august 2013 programmes




'Monthly Monologue: Why it Speaks to Me?'

Urdu, the language of Delhi (Zaban-e- Dehli) had its origins in the Sultanate period of the 13th century and its magnificent flowering in the courts of the Mughals in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Known at different as Dehlavi, Hindavi, Rekhta, Hindi and finally Urdu it produced the cultural high point in Literature, Music and Poetry of the Mughal Empire including the cultured elites of Delhi, Hyderabad, Rampur, Bhopal and hundreds of cities in the Deccan and the Punjab. 

Trade between the Arabs, Turks, Afghans, Persians and the local merchants speaking Punjabi, Khadi Boli, Sindhi and other local languages  at the large sarai’s (inns)  resulted in the birth of a new language, a fusion of the languages of Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. The Ghazal, the Qawali and the masnavi became the language of music and poetry with the likes of Meer, Ghalib, Momin and Zauq but Urdu also became the language of rebellion against British rule and the demand for freedom and the creation of a just society with authors like Iqbal, Josh, Firaq and Manto.

Hindustani Awaaz, in collaboration with The Attic, presents a monthly series of monologues: Poetry, literature, short stories, plays, essays, nazms, ghazals. A series of eclectic speakers will present/sing/recite their favourite Urdu text and explain why the text ‘speaks’ to them the way it does. We hope this series will highlight a neglected aspect of the Delhi cultural scene.



thursday 29th august

6.30 pm

‘ये दुनिया अगर मिल भी जाए तो क्या है’- Sahir Ludhianvi Why he speaks to me  - a talk by Pervaiz Alam



                                                                                                                         Born Abdul Hayee, Sahir Ludhianvi was an urdu poet and Hindi Lyricist associated with Faiz like poetry and some of the best Bollywood film songs of his generation.


He was born in Ludhiana in 1921 and did his schooling and college from there.His mother left his father when he was 13 and from an early age he faced poverty and struggle.After being expelled from college in Ludhiana (for sitting in the lawn with a female companion)he settled down in Lahore in 1943 and completed his first urdu work, Talkhiyaan (Bitterness). He joint The Progressive Writers Association but his inflamatory, communist views resulted in an arrest warrant by the Government of Pakistan. He fled to Delhi, then Bombay in 1949 where he lived and worked till the end of his life in 1980.

In spite of his passionate love affairs with Amrita Pritam and later actress Sudha Malhotra he remained a bachelor.

 He gained his first success with Naujawaan  lilting song " ठंडी हवाएँ लहराके आएँ...," composed by S.D. Burman. He became part of the Guru Dutt  team with hits in films like Baazi and specially Pyaasa which contains some of his most outstanding lyrics. From his debut production, producer B.R.Chopra and later Yash Chopra used Sahir as their lyricist for almost all their films, sometimes with different music directors.


He was given two filmfare awards Taj Mahal (1963) and the song Kabhie Kabhie (1976). In 1971 he was awarded the Padma Shri and on March 8 2013 his birth anniversary a commemorative postage stamp was released in his honour by the President of India.


He brought a new sensitivity to Urdu poetry. unable to praise Khuda (God), Husn (Beauty) or Jaam (Wine), his pen was, at its best, pouring out bitter but sensitive lyrics over the declining values of society, the senselessness of war and politics, and the domination of consumerism over love. His love songs were tinged with sorrow. He was the underdog's bard; close to his heart were the farmer crushed by debt, the soldier gone to fight someone else's war, the woman forced to sell her body, the youth frustrated by unemployment, the family living on the street and other victims of society.


 Pervaiz Alam, is a Professor and Dean at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Apeejay Stya University. He started his career with All India Radio Delhi. He, then decided to join the  BBC as a broadcaster in London for more than 20 years, in various departments including the Hindi Service and BBC World. Recently, he directed and produced a BBC Radio Drama Series of 156 episodes, Life Gulmohar Style, on womens related issues.


His current interests range from the presentation of stage and television programmes on Urdu literature and poets, to theatre and music, to hard news and current affairs.