NEW DELHI: A number of priceless handwritten letters, diaries, poems, and black and white photographs of legendary Urdu poet-lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi were found at a scrap shop in Mumbai, news reports said.
Sahir was a legendary 20th century Hindi and Urdu poet-film lyricist who wasn’t afraid to question society and its many ills.
His words are as relevant as they were in 1959, because we still live in an era where communal strife remains an everyday reality, and politicians cynically foment further divisions between Hindus and Muslims to further their political objectives.
NGO bought Collection
Mumbai-based Film Heritage Foundation, an NGO, has bought the collection for just Rs. 3,000. The Foundation has decided to put up the newly found collection on display after necessary conservation steps, it is said.
Plans to Preserve
The Foundation found these items amid a dump of newspapers and magazines at the scrap shop in Mumbai’s Juhu and now plans to preserve and exhibit “the archives”.
“The diaries found have details of his daily routines like where he would be going for song recording and other personal life happenings. Then there are several poems and notes. The notes are related to his publishing house ”Parchaian”,” Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, the founding-director of Film Heritage Foundation, said.
Letters of Prominents
“There are letters addressed to him from prominent people of the time like music composer Ravi, his friend and poet Harbans. Some of the letters are in English, and some in Urdu. Rest all work is in Urdu,” he said.
Sahir Ludhianvi had written songs for the 1957 film Pyaasa, now considered a cult classic. The protagonist played by Guru Dutt in the film too was a poet. The film is said to be largely based on Sahir Ludhianvi’s life.
Photographs in Scrap
In the collection, there are also photographs of Sahir — some individual, some with his sisters and friends and some of his home in Punjab. The foundation’s experts are analyzing the poems and finding out which are the ones that have not got published, he said.
Mr Dungarpur said his foundation had purchased the entire collection of Sahir Ludhianvi’s items for Rs. 3,000, stressing how the invaluable work of the master poet had landed in a quaint scrap shop in a Mumbai by-lane. “The findings are very significant. If these are handwritten notes and letters that increases its value and could be used by researchers,” said Abdur Rasheed, Urdu professor at Jamia Milia Islamia in New Delhi.