Nehru jails Mahrooh Sultanpuri
Aman kaa jhandaa is dharti pe
kisney kahaa lahraane na paae
ye bhii koii Hitler kaa hai chelaa,
maar le saathii, jaane na paae!
Commonwealth ka daas hai Nehru
maar le saathii jaane na paae!
(Such unease with our flag of peace! Is it some protégé of Hitler, or a mere slave of the Commonwealth? It’s Nehru, my friends. Take him by the collar lest he gets away.)
That was the poem Majrooh Sultanpuri wrote. Nehru got him arrested for 1 year.
An arrest warrant was issued for Majrooh by the government of Bombay State. Majrooh went underground and eluded the police. But when a meeting of progressive writers was organised in 1951 to protest the incarceration of fellow communist writers Sajjad Zaheer and Faiz Ahmed Faiz in Pakistan’s Rawalpindi conspiracy case, the fiery poet came out of hiding. His was a strong voice in the meeting, and he was arrested as soon as he descended from the stage. Majrooh was lodged in Bombay’s Arthur Road Jail for a year.