’(Bitterness) was published in 1845  There, he completed Talkhiyaan (Bitterness) (1945), his first published work in URDU. He was member of All India Students Federation. Sahir edited Urdu magazines such as Adab-e-LateefShahkaarPrithlari,  and Savera[.  He became  member of ‘Progressive Writters Association. however his Revolutionary poem, ‘Avaaz-e-Adam’ (The Voice of Man) which challenged the Military establishment in Pakistan forced him to return to India

The second most important event which impacted Sahir’s life was entry into his life his female class mate, Mahinder Chaudhary. She was daughter of Ram Raj who was leader of the Congress party and participant of struggle against British Rule. She was also against British Rule and was influenced by Sahir’s poetic Verses and  writings. Her influence inspired Sahir to provide poetic expressions to her innermost emotions, feelings and thought processes. But the relationship met with a very tragic end, the all of a sudden death of Mahinder due to tuberculosis, evoked heart breaking disaster, Poignancy and sorrow for Sahir,when he witnessed her body being gobbled by the flames at the cremation ground.  Her death triggered Sahir to unleash, spew and eject  emotions like sorrow, pain in his Lyrics- poems. The tragic end of his First love, was a transforming event for him which made him to articulate multiple emotions in different Poetic Plots throughout his life! Mahinder was the second Female in Sahir’s life subsequent to his Mother, but which provided him the Avenues to Express and sublimate his Instinctual fire! Here he discovered the means to

to inspiring him to new poetic heights   He took the ‘pen name of ‘Sahir’-which has multiple meanings in Urdu, Hindi and even in Marathi, meaning, Beautiful, Magician, Attractive and in Marathi Metaphorically means those who Sing the Verses to represent toiling Underdogs, working classes and emerges as their vocal representative committed to awaken their social consciousness. Ludhianvi originates, off course means Place of Origin or Birth. He was born in a Muslim Family in Karimpura, Ludhiana, Punjab.

Abdul Hayee  struggled throughout his life for ‘self discovery’, self analysis and search for multiple modes of expression to his his anguish, his nascent but churning Unconscious but thought Processes and Imagery. This endeavor enabled him to view the social realities in their historical Perspectives in Day Light.


Sahir Ludhianvi who experienced his mother’s  non bending attitude towards her husband turned him into Rebel against oppression and began echoing it against religious dogmatism, male Patriarchic chauvinism, Feudalism and capitalism.  Iqbal and Faiz are regarded as responsible for influencing Sahir in furthering his activity.

He became member of All India Students Federation. Sahir edited Urdu Magezines-Adab e-Lateel’, Prithlari & Savera and became member of Progressive Association.  In 1949, when he was in Lahore, Sahir Ludhianvi wrote a revolutionary poem, ‘Avaaz-e-Adam’ (The Voice of Man). Its Central Phrase ‘hum bhi dekhenge’ ( We will also see you- Challenge-Tit for Tat) challenged and provoked the Authorities of Pakistan’s Military establishment with consequences and with emphatic assertion that ‘Red Flag will Fly High) was the Blow on the face of Ruling Military and Intelligence Agencies and Authorities in Lahore, Pakistan. By issuing Arrest Warrant, Sahir’s arrest was ordered and Sahir escaped from the Net of Arrest Warrant , and travelled to Delhi in 1949. He was associated with All India Student Federation, the Students wing of Communist Party. After few weeks he moved to Bombay in 1949.


How long will you suppress the voice of man, “We will see as well”

How long will the angry people control their emotions,  we will see as well

If it is going to be this way then this period of time we will see as well

Weather we are jailed or from where we are hanged

Your humiliation in the whole world “we will see as well”

Just wait the pride of kings rubbed in dirt “we will see as well”

Sahir’s Five Stanza Poem the memorable Phrase ‘Hum Bhi Dekhenge’ provided befitting reply to Military Establishment.


