Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Genres of Urdu Poetry

The popularity of Urdu owes to Urdu poetry because of which it became the language which rules over hearts of multitudes of people in past and present generation. Urdu poetry has a lot of forms. The major genres of poetry found in Urdu are Ghazal, Nazm, Qaseeda, Sehra, Rubai, Masnavi, Hamd, Naat, Manqabat, Noha, Shehr Aashob, Qata and Doha.

Here, I would like to talk about "Ghazal"

Ghazal is one of the most popular forms of Urdu poetry. The word "ghazal" is derived from, Arabic word, "taghazzul" which means - conversation with ladies or expression of love for women. The literal meaning of the term "ghazal" is to talk to women or to talk about them or to express love to them through the description of the state of one's heart.

A Ghazal is nothing but a small number of Urdu couplets put together. These couplets may be independent poems or may concentrate on a single topic. Another binding feature of a Ghazal is that there should be something which should connect all the couplets. This connection is ensured by Beher, Kafiyaa and Radif. In short, Beher means the meter of the couplets which should be equal in all the couplets. Kafiyaa and Radif ensure the rhyme towards the end of every line of a ghazal.

Technically speaking, Ghazal is a collection of Urdu couplets, in which there is atleast one Matla , one Maqta and all the couplets are of same Beher and have the same Kaafiyaa and Radif. Matla is the opening couplet whereas Maqta is closing couplet which ideally has the poet's "Takhallus" (pseudonym or nom de plume).

An example of a Ghazal:

koi ummid bar nahin aati
koi surat nazar nahin aati

aage aati thi haale dil par hasi
ab kisi baat par nahin aati

hum wahan hain, jahan se humko bhi
kucch hamaari khabar nahin aati

kaabaa kis muh se jaaoge 'Ghalib'
sharm tumko magar nahin aati

In this ghazal, the words "nahi aati" form the Radif which should be present in both lines of opening couplet (Matla) and second line of all the following couplets. The words "nazar", "par", "khabar" and "magar" represent Kafiyaa. The meter (Beher) of this ghazal is small or single. The last couplet (Maqta) has the pseudonym "Ghalib" as this ghazal is one of the masterpieces of Mirza AsadUllah Khan 'Ghalib'.

P.S. The above ghazal may not be called a perfect example of a ghazal as I learnt that a perfect ghazal should have a minimum of 5 couplets (ashaar). I wish Mirza Ghalib would have added one more couplet (sher) somewhere to make it a perfect example of a ghazal. :-)

~ Qais


افتخار اجمل بھوپال said...

آپ کے بلاگ کے متعلق یہ کہا جائے کہ یہ انگریزی میں اردو کا بلاگ ہے۔ یہ کچھ بہت عجیب نہیں لگتا ؟
سر قرطاس تو آپ نے لکھا ہے " اردو ہے جس کا نام ہم جانتے ہیں داغ ۔ ۔ ۔ سارے جہاں میں دھوم ہماری زباں کی ہے " مگر خود ہی اردو پر دھول ڈال دی ہے۔ میاں ذہین اور جوان ہو تھوڑی سی ہمت کرو اور اردو میں لکھنا شروع کرو۔ انگریزی میں لکھنے والے تو بہت ہیں اور ہم سے اچھا بھی لکھ لیتے ہیں۔ اردو اگر پسند ہے تو ان کے لئے لکھو جو اردو پڑھنا چاہتے ہیں۔

Unknown said...

خاسی باتیں زھن میں گونچتی ہیں آپ کی بات پڑھ کے:

پہلے تو ہم سب آپ کے طرحہ جوان نہیں ہیں
۔ بلکے کُچ تو تیس کی دھأی میں داخِل ہو چُکے ہیں

اور اگر سارے جہاں میں دھوم ہونی ہے تو سب اردو میں تو نہیں ہو گی؟ رومی سُن سُن کے کان کُچ پک سے گیٔے ہیں، گہرہں کو غالِب و اِقبال و میر و داغ سے شناسأی دلوانا مقصعد یے

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Manzoor Khan said...

Dear Ajmal Sahib,

Aadaab. Sabse pehle to aapke hum shukr-guzaar hain ki aap ne kuch waqt hamare blog main guzaraa. Ummeed hain ki aap mussalsal is haqeer blog main tashreef laate rehege - yehi nahi, balki hamey be-had khushi hogi, agar aap kuch Urdu ke taallukh se likh karr hame bhejain - aap ka likha hua blog par shayaay karke humee khushi hogi. Urdu-ke-naam main aap ka Khair-Maqdam hain.

Now, coming to the part of writing in Urdu, instead of English. The thing is we (the founders) are based in India and though Urdu is our mother-tounge, we grew up learning Hindi as our second language. This is the case with me and Qais Mujeeb (the co-founder). But, still the love of Urdu inspired us to do some humble service to our cherished language, and we thought to start this blog - a non political, non religious blog, that would discuss everything and anything concerning Urdu in India and the world over.

Yes, we both must try and learn to write Urdu electronically. But, being the part of the IT bandwagon, I am afraid taking some time out would not be easy. We can however read Urdu (just read your comments -:), and would try and continuously improve on that department. As you can see, of late, there have been few postings in Urdu, too. Sabahat Ashraf (iFaqeer) leads the way there.

Another thing is Urdu being an Indian language, the message has to be taken across all Indians irrespective of their religion or beliefs. Not many of them can read Urdu. This is where English helps!

One again, the idea is to let people know about what's happening in the world of Urdu, and also discuss things like peotry, etc. I believe, for this, English would prove quite handy.

Unknown said...

Small bone to pick there, Qais. A lot of the Ustadhs say that the minimum size of a ghazal is 5 shairs; a maqtha, a mathla, and 3 shairs in between. Of course, this is not a very strictly followed rule...