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A Brief Introduction To Urdu Poetry

Urdu has established itself as one of the renowned languages of the subcontinent region of South Asia. The language has a long history when it comes to its development and over a period of time it has managed to inspire people all across the globe in different genres and presents a set of religious, cultural and social values of the Urdu language speakers to the foreigners.

Introduction to urdu poetry

When it comes to different genres of Urdu that are most popular is Urdu poetry. Besides the popular genre of Urdu fiction, the poetry is also of equal importance and all over the world in Urdu language courses, the teaching of poetry is a necessary component. The lines below give a brief introduction of genre of Urdu poetry.

As far as the historical development of the genre is concerned, it is as old as the language Urdu itself. Urdu started becoming a vulgar language during the reign of Mughal emperors. Besides their love for architecture and paintings, the one other thing for which Mughals were renowned was their love for poetry. Thus, although, the language of court was Persian where Mughals would listen to Persian poets, however, at a rustic level, it was the Urdu poetry that was being formed on the same rules and parameters as the Persian poetry. Hence, since Urdu became a language of the masses, it is from then that the Urdu poetry started.

After the initial years, in the 19th century is when Urdu received the greatest of contributions pertaining to Urdu poetry. Besides the other major names that surfaced in Urdu poetry in the 19th century, one of the most prominent names was of Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib. He is one of the greatest poets of Urdu language, and his works have been translated into many languages. If Ghalib is taken out of Urdu poetry, then half the poetry ceases to exist.

In the twentieth century also, poetry remained one of the renowned genres of Urdu languages. It was Allama Iqbal in the 20th century who gave a new direction to Urdu poetry and used it as a means of reforms. It was the poetry of Iqbal that revolutionized the whole Muslim population of subcontinent who then formed a spate country of their own called ‘Pakistan’. He is the national poet of Pakistan and his poetry in Urdu is considered a pivotal element for the development of struggle of Pakistan, hence, Iqbal utilized poetry as a medium of bringing and provoking change.

Urdu poetry consists of different forms of which the popular one is Ghazal. Besides Urdu Ghazal, there is Nazam, Marsiya, Rubai and so on. There is substantial amount of literature in each and every form of Urdu poetry, therefore, all the forms are respected and equally accepted amongst the literary circles.

In a nutshell, Urdu has a rich history when it comes to poetry. Besides being used as a means of expressing personal feelings and desires in an aesthetically pleasant way, Urdu poetry has contributed heavily into bringing social reforms among the dwellers of the subcontinent, which shows the kind of power this genre carries.

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A Brief History Of Life And Literary Career Of Mir Taqi Mir

There is no denying the fact that Urdu is increasingly becoming one of the most renowned languages of the world. When a foreign learner starts learning Urdu, he or she comes across various ages in which the language developed, especially the contributions of the poets and intellectuals towards the progress of the language.

career of Mir Taqi Mir

One of the major names that every Urdu learner comes across when dealing with Urdu literature in general and Urdu poetry in particular is the name of Mir Taqi Mir. For Urdu natives, Mir is one of the greatest poets of Urdu language and the initiation of Urdu Ghazal is associated with him. The lines below discuss a brief life history of Mir Taqi Mir.

The real name of Mir was Muhammad Taqi. The word ‘Mir’ is the takhallus which the poets have in Urdu, it is the same as penname as used by poets of other languages. Mir being renonwned for his penname rather than his real name is evident of the fact that he is one of the greats who was renowned for his work.

Mir was born in Agra in the eighteenth century, and it is where he lived till his death. At the time of Mir there were different schools of Urdu poetry spread across various regions of subcontinent. However, despite of being form Agra and then travelling across subcontinent, Mir was known as a great and a representative of Delhi School of Urdu poetry.

In Agra, when the father of Mir died, he moved to Delhi in order to complete his education and also gain financial patronage. It was his time in Delhi in which he wrote most of his masterpieces and major compilation. Mir lived most of his life in Delhi, however, things changed when Delhi got ransacked by Ahmad Shah Abdali. After the invasion Mir migrated from Delhi to Lucknow on the invitation of the king of Lucknow, and there he became a member of his court and received patronage. However, things grew severe in the latter part of his life, and Mir died out of an overdose of a purgative in Lucknow.

As far as the literary career of Mir is concerned, his complete work is known as Kulliaat, which contains six Diwans, that have over thirteen thousand verses. These verses are in almost all the poetic forms in Urdu such as satire, mustezaad, qasidad, rubai, masnav, ghazal and so on. However, it is the Ghazal of Urdu for which Mir is most known in Urdu literature.

