The history of Urdu poetry is decorated with radiant gems like Mirza Ghalib, Mir Taqi Mir, Momin Khan Momin, Sheikh Ibrahim Zauq, Dagh Dehlvi, Insha Allah Khan Insha, Haidar Ali Aatish, Nazeer Akbarabadi and more. These maestros have not only bestowed Urdu poetry the exceptionally crafted sher (couplet), ghazals and nazms; but also paved the way for modern and post-modern poets. But why am I talking about it today? Today, when the young generation (popularly called Gen Z) is going gaga over short & shallow videos; and has minimum time and willingness to dive into the depth of meaningful poetry; our classical poets become more relevant.
In this blog, I am going to talk about some of the most important classical Urdu poets and decode why their poetry is still relevant. I believe, every Urdu patron should read the works on these classical poets. Below, I am mentioning few books of those classical Urdu poets. Let’s have a look:
Dagh Dehlvi is one of the most prominent Urdu poets. He deliberated upon the aesthetic principles of ghazal as a form of intimate poetic conversation. He charged the common speech and combined the poetic manners of the Lucknow and Delhi schools. In its totality, Dagh’s poetry is idiomatic and appealing, laden with emotions and good humor. He did not take the idea of love to philosophical heights but engaged with the experience of love at a human level, bringing it close to eroticism. Cumulatively, he is playful with language, least Persianized in his diction, witty in turns of phrases, urbane in addressing, and full of gaiety and simplicity in his essential approach to his material. The offered book, “Rekhta Ke Dagh”, brings you the selected poetry of popular classical poet Dagh Dehlvi in Devanagari script, handpicked by prominent Urdu poet Jb. Farhat Ehsas.
Sheikh Mohammad Ibrahim Zauq was a poet with a strong grasp of Urdu language and idiom. He was a master of masters like Mohammad Hassan Azad in prose and Dagh in ghazal. In the reign of King Bahadur Shah Zafar, Zauq, who was awarded the title of Malik al-Shu'ara, was considered to be one of the most important poets of his time. The atmosphere of his poems is scholarly, literary and technically admirable. Soon his fame and popularity spread throughout the city. His countless poems have become proverbs to this day and are on the tongues of the people. He has worked with great dexterity and the metaphorical style fills the effect in his poems. Simple language, correctness of idiom and quickness of closure are the common qualities of Zauq’s ghazals. He uses language that is in line with everyday life and does not confuse the listener. The offered book, “Rekhta Ke Zauq”, brings you the selected poetry of popular classical poet Sheikh Mohammad Ibrahim Zauq in Devanagari script, handpicked by prominent Urdu poet Jb. Farhat Ehsas.
Momin Khan Momin was essentially a poet of the earthly love which he expressed best in the form of ghazal. The lover in his poetry is one of amorous disposition; he represents love along with lust, and lust as a part of life’s romance. As Momin dwelt upon the psychology of the lover, he explored his moods and reflexes, as also his erotic tendencies. In celebrating romantic love in all its manifestations, he drew upon the purity of diction, deeply nuanced phrases, and indirect modes of expression. All these made way, sometimes, for a metaphysical apprehension of the phenomenon of love and the figure of the lover. Momin was an aesthete; he personalized his material which distinguished him from many other poets who objectified them. The offered book, “Rekhta Ke Momin”, brings you the selected poetry of popular classical poet Momin Khan Momin in Devanagari script, handpicked by prominent Urdu poet Jb. Farhat Ehsas.
Syed Wali Mohammad, known as Nazeer Akbarabadi, is the only poet of his kind in Urdu for a variety of reasons. Nazeer opened up entirely new avenues for Urdu poetry as he chose his material from life brilliantly spread all around. There is hardly any aspect of secular life that did not engage his attention. His wrote poems on all religious festivals, communal events, carnivals, sports, hobbies, and scenes and scenarios of common life which none had done before him. He evolved a diction that was entirely new for the kind of poems he wrote. There is a general misconception that Nazeer wrote only on the folk life and its various manifestations but he also wrote highly sophisticated, persianized, and creatively rich ghazals which find him a place among the elitist poets of Urdu. The offered book, “Rekhta Ke Nazeer”, brings you the selected poetry of popular classical poet Nazeer Akbarabadi in Devanagari script, handpicked by prominent Urdu poet Jb. Farhat Ehsas.
Khwaja Haidar Ali Aatish was a disciple of Mus’hafi and wrote both in Persian and Urdu. He is, however, remembered for his Urdu poetry as his Persian poetry has remained untraceable. He was extremely resourceful with the Urdu idiom and played upon the softness of its tone. Striking a balance between the odds and the evens in his poetry, he was now spontaneous now remote, now restrained now sentimental, now ratiocinate now mystical. His sincere sentiments and robust language blended well to create a condition of lasting appeal. Even while he maintained a uniform level of expression, he also turned wordy and flamboyant at times, but remained simple and eminently accessible. Aatish chose to philosophize on the pleasures of flesh and delve deeper to discover the ecstatic moments of union. The cumulative impact that Aatish creates is that of a poet who has a healthy attitude towards life and art and expresses himself with remarkable vigour and vitality. The offered book, “Rekhta Ke Aatish”, brings you the selected poetry of popular classical poet Khwaja Haidar Ali Aatish in Devanagari script, handpicked by prominent Urdu poet Jb. Farhat Ehsas.
Insha Allah Khan Insha was a remarkable polyglot and had a unique expertise in various languages and dialects like Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Punjabi, Pushto, Marathi, Kashmiri, Poorabi, Rekhti, Marwari, and Hindi. He could also compose verses in them. He is valued as the first author of a complete grammar of Urdu language in Persian called Daryaa-e-Lataafat. He also wrote a fascinating fictional narrative called Raani Ketaki ki Kahaani that did not have a word of Arabic and Persian in it. It also happens to be the earliest work of Urdu prose. Endowed with unique resourcefulness with the written word, he could appropriate a great variety of ideas, events, and anecdotes into his poetry. The offered book, “Rekhta Ke Insha”, brings you the selected poetry of popular classical poet Insha Allah Khan Insha in Devanagari script, handpicked by prominent Urdu poet Jb. Farhat Ehsas.
As, you have read about the specialties of these poets, I am sure you would be excited to read their works in Devanagari script. Rekhta Books, the in-house book publishing venture of Rekhta Foundation, has brought these books in Devanagri, just for the readers like you. These books can be availed from their official website rekhtabooks.com . I hope you’ll read these exceptionally enriched books and let me know your experiences in the comments.