Psychoanalyst Khushwant Singh’s Article- Sahir’s tortured soul appeared in ‘THE TRIBUNE” dt 10th January 2004 introduces the readers a few personal events in Sahir’s personal life, like his Parental Upbringing and divorce between his Father and Mother, and recounts his close association and consecutive ‘abortive love affairs’ with three Females Ishar Kaur, Amrita Pritam and Sudha malhotra. Khushwant Sing suspects that most likely reasons for these failures  was linked to his ‘mother-fixation’, saying the” poet-lyricist probably drank himself to impotency”. To support his claims, he refers  to Shamim Ahmed’s  writing in  Pakistani magazine (DAWN) in      . He also speaks about his “strong ‘mother- fixation’ and loathing for his father: the relationship was an example of the Greek Oedipus complex”. However he appeals to readers, It is time someone researched Sahir Ludhianvi’s past life, poetry and his abortive love affairs”. His advise provides us the ‘Clue’ to search further into ‘Oedipus Fixation’ and sources of SXAHIR’s abundant creativity.

After experiencing and witnessing Father’s maltreatment and monstrous behavior with his mother as a Child, he developed deep affection and love for his Mother and dislike and hatred for his Father.  Sahir Ludhianvi too, according to Shamim Ahmad’s Torment and Creativity: A Psychoanalytic Study of Literature and Literati (Ushba Publishing International, Karachi)- ‘abnormal cases’-  identifies Sahir Ludhianvi as victim of ‘Oedipus Complex’. He deeply loved his mother and hated his father: “His life history reveals that he also suffered from gamophobia (fear of marriage) and gynophobia (fear of women in general) which were the result of the complex he was afflicted with.


However in contrast Sahir’s closest and best appreciator, Javed Akhtar does not support him and instead says– “Looking at his social life, nobody could imagine the kind of effect his mother had on him”.  Javed Akhtar identifies Sahir as ‘Paradoxical”). According to Javed Akhtar,  Sahir, “who could admonish ministers, fight with directors, producers, music directors and sought approval of his mother for the smallest things”. He accepts mother’s overwhelming influence on Sahir but refrains from commenting on ‘Oedipus- Mother Fixation’. 

Sahir had a very unhappy childhood. Khushwant Sing continues his enquiry in ‘THE TRIBUNE” reiterates that Sahir developed a ‘strong mother-fixation’ and ‘loathing for his father’: the relationship was an example of the Greek ‘Oedipus complex’, which made him incapable of consummating the few love affairs he had in the short life of 59 years. Khushwant Singh finds Sahir’s infliction with “Oedipus Complex’ reason for his tragic life.

Further ‘Phir Subah Hogi’ is supposed to have been modeled on Dosyovaskyan Plot in “Crime and Punishment”. Phir Subah ayegi, an illustrious Movie represents Sahir’s struggle to articulate through the Musical Compositions and comprehend ‘Psychosis’, is considered to be ‘SAHIR’s”,  search for solution like that of Fyodor Dostoevsky but in fact goes far beyond his Crime & punishment. It is interesting to note that three of the masterpieces of the literature of all time—the Oedipus Rex of Sophocles, Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov—all deal with ‘subject, parricide’. In all three, moreover, the motive for the Crime was sexual rivalry for a woman’. Freud links it to Epilepsy in Dostoevsky’s case. Dostoevsky also deal with dominating power of his father. Dostoevsky himself was the victim of ;Oedipus Complex’ and he portrays his struggle to overcome ‘Oedipus Complex’ in his ‘Notes From the Underground man’.  Hence for Sahir Ludhianvi, who had read Dostoevsky (Reference- Sahir’s could insist  that “Someone who had read ‘Fyodor Dostoevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment” would put (Sahir’s) Lyrics in “Phir Suibah Hogi”. It appears that SAHIR LUDHIANVI was aware of psychical Framework of Dostoevsky’s Plot. It provided Sahir Ludhianvi appropriate circumstances for ‘self Articulation’.

Two major Psychoanalysts Khushwant Sing terms Sahir as victim of ‘Mother Fixation’ and Shamim Ahmad who had studied Freud, Jung and Adler also identifies Sahir with his  Oedipal Mother Fixation’

The Father- Son’s confrontation and deep affinity for his deeply suffering mother formed the ground work, the, corner stone, the Oedipal Situation of his life.


Sahir’s songs are an epitome of youthful romance drenched in sorrow! The characteristic structure and the upsurge, blooming, flowering and outpouring of his poetic verses indicates that he discovered and developed technique of achieving self expression with his own efforts identifiable as ‘Automatism’, in which ‘unconscious thoughts’ processes outpour naturally and manifest themselves along with the embedded conflicts.  His  –poems remind us of Poems of Spanish Poet Pablo Neruda who articulated / created Poems which cohesively brought together Love and despair, Destruction and the beauty of nature  identifiable as ‘Surrealist’.  His Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair  was published Neruda was just 19 years old in 1924 .After settling in Lahore in 1943,  Sahir Ludhianvi’s first collection of poetic verses “Talkhiyan” (Bitterness) was published in 1944, during his college days  and instantly became a sold out .  Surrealism is well known for ushering techniques to allow ‘Free Associations’ in the Unconscious mind’ to express itself in multiple forms.  Sahir Ludhianvi’s poetic verses bring to our notice parallels with Surrealism which spread like wild fire in early nineteenth Century Europe and West by compounding of Marxism and Freudian Techniques. Hence Sahir’s poetry springs up with incomparable Qualities of marvelous Photography and Paintings. Historically such poetry and Art Forms is known as  ‘Psychic Automatism’. The Surrealist technique of process of freeing of mind from Repression  and allowing sublimation and manifestation of of repressed and  instinctual involuntary thought. Processes in the form of Imagery. It is clear that Sahir possessed the Surrealist Techniques of  “relaxation of the watch upon the, gates of Reason, the adoption of an attitude of uncritical self- observation” (Sigmund Freud- Interpretation of Dreams),and also possessed the capacity  for ‘Analysis’ of his own Dreams to  overcome distortions and condensations and Express them in Poetic Forms. His one of the greatest Verses Parchaiyaan (Shadows) is living illustration of such Poetic Form’.  Parchaiyaan was firmly germinated in his mind to the extent that when he constructed his house at Juhu, Mumbai, he named it “Parchaiyaan’ and stayed there till his death in 1980 at his Age 59. Parchaiyaan ‘discloses’ the Origins and outpouring of his thought processes in Paining like imagery along with the ingredient Conflicts and Contradictions. Here SAHIR as an Artist mastered the technique of suppressing the “Conscious control” over the making process, and allowing the unconscious mind to freely unleash it. The Process he calls it “Shadows arise in my imagination “. The process is nothing different than ‘ Surrealist- Psychic Automatism”.Like Dream Formation, it accessing material from the unconscious mind as part of the creative process”.


The Lyrics are representative of his spontaneous struggle and transform the emotionally filled world into most creative enterprise. His father’s attempt to brutally castigate his mother and him could have turned him into ‘New Oedipus’. One can compare it with Freud’s Oedipal dream  However  Search, Freud Sigmund of Indian Cinema.  Like Freud it can be stated that Sahir Ludhiyanvi not only had discovered his ‘Oedipus Complex’ within him  but he also was able to develop the  Herneonotics of Interpretation of his own dreams  If one Reviews even half of Sahir’s Poetic creations one will get convinced that Sahir was Dreamer through and through tgrew. Koyee haseen khwaab bun saken’

                              (Come, let us weave a dream for tomorrow,
Otherwise this Night of the Bitter Present  Will sting the heart and soul in such a way that ,              Heart and Soul will not be able even in a lifetime To weave a dream again

Read more at:  His discovery of the Oedipus complex was at the same time the discovery of a hermeneutic of dreams or, more exactly, the manifest texts of dreams. theory of interpretation, a hermeneutic. His discovery of the Oedipus complex was at the same time the discovery of a hermeneutic of dreams or, more exactly, the manifest texts of dreams. His creative life clearly indicate how he precluded the fate of ‘Oedipus killing his Father’ , the imagery like the Myth must be continuously bursting from his unconscious for resolution of ‘Oedipus Complex” and instead reach out into the life of the people in the form of poetic messages and capture readers and listeners imagination.

