Kya huaa gar mere yaaro.n kii zubaanein chup hai.n
mere shaahid mere yaaro.n ke siwaa aur bhi hai.n
This beautiful couplet was penned by a poet I encountered at age 14. This is, in my opinion, the best age to encounter a rebel poet, one who is a romantic. Romantic, not in the sense of being in love with someone, but as someone who made his emotions an authentic source of his poetic experience.
Sahir Ludhianvi. He targeted the sanctimonious, the smug and the self-serving. His songs poked fun at the self-righteous, the custodians of faith and culture. He riled against, poverty, injustice and wars. He also wrote absolutely sublime love poems.
Today’s harf is “che” (pronounced “ch-ay” with the “ch’’ as in chatter). The word “chup” means quiet. Sahir says he cares little that his friends are silent, for there are others who will bear witness for him.