 Although Ghalib rose to prominence a century late than Mir, however, he also acknowledge his greatness and considered him one of the greatest poets of Urdu language in general and Urdu ghazal in particular.

There have been numerous researchers and critics who have analyzed the works of Mir and found him a great when it comes to rhythm and lyre in Urdu poetry, especially the touch of sensitivity and personal tone in Urdu ghazal.

In a nutshell, for those who want to learn Urdu and are interested in knowing about the literature in general and Urdu poetry in particular are highly advised to read the poetry of Mir, as he is the pioneer of Urdu poetry and perhaps the greatest of all.


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Famous Urdu Poets from Sub-Continent

Poetry is the voice of heart, which gives words to your emotions that are real but hidden. In Urdu poetry, these emotions define in a pleasant way, which force us to feel them and relate with them. It is a universal language, understood by everyone, as it appeals to human heart.It is a form of art that strengthens the community bringing to light the various diversities that exist. Poet is one who writes poetry. They have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced couplets that vary greatly in different cultures and times. Similarly the sub-continent enrich with great Urdu poets who formed great verses. Some of them list below:

Khwaja Mir Dard

Khwaja Mir Dard was one of the three major poets of the Dehli School; the other two were Mir Taqi Mir and Mirza Sauda. They knew as pillars of classical Urdu Gazals. Dard was famous for his poetry on love and considered the best in this field. The secret of Dard’s era as a poet lies not in his mysticism, but in his ability to transmute this mysticism into poetry, and to present transcendental love in terms of human and earthly love. Dard inherited his mystical temperament from his father, Khwaja Muhammad Nasir Andalib, who was a mystic saint and a poet. Dard writing style was natural, simple, and musical but thought provoking. Below are some of his famous verses:

tujhi ko jo yan jalwa farma na dekha
barabar hai duniya ko dekha na dekha

mera guncha-e-dil hai woh dil-girifta
k jis ko kaso ne kabhi wa na dekha

aziat, musibat, malamat, balayen
tere ishq main ham ne kya kya na dekha

Famous Urdu Poet mir Dard

Mir Taqi Mir

Mir Taqi Mir was also a post of Dehli School, famous with his pen name Mir. Primarily his father, a religious man with a large following, formed his philosophy of life. Whose emphasis on the importance of love and the value of compassion, it remained with Mir throughout his life and imbued his poetry. He known for poetry on love and many of his couplets are on the same theme. Mu’amlat-e-Ishq (The Stages of Love) is one of the greatest known love poems in Urdu literature. Some of the verses from this poem are:

Ibtedaae ishq hai rota hai kya
Aage Aage dekhiye hota hai kya

Qafile mein subah ke ek shor hai
Yaani ghaafil hum chale sota hai kya

Mir Taqi Mir Best Poet

Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan

Mirza Asadullah Baig born on December 27, 1797 in Agra. He used pen name Galib and Asad. He was a classical Urdu and Persian poetduring British colonial rule. Before Galib poetry considered to express love only but Galib, give it a different direction. He wrote gazals on vast subjects like philosophy, travails, mysteries of life, and many others. Ghalib was a very liberal mystic who believed that the search for God within liberated the seeker from the narrowly Orthodox Islam, encouraging the devotee to look beyond the letter of the law to its narrow essence.His Sufi views and mysticism greatly reflected in his poems and ghazals. As he once stated:

Na Tha kucH to Khuda tha, Kuch na hota to Khuda hota
dubooYa mujhKo hoNi ne, na hota maiN to kya hota

hua jub Gam se Yun beHis, to Gum kya sar ke katNe ka
gar juda na hota tan sE, to zannon pur dhara hota

the best poet in urdu

Allama Muhammad Iqbal

Allama Iqbal born on November 9, 1877 in Sialkot. He was a philosopher, a poet and a Politian. As a poet he work mainly in Persian but after 1930, he put emphases on Urdu poetry. The verses of that era directly addressed to Muslims with great emphases on Islam and political reawaking. He considered being the inspiration for Pakistan movement. He gathers Muslims on a single platform with his poetry, which helps them to demand for a separate homeland. Many of Iqbal couplets were very famous among youth of that time and still they are. Some of his famous couplets are :

Ghulami Main Na Kaam Aati Hain Shamsheerain, Na Tadbeerain
Jo Ho Shok-E-Yaqeen Paida Tou Cut Jaati Hain Zanjeerain

Koi Andaza Ker Sakta Hai Iss Kay Zor-E-Bazu Ka?
Nigha-E-Mard-E-Momin Say Badal Jati Hain Taqdeerain

Allama Iqtbal the Thinker

Note – About verses are given in form of Urdu transliteration. If you are someone looking for  how to read urdu transcrip, you are advised to learn it from this academy.