Alvida dhadkanon ko jab kehna, jab khuda ko teri zaroorat ho.
Words came easy to the renowned poet, lyricist and recipient of the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Punjab Ratan, and Millennium Peace Award, Dr Sardar Anjum, who passed away after battling diabetes, kidney and heart problems here on Thursday. He was 72.
In and out of hospital for the last many months, Anjum had suffered a heart attack and required immediate surgery on his foot, which had been affected by diabetes.
His body may have been weakened by the disease, but in spirit, Anjum was robust as ever. “I am privileged to be a poet, a privilege that God has given me. No matter what my condition, I want to live in the hearts of people and write for them. I am a poet who does not believe in death. I have firm faith in the universe, love and God,” said the poet who had more than 27 published works in Urdu and Punjabi and written many beautiful lyrics for albums.
A strong votary of the artist community, Anjum used the power of his pen, of moving words and poetry while fighting for the cause of artists, constantly demanding support and security for them from the government. According to him, artists are the pillars of society, giving hope and strength to people. “Where governments fail, artists step in and help people. If no one fights for them, how will they survive?” he once questioned. So much so that he had even declined the Shiromani Urdu Sahitkaar Award, which came with a cash prize of Rs 2.5 lakh, citing that the money be used for the welfare of other poets. Anjum also wanted that the government institute a scheme in which poets above 70 years of age be given medical insurance. “It is the need of the hour,” he had said.
An eminent Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi litterateur, Anjum has been facing medical problems associated with diabetes and had to get a foot amputated. The medical treatment also strained his financial resources.
Recipient of 19 state awards, including the Ambassador of Peace Award, Anjum also served as the head of Urdu Department and was Chancellor’s nominee at Punjabi University, Patiala. His feature film, Karzdar, was an effort to bring India and Pakistan closer.
“First Nek Chand, then Shiv Singh and now Sardar Anjum. It is such a loss. These are the people who created the city’s cultural map, and we have to keep their work and vision alive,” said Diwan Manna, chairperson, Lalit Kala Akademi. He remembered Anjum as one of the few writers who continued to write in Urdu and had a great sense of Indian music.
Dr Anjum breathed his last at 5.45 pm at Fortis Hospital, Mohali, where he had been admitted since May 26. Dr Anjum had suffered an intra-cranial bleed and had been in coma and was in the neurosurgical ICU. Despite best efforts and high-level care, the patient could not be saved and he succumbed to the fatal brain bleed, said the hospital spokesperson.
Cremation will be held in Hoshiarpur on Sunday.