Urdu poetry

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Timeline for Urdu and Hindi languages and their recognition
Urdu replaces Persian 1837 under British rule
Hindi and Urdu granted equal status 1900
Urdu declared sole national language in Pakistan 1948
Hindi granted separate status and official precedence over Urdu and all other languages in the Republic of India 1950

Urdu poetry (Urdu: اُردُو شاعرىUrdū S̱ẖāʿirī) is a rich tradition of poetry and has many different forms. Its basically an outcome of superimposition of Persian language poetry on Khari Boli with Sanskrit as its substratum. Many of the poetic forms and structures are of Arabic origin. Today, it is an important part of the cultures of South Asia. Meer, Dard, Ghalib, Anees, Dabeer, Iqbal, Zauq, Josh, Jigar, Faiz, Firaq, Shakeb Jalali, Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, Shair, Mohsin, Faraz and Faizi are among the greatest poets of Urdu. The language of Urdu got its pinnacle under the British Raj when British perceived Persian language as the threat and replaced its official status with the Urdu and English languages. All famous writers of Urdu language including Ghalib and Iqbal were given British scholarships.[1] Following the Partition of India in 1947, it found major poets and scholars were divided along the nationalistic lines. However, Urdu poetry is cherished in both the nations. Both the Muslims and Hindus from across the border continue the tradition.

Its fundamentally a performative poetry and its recital, sometimes impromptu, is held in Mushairas (poetic expositions). Although its tarannum saaz (singing aspect) has undergone major changes in recent decades, its popularity among the masses remains unaltered. Mushairas are today held in metropolitan areas worldwide because of cultural influence of South Asian diaspora. Ghazal singing and Qawwali are also important expository forms of Urdu poetry. Bollywood movies have a major part in popularising Urdu poetry with younger generations.

Forms of Urdu poetry[edit]

The principal forms of Urdu poetry are:[2]

  • Ghazal, is a set of two liner couplets, which strictly should end with the same rhyme and should be within one of the predefined meters of Ghazals.There has to be minimum of five couplets to form a Ghazal. Couplets may or may not have same thought. It is one of the most difficult forms of poetry as there are many strict parameters that one needs to abide by while writing Ghazal.
  • Hamd is a poem in praise of Allah. The word "hamd" is derived from the Qur'an, its English translation is "Praise".
  • Marsiya (or elegy), is nearly always on the death of Hasan and Husain 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. The famous marsia writers who inherited the tradition of Mir Anis among his successive generations are Mir Nawab Ali 'Munis', Dulaha Sahab 'Uruj', Syed Mohammed Mohsin (Jaunpuri), Mustafa Meerza urf Piyare Sahab 'Rasheed', Syed Muhammad Mirza Uns, Ali Nawab 'Qadeem', Syed Sajjad Hussain "Shadeed" Lucknavi, Allama, Dr.Syed Ali Imam Zaidi, "Gauher" Luckhnavi the(great grandson of Mir Babber Ali Anis).
  • Masnavi, in the majority of cases a poetic romance. It may extend to several thousand lines, but generally is much shorter. A few masnavis deal with ordinary domestic and other occurrences. Mir and Sauda wrote some of this kind. They are always in heroic couplets, and the common metre is bacchic tetrameter with an iambus for last foot. The Religious masnavi History of Islam (Tarikh-e-Islam Az Quran) written by Dr. Syed Ali Imam Zaidi Gauher Lucknavi.[2]
  • Shayari, a beautiful musical form of Urdu poetry allows a person to express the deepest feelings through words. It lets you explain sentiments in all their forms through rhythmic words.[5]
  • Ruba'i, is a poetry style, the Arabic term for "quatrain". The plural form of the word, rubāʿiyāt, often anglicised rubaiyat, is used to describe a collection of such quatrains.
  • Tazkira, biographical anthology, almost always of poetry alone. This is often a mere collection of names with a line or two of information about each poet, followed by specimen of his composition. On the other hand it may be the history of Urdu poetry with copious illustrative extracts. The best tazkiras give biographical details, but fail in literary criticism, and we get little idea of style or poetical power, still less of contents of poems. Even the large anthologies do not systematically review an author's work. Most of them have the names in alphabetical order, but one or two prefer historical order. The majority quote only lyrics, and the quotations, usually chosen at random, do not illustrate poetry.[2]

Collection forms of Urdu poetry[edit]

The principal collection forms of Urdu poetry are:[2]

  • Diwan, a collection of poems, chiefly gazals.[2]
  • Kulliyat, literally a complete collection of poems, but often applied to any collection containing poems of various kinds. Thus, Akbar Allahabadi published three kulliyats.[2]

Formation[edit]

Urdu poetry forms itself with following basic ingredients:

Genres[edit]

The major genres of poetry found in Urdu are:

Foreign forms such as the sonnet, azad nazm or (Free verse) and haiku have also been used by some modern Urdu poets.

Pen names (Takhallus)[edit]

In the Urdu poetic tradition, most poets use a pen name called the Takhallus (تخلص) . This can be either a part of a poet's given name or something else adopted as an identity. The traditional convention in identifying Urdu poets is to mention the takhallus at the end of the name. The word takhallus[6] is derived from Arabic, meaning "ending". This is because in the ghazal form, the poet would usually incorporate his or her pen name into the final couplet (maqta) of each poem.

Scripts used in poetry[edit]

In Pakistan and Deccan region of India, Urdu poetry is written in the standard Nasta'liq calligraphy style of the Perso-Arabic script. However, in north India, where Urdu poetry is very popular, the Perso-Arabic is often found transliterated into the Devanāgarī script, as an aid for those Hindī-speakers, who can comprehend Urdu, but cannot read the Perso-Arabic script. With the dawn of the internet and globalisation, this poetry is often found written in Roman Urdu today.

Example[edit]

The following is a verse from an Urdu ghazal by Arif Farhad:

Roman Urdu:

Tum na aana waqt k darya main beh kar is taraf.
Main to machli ki tarah uljha huwa hun jaal main

English translation:

Don't come towards this side in the river of time!
I am captured in the net like a fish.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Language, religion and politics in North India. Lincoln, NE: IUniverse. 2005. ISBN 978-0-595-34394-2.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Bailey, Thomas Grahame (1932 & 2008). A History of urdu literature (PDF). Association press (Y.M.C.A.). ISBN 978-0-19-547518-0. Retrieved 15 July 2012.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ Encyclopedic dictionary of Urdu literature p.565 http://books.google.co.in/books?isbn=8182201918
  4. ^ The Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature (Volume Five) p.4146 http://books.google.co.in/books?isbn=8126012218
  5. ^ Shayari Network. 
  6. ^ A Brief History of Persian Literature, by the Iran Chamber Society.

External links[edit]