How does a poet chooses his pseudonym? Specifically, the question is, how did Sahir chose his? Sahir which means “magician”, was definitely a pseudonym worthy of this poet who created magic with his words. Note that Sahir, nee Abdul Hayee, was born in 1921 in Ludhiana. His life-story has been talked about in several posts on this blog. See the posts under the category “Articles” and “Documentary” on the left sidebar. None of them have mentionned how Sahir chose his taKhallus or pen-name.
Recently there was a discussion on ALUP about the origin of Sahir’s taKhallus. I thought it would be pertinent to sum up the discussion here (which wasn’t much of a discussion regarding the authenticity of this claim).
The original poster of this thread (linked above) mentionned that he heard on a Radio program that Sahir chose his taKhallus from a sh’er he heard written by the noted Urdu poet Allama Iqbal. The sh’er in question is:
is chaman mein hoNge paida bulbul-e-sheraaz bhi,
saiNkRon saahir bhi hoNge saahib-e-eijaaz bhi
The meaning of this sh’er was further discussed in the ALUP thread, the gist of which is being presented here:
The term bulbul-e-sheraaz most probably refers to the famous Farsi poet Haafiz, whose name was Khvaajah Shamsuddin Muhammad and as he hailed from Shiiraaz, hence the word Sherazi making him Hafiz Sherazi. He was also known as “bulbul-e-Shiiraaz”. The term “saahib-e-eijaaz” refers to those who perform miracles. The literal meaning of this couplet would be
There will be poets like Haafiz who will be born in this garden
There will also be thousands of magicians and those who perform miracles
Interesting to know that Sahir actually settled on his taKhallus after reading this sh’er.