Poetry of Saghar Siddiqui

Photo of Saghar Siddiqui, Urdu poetLife History: Muhammad Akhtar Shah (pseudonym Saghar Siddiqui) was a renowned Urdu poet. In spite of his ruined and homeless lonely life, he remained famous. Saghar is also known as a saint and when he died, he left nothing but a pet dog. reportedly the dog also died just after one year on the same footpath where Saghar had died.

He was born in 1928 in Ambala (British India) to a middle-class family. He was the only child of his parents and spent his early life in Ambala and Saharanpur  (UP, India). He was home tutored and received his early education from Habib Hassan, a family friend. He started writing poetry as a child. He moved to Amritsar in search of work and used to make wooden combs while writing Urdu poetry. For some time he used Nasir Hijazi as his pen name, but later he switched to Saghar Siddiqui.

In 1947, when he was 19, he migrated to Pakistan and settled in Lahore. In those days he recited beautiful ghazals in a melodious voice and became a huge success. He wrote poetry for the film industry and published a literary magazine. The magazine was a critical success but a commercial flop. Disappointed, Saghar shut down the magazine. In his later life, he fell into depression, financially ruined and addicted to drugs.

Saghar stayed in cheap hotels and would pay the rent with meager amounts earned by selling his poems to magazines. Sometimes he would have to sell his poetry to other poets for a few rupees. Some of these poems were re-sold by these people as their own work.

He became disillusioned as he saw corruption and nepotism being rewarded at the expense of genuine talent. In despair, he turned to morphine, buying it from janitors of hospitals in Lahore. As friends and strangers continued to exploit him, he fell further into despair and was soon turned out of hotels and had to live on the street as a beggar. He was often seen along Circular Road of Lahore, and in Anarkali Bazar, Akhbaar Market, Aibak Road, Shah Alami, and around the Data Darbar area.

He would often hold mushairas on the footpaths, in candle light. He continued to write poems, though most of them are lost and unpublished. Despite his shattered life, some of his verses are among the best in Urdu poetry.

On July 19, 1974, he was found dead early in the morning outside a shop near Alfalah building on The Mall, Lahore. He was just 46 years old. He was buried at the Miani Sahib graveyard.

 Saghar Siddqui's grave at Miani Sahib Graveyard, Lahore

Autobiography of Saghar Siddiqui in Ravi Magazine of Govt College, Lahore

Autobiography of Urdu Poet Saghar Siddiqui published in 'Ravi' magazine of Government College Lahore

French writer Julien Columeau writes Urdu novel about Saghar Siddiqui

French writer Julien Columeau's Urdu novel 'Saghar' about Urdu poet Saghar Siddiqui

“Yaad rakhna humari turbat ko….”

Poetry of Saghar Siddiqui - "Yaad rakhna humari turbat ko, Qarz hai tum pay chaar phooloun ka" - Urdu Poetry

“Jiss uhad may lutt jaye faqiroun ki kamaai…..”

Poetry of Saghar Siddiqui - "Jiss uhad may lutt jaye faqiroun ki kamaai" - Urdu Poetry

Related Pages:
Perveen Shakir’s Poetry
Urdu Poetry

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  1. Shahryar Ali Phulpoto (Larkana) says:

    Saghar Siddiqui is perhaps the most fascinating and attractive poet in the world I have ever known of. His poetry is highly soulful and heart-touching. I wonder why he has not been recognized among the most marvellous poets Urdu language has yet been bestowed with.

  2. Saghar Siddiqui ALLAH ke faqeer hain.

  3. Lt col Masood Alam (retd) says:

    A lesson to be learnt, more so by the people who are at the helm of affairs in Pakistan.

  4. Brig (R) Aslam Khan says:

    Solitary intellectuals have always been misfits amongst the large horde of buffoons. God rest Saghar’s soul in peace. Ameen.

  5. Lt Col (R) Ansar Khas, UK says:

    This is Pakistan. The talent is never recognize in Pakistan.

  6. Rafique Ahmed Khan, Dubai says:

    A true tragedy written down so pathetically. Saghar Siddiqui a misfortune personified died horribly but made his words live eternally.
    May God Bless his soul at least.

  7. Shahid Hussain S Saqib Hyderabadi says:

    Indeed Saghar was a saint. In my native place Hyderabad, Sindh, a similar distinguished personality was Qabil Ajmeri who died in early 1940’s (“the Good die Young”). He didn’t even take loan from his friends and did not sell his property to Waderas and Government either.
    May Allah give him the Upper Heaven viz Jannat-ul-Firdous, Aameen!

  8. Hasan Jawaid, USA says:

    Indeed very sad, unfortunately most poets have ended more or less the same way. Ghalib experienced somewhat similar fate and was not much different than Saghar Siddiqui, financially; sold his possessions, borrowed money, and attended nawab’s/raja maharaja’s darbars who pitifully granted him a meager pension that saved him from turning to streets or else he too would have shared the same fate.
    Qazi Nazrul Islam, Ustaad Qamar Jalalvi, and Dilawar Figar are few other names who ended up much the same way.
    Such is the way sub-continent has valued its intellectual assets.

  9. Shaheda Rizvi, Canada says:

    What a marvelous man, a super saint. In his case, it is true, (“the good die young”)–what more could he have done on this earth except, a bit more begging for food, avoiding those who considered him either a thief, drug addict or a homeless beggar.

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