The outward expressions of his inner struggle and conflict confirms that he also had discovered the tools to overpower his impending sickness to strengthen his ego, which could stand up to the repressive authority, train his ego and liberate it from the Psychic Repression and portray the social- historical & political conflicts. Revolt against his father he could transformed into Revolt against Zamindari (Feudalism), against Capitalism for resurrection of Humanism grounded into collective mass psychology of the oppressed and exploited!. He could well understood his father’s repression against himself and his mother rooted in Zamindari – Feudal culture.

It is clear from several of his Verses like ‘Parchyayina’, Aao K Koi, Khwaab Bune, and innumerable Verses Point out that their Origins are in Sahir Ludhiyanv’s Night Dreams and Day Dreams.


Sahir Ludhianvi  was a Prolific Dreamer and like a Freudian he was fully engaged in ‘Self Discovery’, through exploration of manifest contents of his own Dreams, Day dreams and Night Dreams and articulation of his deeper psychic turmoil into spheres of public life, to viewers and hence his contributions are Unique and unparallel! Through Poetic Verses he has submitted his own experiences, which are very personal! Psychoanalytic terms it is termed as hermeneutic principle. He appears to have discovered his own ‘Oedipus Complex’ and entire life long he relentlessly struggled to overcome it, conquer it! Hence to me it appears that defining his mental state merely as ‘Oedipus Fixation”, is incorrect since it misses the Dynamics of his creativity and when he in fact attempted to launch lifelong struggle to reach into enslaved ‘ID” or Underground buried Self and its liberation with struggle against Repression, through  his own ‘Self Analysis’. Sahir exhibits immense courage in these articulations Above all, his this hermeneutic principle is historical.


In Parchyainya’ also he appeals- “‘Come, let’s weave a dream for tomorrow, else this night of today’s grave times will sting the soul in such a way that the soul may not again all its life be able to weave a beautiful dream.”.It is not an accident that he refers to his Dreams (KHWAB) so often in innumerable of his verses. He knew the source of his creativity, the source of rebellious urges, which are volcanic springs of his Unconscious which are sublimated into Love and affection for all Mankind.

SAHIR LUDHIANVI’S ‘SELF IDENTITY’, beyond ‘Mother Fixation’ and battle cry against MASS SUFFERINGS”

Now it is time for us to review few of Sahir Ludhiyanvi’s couple of Songs. The first one, “Tu Mere Saath Rahegga Munne” (Trishul- 1958) and “Tu Hindu Banega Na Musalman Banega, Insaan Ki Aulaad Hai Insaan Banega” (Dhool Ka Phool- 1978 ) have  acquired archetypal and Epochal status because they stir up the soul of the listeners and distills rational message for Human beings at large. More importantly both these songs bring to light sufferings and Pains of Mother and Child abandoned by Father. Both replicates Sahir Ludhianvi’s and Mother’s upbringing as human beings. It is clear that Sahir has resurrected his Childhood experiences in both songs and his Mother’s RELENTLESS Struggle.

SAHIR LUDHIANVI’ both the songs do not just indicate ‘MOTHER FIXATION’, but his will to transgress and sublimate his experiences in order to provide Universal humanitarian messages. ‘Tu Munne’ song narrates the Struggle, Pains and Agonies of Mothers. Wahida Rehman walks out of ‘Sanjiv Kumar’s, her unfaithful, dissolute husband’s house. She sings the song while taking strides on the lonely road, with tears rolling down on her face by holding the Infant.  Though saddened and conscious of impending mountain of struggles ahead, she is firm in her determination to raise the child with courage with harshest conditions and till her death . On her Funeral pyre also the song resonates reminding the Child to avenge her tormenting Husband. Sahir clearly weaves his own childhood experience of his mother Sardar Begam.


