Of the two famous Ludhianvis, Sahir Ludhianvi and Maulana Mohammad Ahmed Ludhianvi, it had to be our luck to get not Sahir the poet who wrote those immortal film songs – in that genre no one has bettered him – but Ahmed the firebrand guide to the shortest road to salvation and the broad fields of heaven.
The mosaic of Pakistani religious extremism – our very own contribution to the march of civilisation – would not be complete without the Sipah-e-Sahaba or, after its pro forma ban, its later incarnation, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, and the person heading it is Maulana Ludhianvi, his forbears from Ludhiana, in Indian Punjab, but our respected savant and leader himself now a fixture of the Pakistani landscape.
Sahir and his mother, fleeing the tyranny of Sahir’s father who had married more than once, had sought refuge in Lahore before Partition but Sahir couldn’t get along here and in 1949, if I remember correctly, left for India, to settle eventually in Bombay where he started writing those unforgettable songs. And we were left with the likes of Maulana Ludhianvi.
The Lahore of Faiz, of Munir Niazi, of Sufi Tabassum and Habib Jalib, of Noor Jahan and the likes of Ustad Amanat Ali Khan – I am forgetting Ustad Daman and so many others – the Mall which resounded to such slogans as the ‘East is Red’ and student rallies were taken out, believe it or not, in memory of Patrice Lumumba, that Lahore now dominated by a different kind of fervour, represented most strikingly by the warriors of the Defence of Pakistan Council and Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi.