Expressing the Unspoken–The Tale of Urdu Poetry
"Urdu hai mera naam main Khusro ki paheli
Main Mir ki humraaz hoon Ghalib ki saheli"
Language is the source a people’s connection. It binds a population like a family, hovering over them like a cloud of comfort. The poetry of a language functions as its soul. It manoeuvers the hardest of beings, exposing their tenderness to the unbeknownst. Urdu poetry has a similar nature. It has been used by beings coming from almost all walks of life. Revolutionaries, prisoners, script writers, lovers and intellectuals are among the very few who have used it the most. It has also been amongst the bedrock of various movements in history, though, its contribution to various nations has been shelved owing to policies and political aspirations of a certain few.
When speaking of Urdu poetry, it becomes necessary for one to learn from the Masters who gave the language its poetic structure, for it was them who injected a soul into the language. Mir, Ghalib, Sauda, Zauq and so on were some of the majestic poets who adorned the walls of the Urdu castle. They happened to be its chief designers. Their poetry gave the poets of coming generations a path which could be trodden upon. These poets happened to live at a time when the language was in an evolving state and was taking a new form with assistance from the locals of Hindustan. As poetry usually does, the Urdu poetry of that time covered aspects of life which were then prevalent. It was also not so widespread among the commoners and was usually written or spoken by the elite class. Owing to the fact that rulers of the time patronized arts of various kinds, poetry became quite a flourishing practice.
As time moved on, so did the usage of language. Due to a shift in power and a growing turbulent political landscape in the subcontinent, followed by a changing lifestyle, Urdu poetry witnessed a change in its usage. It became the beloved of a revolutionary, the oratory of a freedom fighter and the life of a movement of freedom. Poetry written during this troublesome time period have today become war cries for the oppressed.
Josh Malihabadi, Hasrat Mohani, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Asrar Ul Haq Majaz and their contemporaries are well known for their firebrand style poetry, directed towards oppressors. This period was such that any poetry generated used to have a fervor of nationalism. It was also used to target various societal norms and customs, making life tough for the section of society who had imposed standards, using the garb of culture as a solidifier.
An aspect which kept growing after this time was the involvement of women as contributors towards the library of Urdu poetry. This challenged the usual structure and expanded the horizons of poetry. Such poetry allowed issues and problems faced by women to come at the forefront. Bilqis Zafirul Hasan, Fahmida Riaz, Fatima Hasan, Indira Varma, Kishwar Naheed and other such poetess’ were notable and are revered for their work. They broke many stereotypes and gave Urdu poetry a brand new face.
Be it the lover’s agony or any worldly ignominy, Urdu poetry has covered it all. In today’s technology driven and dynamic World, it is necessary that the language’s students look for ways to spread its purity. It sometimes becomes a requisite for the lover to dramatize a peek to the one trying to catch a glimpse and thereafter the witness remains mesmerized with that beauty, singing and dancing about it. When a generation is able to produce the fanatics of purity, only then can it ensure the coming generations to have their set of Elia, Indori, Haya and Varma.
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