Great progressive and feminist poet Sahir Ludhianvi

Today is the 99th birthday of Sahir Ludhianvi.                                              

 The great progressive and feminist poet born today  99 years ago. There is nothing more relevant than his poem Aurat (Woman) on the occasion of Aurat March.   

  Here we are publishing his beautiful and powerful poem Woman.

 Woman by Sahir Ludhianvi

“People judge a woman merely to be a body!

That she does possess a spirit too is lost on everybody.

What the spirit is, they plainly fail to understand

For them the body’s demand is their every command

The spirit dies leaving the body to be a walking corpse

That they neither understand nor recognise this reality is beyond remorse.

For how many centuries this habit of fear has continued

For how many centuries this custom of sins has endured

People judged every scream of the woman as a song

Whether it be the time of tribes or the practice of the city throng.

The generations continue by force, bodies meet at the point of the sword

This happens among us, but not among the un-knowing birds

We the carriers of civilisation among the human brood

Would that there be any one more barbaric in this neck of the wood?

An extinguished spirit lying within a body’s structure

I think at which place should I let my fate rupture

I am not alive in that I seek death to support my plight

Neither am I dead in that the sorrows of life take flight.

Who will tell me, who should I ask

till when life be set in the groove of wrath, it’s quite a task

Till when the conscience of time not open its eye

That an end to this rule of cruelty and tyranny be well-nigh?”

                  (Courtesy of Raza Naeem)

Today is the birthday of The Great progressive Urdu poet Sahir Ludhianvi. It safely can be said that Sahir was a feminist poet. Sahir wrote several very powerful poems about women. Sahir stands out among Urdu poets as far as feminist poetry is concerned. Sahir was born exactly 10 years after the second International celebrated the first international women’s Day in 1911. Sahir was born in 1921 at Ludhiana, Punjab. 
According to the leading progressive writer-critic and translator Raza Naeem “We can detect traces of his feminism in one of his earliest poems Taj Mahal, which is about how there is a class element to love; the love between working-class lovers can never be equated with that between two privileged members of society, which is based on their class interests. Thus, the monument of Taj Mahal actually becomes a symbol, not of beauty, but of a fake form of love”.
Sahir also wrote two more powerful poems about women.  He denounced prostitution in his poems “Aurat ne janam diya mardon ko; mardon ne use bazaar diya” (Woman gave birth to Man; and Men gave her the marketplace) and “Chakle” (Brothels).
No other poet can hardly more relevant than Sahir Ludhianvi on the International Women’s Day. Sahir exposed the hypocrisy of the society and men towards women. What the women are demanding through the Aurat March and what they are opposing can be found in Sahir’s poetry. He denounced patriarchy in his poems. He expressed the feelings of women chained and shackled with reactionary medieval traditions and customs.
                                                                  Saeeda Mushtaq

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