In Film ‘Dhul ka Phool” pictures a heartening Storey of a child born from illegitimate love/ sexual relationship between Hero Rajendr Kumar and Heroine Mala Sinha. The child left on the roads is discovered by ‘Abdul Chacha’ who takes up the responsibility of child’s upbringing. Abdul Chacha is harassed and relentlessly chased up by neighboring Hindus and Muslims to compel him to disclose Religious identity of the child. Abdul Chacha does not buckle and ensures his upbringing without disclosing his religion identifying Rituals. Abdul Chacha’s pursuit of his endeavor is articulated in this songs which appeals to the child to have Human identity.

कुदरत ने तो हमे, बक्सी थी एक ही धरती
हमने कही भारत, कही ईरान बनाया
जो तोड़ दे हर संग, वो तूफ़ान बनेगा 


The song is an appeal to conscience to refrain from becoming victims of identification of oneself as being Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian and make efforts to become human and not to wedge Wars against each other to become Human Hoards. This poem which gives the message of brotherhood and peace was sung by Mohammed Rafi in the 1959. It is clear that both these Song manifests Sahir Ludhiyanvi;s ‘Self Identity’, unfolding of his own psychic,   mental life at every footstep of the Child’s growth. Springs of his Internationalism also are revealed in it. Most importantly he rises as Rebel against Repression by his Father to rise as storm! However he transforms his Rebellion into Universal voice for World Peace and tranquility!

His other riveting and electrifying verses like “Wo Subah Kabhi To Aayegi” from Drama Film’ ‘Fir Subah Hogi’, with a Rebellious, Revolutionary Message invited huge controversy. This Satirical Film which launched critique of prevalent tyrannical conditions  was close to being banned due to sarcastic Verses and Music by Sahir Ludhianvi. “Chino-Arab Hamara, Hindustan Hamara, Reheneko Ghar Nahi Hai, Sara Jahan Hamara” stirs up the listeners from inside and makes his intellect, heart and body to feel the socio- Historical conflicts and sufferings and leads to their awakening of social consciousness.


Another set of Gazals-“ चीनअरब हमारा, हिन्दोस्ताँ हमारा, रहने को घर नही है, सारा जहाँ हमारा (China-o-Arab is ours, India is ours, there is no home to live in, still we call the whole world is ours))or आसमान पे है खुदा, और ज़मीन पे हम (God is in the sky, and we are on the ground, but God does not have time to spend for us, ’Far better than the Universe and the wotld is Our’ Hindustan, India! However paradoxically there is No place and house to stay and live, and still we proclaim ‘India is ours’!  In this NAZM, in Fir Subah Hogi, Sahir launches sarcastic criticism of perverted Patriotism. All emotionally drenched verses are sung in most gripping style and dialectical contradictions through which these Verses move forward.  The heartfelt contradictions make this Lyrics- Song Unique and mesmerizing.  I was surprised by its rhythm and emotional upsurge it can create in the hearts of the listeners and readers. The pains and agonies of the poorest, those who have lost everything and those exploited are articulated and expressed in the songs. This battle cry against Mass Sufferings prompt me to identify him as Original Hegelian Marxist of Urdu- Hindi Poetry! ,

