“Hopes and wishes don’t come true just because you hope and you wish,” writer Shanta Gokhale said while discussing the lyric Wo Subah Kabhi Toh Ayegi by lyricist and poet Sahir Ludhianvi as India celebrates its 73rd Independence Day.
According to Gokhale, “Haq mangne walo ko jis din sooli na dikhayi jaye (the day people demanding their rights are not persecuted)” is the line that best warns us of “where we are today”. She was discussing the state of dissent and the treatment meted out to dissenters in India today in a video titled Songs of Freedom for the Karwan-e-Mohabbat collective. “It’s the dissenters who are asking for people’s rights, and today, they are being held as anti-nationals.”
Gokhale also discussed her favourite part of Ludhianvi’s composition, which features towards the end. “Wo subah hum hi se aayegi (we alone can bring that dawn into reality)” – for Gokhale, this line is a reassurance that people will bring about a change on their own circumstances without being dependent on others.
Here is a version of the poem featured in the 1958 film Phir Subah Hogi here: