His father married for the second time. At that time, his mother decided to take the bold step of leaving her husband, forfeiting all claims to the financial assets. Sahir's father then sued his mother for child custody but lost. He threatened to make sure Sahir did not live with his mother very long, even if that meant taking the child's life. Sahir's mother then found friends who kept a close watch on him and didn't let him out of sight. Fear and financial deprivation surrounded the formative years of this young man. His parents' divorce brought him and his mother face to face with poverty and struggle in life. The house in which Sahir was born, a red sand-stone haveli, stands in Karimpura, a muslim neighborhood of Ludhiana, with a small plaque announcing its importance upon the arched mughal darwaaza - the only effort by this teeming industrial city to remember him.
A colossus amongst film lyricists, Sahir Ludhianvi was slightly different from his contemporaries. A poet unable to praise Khuda (God), Husn (Beauty) or Jaam (Wine), his pen was, at its best, pouring out bitter but sensitive lyrics over the declining values of society, the senselessness of war and politics, and the domination of materialism over love. Whenever he wrote any love songs, they were tinged with sorrow, due to realisation that there were other, starker concepts more important than love. He could be called the underdog's bard; close to his heart were the farmer crushed by debt, the soldier gone to fight someone else's war, the woman forced to sell her body, the youth frustrated by unemployment, the family living on the street and other victims of society.
Sahir's poetry reflected the mood of the age. Whether it was the arrest of progressive writers in Pakistan, the launch of the satellite Sputnik or the discovery of Ghalib by a government lusting after minority votes.
His relationship with Amrita Pritam was so passionate, that at one time while attending a press conference, Amrita wrote his name hundreds of times on a sheet of paper. The two of them would meet without saying a word and Sahir would puff away with his cigarettes, and after he left, Amrita would smoke the cigarette butts left by him. After his death, she hoped the smoke from her cigarettes would meet him in the other world.
This relationshipshad left Sahir Ludhianvi an embittered man and he also had taken to drinking heavliy and drank himself deep into alcoholism. The tragedies and pathos of his personal life most truly reflected in his poignant poetry. He remained single all his life.