Mehfil-e-Sahir | Celebrating 100 years of Sahir Ludhianvi: Kausar Munir reads 'Yeh Ishq Ishq Hai'

For his birth centennial, we're presenting Sahir Ludhianvi's words in the voice of contemporary lyricists. Here, Kausar Munir discusses how every poetry lover must internalise this song in order to learn and appreciate the art and craft behind it.

FP Staff January 01, 2021 10:56:53 IST
Mehfil-e-Sahir | Celebrating 100 years of Sahir Ludhianvi: Kausar Munir reads 'Yeh Ishq Ishq Hai'

ना तो कारवाँ की तलाश है, ना तो हमसफ़र की तलाश है
Na to karwaan ki talaash hai, na to humsafar ki talaash hai

मेरे शौक़-ए-खाना खराब को, तेरी रहगुज़र की तलाश है
Mere shauk-e-khana kharaab ko, teri rehguzar ki talaash hai

*

मेरे नामुराद जुनून का है इलाज कोई तो मौत है
Mere namurad junoon ka hai ilaaj koi to maut hai

जो दवा के नाम पे ज़हर दे उसी चारागर की तलाश है
Jo dawa ke naam pe zehar de usi chaaragar ki talaash hai

*

तेरा इश्क़ है मेरी आरज़ू, तेरा इश्क़ है मेरी आबरू
Tera ishq hai meri aarzoo, tera ishq hai meri aabroo

दिल इश्क़ जिस्म इश्क़ है और जान इश्क़ है
Dil ishq jism ishq hai aur jaan ishq hai

ईमान की जो पूछो तो ईमान इश्क़ है
Imaan ki jo poochho to imaan ishq hai

तेरा इश्क़ है मेरी आरज़ू, तेरा इश्क़ है मेरी आबरू
Tera ishq hai meri aarzoo, tera ishq hai meri aabroo

तेरा इश्क़ मैं कैसे छोड़ दूँ, मेरी उम्र भर की तलाश है
Tera ishq main kaise chhod doon, meri umr bhar ki talaash hai

इश्क़ इश्क़ तेरा इश्क़ इश्क़...
Ishq ishq tera ishq ishq...

ये इश्क़ इश्क़ है इश्क़ इश्क़, ये इश्क़ इश्क़ है इश्क़ इश्क़
Ye ishq ishq hai ishq ishq, ye ishq ishq hai ishq ishq

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“What is the secret behind Sahir Ludhianvi’s everlasting appeal?” Surinder Deol asks in an essay for Firstpost, examining the poet-lyricist’s life and legacy in the year of his 100th birth anniversary.

Mehfil-e-Sahir is Firstpost's ode to Ludhianvi, a collection of video tributes by seven leading Hindi film lyricists — from Varun Grover to Kausar Munir, Irshad Kamil, Shellee, Raj Shekhar, Mayur Puri and Hussain Haidry.

Each of these lyricists has picked the verses that speak most to them, explaining why Sahir's words resonate even three decades after his death.

Sahir Ludhianvi was born on 8 March 1921, in Ludhiana. His poetry and film lyrics from the 1940s onwards made him wildly popular, and earned him titles such as "the people’s poet” and “bard of the underdog”.

“Today we are witnessing new threats to democracy and secularism... In this context, Sahir's voice is essential,” Deol notes in his Firstpost essay. “The values he championed are here to stay for the better part of this century.”

View the complete Mehfil-e-Sahir series here.

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Kausar Munir reads: 'Yeh Ishq Ishq Hai' (Barsaat Ki Raat, 1960)

Often considered one of the longest qawwalis (approximately 12 minutes) recorded for a film, 'Na To Karwaan Ki Talaash Hai' / 'Ye Ishq Ishq Hai' is a "masterpiece" and a real tough act to follow — be in terms of the stellar music arrangement by Roshan; the vocals by Manna De, Mohd Rafi, Asha Bhosle, Sudha Malhotra and Shiv Dayal Batish, and of course the path-breaking lyrics by Ludhianvi. Legend has it that this song from the Bharat Bhushan-Madhubala-starrer Barsaat Ki Raat took nearly 24 hours to record and became a milestone for the representation of the qawwali form in popular Hindi music.

Kausar Munir believes 'Ye Ishq Ishq Hai' isn't just a qawwali but is a work of art spread across a wide horizon. "The song starts with the traditional Urdu shayari and then meanders through the hills and streams and fields and rivers of India. It paints a vivid picture of the syncretic culture of our country, of its ganga-jamuni tehzeeb," says Munir.

This allegorical musical gem has references to Sufi poetry; Radha and Krishna's love in braj bhasha; the devotion of Meerabai; mention of Musa (Moses) and Kohetoor (Mount Sinai), and even one interlude that pays a tribute to the immortal romances in the fields of Punjab. With this song, "Sahir Ludhianvi masterfully presents a comprehensive definition of ishq (love) and at the same time paints a cultural poetic history of India," Munir adds further stressing how every poetry lover must internalise this song in order to learn and appreciate the art and craft behind it.

Editorial support, text and coordination by Suryasarathi Bhattacharya | Video edited by Akshay Jadhav | Art by Satwik Gade

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