Urdu poetry (Urdu: اُردُو شاعرى Urdū 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. Literary figures as far back as Amir Khusro (1253-1325 CE) and Kabir (1440–1518 CE) inspired later Urdu poets, and served as intellectual and linguistic sources. Meer, Dard, Ghalib, Anees, Dabeer, Iqbal, Zauq, Josh, Jigar, Faiz, Firaq, Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, Shair, Mohsin, Faraz and Faizi are among the greatest poets of Urdu. 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
The principal forms of Urdu poetry are:
- 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.
- Nazm Urdu nazm is a major part of Urdu poetry. From Nazeer Akarabadi, Iqbal, Josh, Firaq, Akhtarul Iman to down the line Noon Meem Rashid, Faiz, Ali Sardar Jafri and Kaifi Azmi. They have covered common life, philosophical thinking, national issues and the precarious predecament of individual human being.As a distinct form of Nazm many Urdu poets influenced by English and other European poets took to writing sonnets in Urdu language. Azmatullah Khan (1887-1923) is believed to have introduced this format to Urdu Literature. The other renowned Urdu poets who wrote sonnets were Akhtar Junagarhi, Akhtar Sheerani, Noon Meem Rashid, Zia Fatehabadi, Salaam Machhalishahari and Wazir Agha.
- Qasida, a kind of ode, often panegyric on a benefactor, sometimes a satire, sometimes a poem dealing with an important event. As a rule it is longer than ghazal, but it follows the same system of rhyme.
- Qawwali, is a form of Urdu poetry read along with devotional music, A Qawwali is almost always dedicated to particular Sufi.
- 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.
- 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.
Collection forms of Urdu poetry
The principal collection forms of Urdu poetry are:
- Diwan, a collection of poems, chiefly gazals.
- Kulliyat, literally a complete collection of poems, but often applied to any collection containing poems of various kinds. Thus, Akbar Allahabadi published three kulliyats.
Urdu poetry forms itself with following basic ingredients:
- Bait (بیت)
- Bait-ul-Ghazal (بیت الغزل)
- Beher (بحر)
- Diwan (دیوان)
- Husn-E-Matla (حسنِ مطلع)
- Kalam (کلام)
- Kulyat (کلیات)
- Maqta (مقطع)
- Matla (مطلع)
- Mavra (ماوراء)
- Misra (مصرع)
- Mushaira (مشاعرہ)
- Qaafiyaa (قافیہ)
- Radif (ردیف)
- Sher (شعر)
- Shayar (شاعر)
- Shayari (شاعری)
- Tah-Tul-Lafz (تحت اللفظ)
- Takhallus (تخلص)
- Tarannum (ترنم)
- Triveni (تریوینی)
The major genres of poetry found in Urdu are:
- Doha (دوہا)
- Fard (فرد)
- Geet (گیت)
- Ghazal (غزل), as practiced by many poets in the Arab tradition. Mir, Ghalib, Dagh are well-known composers of ghazal.
- Hamd (حمد)
- Hazal (ہزل)
- Hijv (ہجو)
- Kafi (کافی)
- Madah (مدح)
- Manqabat (منقبت)
- Marsia (مرثیہ)
- Masnavi (مثنوی)
- Munajat (مناجات)
- Musaddas (مسدس)
- Mukhammas (مخمس)
- Naat (نعت)
- Nazm (نظم)
- Noha (نوحہ)
- Qasida (قصیدہ)
- Qat'ã (قطعہ)
- Qawwali (قوالی)
- Rubai (رباعی) (a.k.a. Rubayyat or Rubaiyat) (رباعیات)
- Salam (سلام)
- Sehra (سہرا)
- Shehr a'ashob (شہر آشوب)
- Soz (سوز)
- Wasokht (وسوخت)
Pen names (Takhallus)
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 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
In Pakistan, Urdu poetry is written in the standard Nasta'liq calligraphy style of the Perso-Arabic script. However, in 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.
- Tum na aana waqt k darya main beh kar is taraf.
- Main to machli ki tarah uljha huwa hun jaal main
- Don't come towards this side in the river of time!
- I am captured in the net like a fish.
- Bait Bazi, a game using Urdu poetry
- Maulvi Abdul Haq - father of Modern Urdu
- Rafiq Hussain was the first scholar in undivided India to obtain a Ph.D in Urdu Poetry of Allama Iqbal in 1943.
- List of Urdu poets
- Persian and Urdu
- Progressive Writers' Movement
- Urdu Informatics
- 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.
- Encyclopedic dictionary of Urdu literature p.565 http://books.google.co.in/books?isbn=8182201918
- The Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature (Volume Five) p.4146 http://books.google.co.in/books?isbn=8126012218
- Shayari Network.
- A Brief History of Persian Literature, by the Iran Chamber Society.