But he forgets and ignores to work out Sahir’s lifelong struggle  to overcome Mother Fixation’ and sublimation of his instinctual sexual life for creative process and its expressions in multiple forms. His entire life journey stands out as providing verbal expression to his inner struggle for expression and sublimation of sexual instincts into multiple Forms through Poetic surges. His association with Student Federation of India and its  struggles for the awakening of repressed, underdogs, working masses, his struggles against historically inherited Patriarchy and Feminism expressed in poetic, Gagazal verses which impacted Indian Cinema profoundly and which have become unforgettable, his most popular cinema songs intended to overpower and go beyond Religious conflicts, Patriotic wars and voice International Perspectives echo the terrible conditions of the proletariat and downtrodden  and providing Poetic expressions have not been noticed as a process.. He went beyond ‘Crime and poor, jobless has no parallel in Indian History.  This stands as a single Process blooming over years and expressed in different forms. Sahir’s contributions  and his seahPunishment’ and walked on the Freudian- Marxian Path. Outbreak of Psychosis we remember Sahir Ludhianvi, we are reminded of his Endeavour to usher conflict and confrontation through Poetic Verses against, Chauvinism to uphold Internationalism, Fight against deeply rooted Age old Patriarchy to upheld Feminism, with all collective social irrational flare up amongst mass of people who are prepared to carry out lynching’s of members of other communities, we are reminded of Psychoanalyst Paul Ricour who termed this gripping irrational flare up- Mass Psychosis’as “emotional plague. Or Virus! When the economy is in swamp, shambles and social, communal tensions are blooming – when no solution can be even be dreamt of. 

His other riveting and electrifying verses like “Ye Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaye To Kya Hai” and “Jinhein Naaz Hai Hind Par Wo Kahan Hain” (both from Pyaasa ), “Aurat Ne Janam Diya Mardon Ko, Mardon Ne Usey Bazaar Diya” ( Sadhana ) or “Wo Subah Kabhi To Aayegi” and “Chino-Arab Hamara, Hindustan Hamara, Reheneko Ghar Nahi Hai, Sara Jahan Hamara” stirs up the listeners from inside and makes listener’s intellect, heart and body respond through tears. 

In the current circumstances, Sahir’s  words and poetic expressions are far more relevant today for new generation than they were in Sixties since we live in an era where Psychotic communal strife has seen very high level of surge and is threatening to tear apart the last vestiges of Secularism.

Parchhaiyan’–Anxiety Dream-Groundwork of SAHIR’s Creativity.

We have already considered parallels between  Sahir Ludhianvi’s method and technique of Poetic Creations with those of the Surrealists. The Psychic ‘Automatism’ of Surrealism which enabled the rapidly spreading movement led by Andre Breton to combine Freudian and Karl Marx’s methods and create Rebellious Art Form. The techniques enabled both to resurrect Collages and Compound images, by enabling free imagination of producing a creative process by transgressing and freeing from ‘Control of Superego’, from conscious control.. ‘Parchhaaiyaan’ or Shadows remains one of the greatest Poetic Verses of Sahir Ludhiyanvi. Year of its creation is disputed however the Poetic Contents and few sources point out that it must be during 1944-45, in his youth and as aftermath of World War Two. It is considered as his longest Anti- War Poetic creation. It portrays how Shadows arise in my imagination”, which is the  Nightmare of the adolescent!  Nightmares are dreams whose contents are unpleasant or provoke Anxiety and which, depending on their intensity, can awaken the sleeper.

The Verses which discloses the awakening of inner Unconscious Life and the ongoing struggle with Repression in the Form of Images which  – In short The ‘Shadows’ is the versatile concept of ‘Struggle against Past Psychic Repression” and expresses what Surrealist have identified as ‘Automatism”. . It is Dream– of ‘adolescent’ night. The poem verses stands out as force which works against the “Psychic – Repression” in Linguistic Form. It’s manifestation is Anti War, however it represents inner struggled to sublimate and articulate the struggle of the instinctual forces in the Unconscious Psyche’ in the form of his own dreams (KHWAB). He learnt the Art of articulation of his Dreams, Phantasies in Poetic Verses at early age of Twenty Four. The Anxiety provoking events are Wars- Second world War! Born in 1921, the fall out of the world war I & Ii and the perception of Human sufferings have acted as supportive stimulus.

There is a turmoil hidden in the depths of Beautiful Dream of two young romantic lovers when “Lotus buds are blossoming into Flowers” and the turmoil makes its dreadful, horrendous and Frightening appearance when images begin to burst out like storm’ and the beautiful imagery is transformed into dreadful imagery of war at the end of the Verses! The clouds of destruction, spreads across and savages begin to dance”. Sahir repeats at the end of each Stanza, Shadows arise in my imagination” in which the automatism is camouflaged!

