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Marsiya (or elegy) is nearly always on the death of Hasan and Hussein and their families, but occasionally on the death of relatives and friends. It is usually in six-lined stanzas with the rhyme aaaabb. The recitation of these elegies in the first ten days of Muharram is one of the greatest event in Muslim life. A fully developed marsiya is always an epic.
This form found a specially congenial soil in Lucknow, chiefly because it was one of the centres of Shia Muslim communities in Indian sub-continent, which regarded it an act of piety and religious duty to eulogies and bemoan the martyrs of the battle of Karbala. The form reached its peak in the writing of Mir Babar Ali Anis. Marsiya is a poem written to commemorate the martyrdom of Ahl al-Bayt, Imam Hussain and Battle of Karbala. It is usually a poem of mourning. Even a short poem written to mourn the death of a friend can be called marsiya. Lord Alfred Tennyson's poem 'In Memoriam' can rightly be called marsiya. The sub-parts of marsiya are called noha and soz which means lamentation and burning of (heart) respectively.
Mir Babar Ali Anis, a renowned Urdu poet, composed salāms, elegies, nohas and quatrains. While the length of elegy initially had no more than forty or fifty stanzas, it now was beyond one hundred fifty or even longer than two hundred stanzas or bunds, as each unit of marsiya in musaddas format is known. Mir Anis has drawn upon the vocabulary of Arabic, Persian, Urdu/Hindi/Awadhi in such a good measure that he symbolizes the full spectrum of the cultural mosaic that Urdu has come to be.
Mir Anis has become an essential element of Muharram for Urdu-lovers of the Indo-Pak subcontinent.
The first major and still current critical articulation about Mir Anis was Muazna-e-Anis-o-Dabir (1907) written by Shibli Nomani in which he said "the poetic qualities and merits of Anis are not matched by any other poet".
The world's first 36 marsiya audio released this year 2013-2014 by Mafss Noha Academy (India) with the title "Az Madina ta Madina" consist marsiya on all major event during 28 Rajab to 8 Rabiul Awwal, Kalam of Mir Anis, Mirza Dabeer, Naseem Amrohi, Recited by Sayyed Rahil Abbas Rizvi from India.
- List of Marsiya writers in Urdu
- Urdu literature
- Urdu poetry
- History of Urdu
- Waheed Akhtar
- Karbala Ta Karbala
- A History of Urdu literature by T. Grahame Bailey; Urdu Poetry in Lucknow in the 19th century
- Poetry: Urdu Marsiya, Anees and his Poetry at the Wayback Machine (archived August 22, 2010)
- A History of Urdu literature by T. Grahame Bailey; Introduction
- The Masters of Marsiya – Anees and Dabeer
- Marsiya by Shiraz e Hind on May 15th, 2010
- Old Marsiya reciters still reciting marsiya before majlis, and young generation also attract towards soul of marsiya and soazkhwani in India, Pakistan, and other western countriesworlds first bunch of 36 marsiya collection based on events by Mafss Noha Academy - India, Recited by Sayyed Rahil Abbas Rizvi (India)
- Rauf Parekh (2013-11-11). "Karbalai marsiya in Urdu and Persian". Dawn.Com. Retrieved 2014-01-01.
- Rauf Parekh (2013-11-25). "Dabeer, new marsiya and the ‘praise-me’ virus". Dawn.Com. Retrieved 2014-01-01.
- Rana Safvi (2013-11-12). "RANA's SPACE: The Art of Marsiya Writing and Reciting". Rana-safvi.blogspot.in. Retrieved 2014-01-01.
- "The Making of the Awadh Culture - Madhu Trivedi - Google Books". Books.google.co.in. Retrieved 2014-01-01.
- Madhu Trivedi. Appropriating an Iranian Literary Tradition: Marsiya in the Indian Context. great-iran.com. Retrieved 2014-01-01.
- Amy Bard. Value and Vitality in a Literary Tradition: Female Poets and the Urdu Marsiya. Columbia University. Retrieved 2014-01-01.