Sahir attempts to provide collective expression to the voice of the wounded in War and ‘wounds’ to speak out against the ‘inhuman’ wars, the repression enforced by ‘Military’ establishment. His internationalism speaks for itself when he says, “Let us include the whole world as partner in this mystery”. He messages them, “Let us rise up’ against the war mongers.  This land is the land of Gautam and Nanak. On this sacred soil no savages would be allowed to walk again.


The Poem ends on Anxiety Note reads as follows

During the last war, our homes were burnt,
but this time, don’t be surprised
if our moments of solitude are burnt, too.
During the last war, forms and figures were burnt
but this time, don’t be surprised
if our shadows are burnt, too.

Parchhaaiyaan articulates the horrors of Wars and becomes the unfolding narrative of Struggle and Conflict between two primary instincts, Life -Love and Death, between Eros AND Thanatos, the creative force and destructive instincts. The Poem is deeply rooted and drenched in Sahir’s Childhood psychical experiences of passage from World War one and Two. The Drama that escalates in the Verses has parallel with Freud’s,‘Civilization and Discontent’. . The Poem begins with dream in adolescent night and Like Dreams, Sahir Ludhianvi’s Poems flower from Bottom, of the Unconscious like Clouds but at the same time they are condensation and compounding of Images.

It is regarded that ‘Sahir was a poet of despair, of melancholy’. In contrast to this we can say that he reveals tinge of Depression and Melancholia in few of his Poetic verses. It is Parchainya – the Poetic Verses by Sahir which brings to our perception the Melancholia, the depression in his repetitive sentence:- ‘Shadows rise’  from the depths of the ‘mourning processes” as awakening from ‘Unconscious’.

Who and what casts this shadows is what psychoanalysis asks. The shadow is the Psychic phenomena, a duplication of living person perceivable to the child. Here when Sahir says, Shadows arise in my imagination. He refers to the Tyrannical object perceived by his imagination the The Shadow of the Tyrannical objects ‘arise in my Imagination”.  Doppelgänger is  mysterious, exact double of a living person.  These are the Tyranical appearing imagination sprouts and awakens from the ‘Unconscious’.

In awe of your own shadow, the image emerges.

Shadows arise in the Imagination.You arrive in imagination by evading from the eyes of the world.Your eyesight and vision is downwards and body stolen and hiddenAt the sound of his own steps, trembling, afraid,in awe of your own shadow, the image emerges.
तसव्वुरात की परछाइयाँ उभरती हैं’!, तुम रही हो ज़माने की आँख से बचकर
नज़र झुकाये हुए और बदन चुराए हुए, खुद अपने कदमों की आहट से, झेंपती, डरती,
खुद अपने साये की जुंबिश से खौफ खाए हुए, तसव्वुरात की परछाइयाँ उभरती हैं

In this stanza and repetitive interjections Sahir discloses and uncovers the process of awakening and expression of images buried in the depths of ‘unconscious’ or self’. This is close to ‘Automatism’. Along with the process emerge the Dream Images-‘The Khwab’, In psychoanalytic understanding, Shadow is a dark area where light from a light source is blocked by an ‘Opaque object’. Shadow can be projection or manifestation of ‘repressed in ID. distorted shadows are the blind spots. Sahir was a poet of despair, of melancholy. Most importantly ‘Parchhaiyan’, brings out his capacity to weave together his struggle for ‘Self Liberation from ‘Oedipus’ Fixation and integrate the process with Universal struggles of downtrodden masses and their ‘Urge and in historical role’ for ‘Self liberation. In short the push to integrate pathos of ‘world war two’, sufferings of mass of people at the hands of the oppressors and urge to overcome his ‘Oedipal Fixation’ and thus he emerge as true ‘Freudian Marxist

Exactly in Freudian style in ‘Civilization and its Discontents’, the ‘Repressed Wishes’ or Shades (Parchainya), they wake up to life when they taste- encounter Blood. Through Each stanza the longest Poetic Verses, Parchhaayiaan  evolves  through the dialectical conflict between life and death reaching to defiant peak announcing need to establish World Peace and end to the conflict, Military Bands and military jeeps. Its a rich and complex poem that offers a way of responding to deep despair. Put simply, it encourages people to embrace sadness, not by seeking to end or soften it, but by living within it—that is, by actively acknowledging its presence.

“Jaane Woh Kaise Log they Jinko, Pyar ko Pyar Mila” (Hemant Kumar) “Jinhe Naaz Hai Hind Par, Woh Kahan Hai” and “Yeh Duniya Mil Bhi Jaaye Toh Kya Hai” (Mohd Rafi) are the Complex and rich verses which offer way in which the Poet responds to Melancholia and despair. It offers a poetic and expressive emotional passage to his own deeply embedded despair and to reach out and empathize with those suffering mass of people and offers them solution to embrace sadness ‘within their Psyche.  In psychoanalytic language we can see how through these poems Sahir Ludhiyanve  bravely dealt with Child Hood experienced brutal and unforgettable inhuman behavior of his Feudal Father with within his own Unconscious. Sahir Understood these deeper ‘Unconscious’ unbearable pains and feelings and thoughts which could have acquired or resulted into aggressive, shameful or traumatic expressions.  Instead, in Freudian terms SAHIR verbalizes and sublimates them in poetic Form. He can be identified as ‘Self Therapist”. Parchhaaiyaan’ or Shadows remains is his greatest creation and forms the groundwork of his creativity.

SAHIR’s Feminism


Sahir Ludhianvi is known as the only Feminist Poet- Lyricist and there is no one comparable to him. His Feminism now obviously stems from his childhood in which he helplessly watched his mother’s life in multiple forms, being subjected to ill treatment and sufferings and exploitation. The ‘Inferiority Complex’ which Psychoanalysts have termed as ‘Mother Fixation’ was ‘deepest psychic injury’ he suffered and he struggled to provide her the justice. His youthful days he lashed at his own inferiority complex and expressed in innumerable forms. Hence Feminism was grounded in his Psyche. His Last Film, ‘Insaf Ka Tarazoo’ his last Film in 1980 and which he could not see it’s release deals with the rape of the ‘Outcast’ girl who falls prey to injustice. The brutality of the Defending Lawyer made the entire cine world to weep.

Sahir undoubtedly remains Hindi cinema’s only and truly feminist poet. Sahir preoccupation with gender oppression and emancipation from patriarchic repression. Memory of his Mother who retaliated his Father runs through the body of all his works without exception. Sahir was uncompromising in any of his works and were drenched with Feminism, both in his serious and light songs.



Sahir Ludhianvi can be remembered today not only as ‘Aesthetical Experimentalist’, in Poetry. He never succumbed to the prevalent Poetic Forms nor to traditions. Though greatest Artist of Modern India he never desired to be known as Artist. Through the Art Forms he discovered, which we have identified as close to ‘Surrealist”, he desired to serve as Voice of the Movement, of Downtrodden People, the Working Class. His Poem TAJMAHAL is dedicated as the ‘CANDLE IN THE MEMORY OF THOSE WHO CREATED AND BUILT IT. Symbolically It compounds true love for Humanity and great creative contributions by Working Class.


His dream for ‘Phir Subah Hogi’ (New Morning will be born” is also inspiring message to for innumerable Artists, Film makers, Poets  and Revolutionaries to learn from the past and resurrect People’s movement with determination- ‘HUM BHI DEKHENGE” to be prepared for a struggle to see the Birth of New Future from the womb of the darkest Night which overshadows it.

Anil Pundlik Gokhale is an Engineer by profession. As a non regular writer on political literature I have always been attempting to integrate Psychology and Marxism. I have recently published books ‘Condensation And Condescension In Dreams And History: Essay – From Sigmund Freud To E P Thompson’ by Author House London. Psychoanalysis & A- Historical Story of GENGHIS KHAN, Author House- London.

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