Tag Archives: The characters of romantic urdu poetry

The characters of romantic urdu poetry part 9

This is the 9th part of our series on the the major characters of romantic
urdu poetry. In this part we will cover naseh. Naseh is the advisor.
So the naseh is the person who gives advise to the poet regarding
various things. The word naseh is derived from nasihat( advice).

But the naseh mostly gives advice against love. He would typically
advise the poet against meeting his beloved. Of course, the poet
does not like such advice:

poocho to koi hazrat-e-naseh se itni baat
aise hi thay janab bhi ahad-e-shabab mein?

( Someone ask the advisor this one question:
  was he like this in his days oy youth also?)

The poet is determined to go against the word of the naseh:

hui hai hazrat-e-naseh se guftagoo jis shab
woh shab zaroor sar-e-koo-e-yaar guzri hai

( those days when I have had a discussion with my advisor
  I have definitely spent those days in the lane of my beloved)

The poet does not consider the advisor his friend. But sometimes
his friends also act like advisors:

yeh kaisi dosti hai ke bane hain dost naseh?
hoi gham-gusar hota, koi chaara-saaz hota!

( What kind of friends are these? They have all become advisors…
  if only there were someone to share my sorrows, someone to
  cure me of my pain)

The poet complains that the advisor does not understand the
poet and does not listen to him properly:

naseh yeh gila hai ke main kuch nahin kehta
tu kab meri suntaa hai ke main kuch nahin kehta

( You complain, O advisor that I do not say much
  But when have you heard me and tried to understand me…
  that is why I do not tell you anything)

The poet rejects the Naseh’s advise and does what he wants to:

ab to har shyaam guzarti hai usi kooche mein
yeh nateeja hua naseh tere samjhaane ka

( Now, I spend every eveneing in he house of my beloved
  this is the result of your advice, my wise advisor)


zubaan pe labaik har nafaz mein, zameen pe sajde hain har kadam par
chala hoon yuun butkhaane ko naseh, ke jaise kaabe ko ja raha hoon

( On my lips are words of respect, and in my every step I bow to the ground
  O Advisor, I go to the house of my beloved as if I am going to a shrine!)


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The characters of romantic urdu poetry part 8


        This is the 8th part of our series on the major characters of urdu
poetry. We have already covered the poet(self), the beloved, the rival(raqeeb)
and the saqi. In this episode we shall talk about the qasid( the messenger)

The qasid performs the very important task of carrying messages from
the poet to the beloved and back to the poet( if the beloved bothers to send any messages)

Sometimes the poet already knows what the beloved’s reply to his letter will be

qasid ke aate aate khat ik aaur likh rakhoon
main jaanta hoon woh jo likhenge jawab mein

( before the messenger comes let me write one more letter to her
  I already know what her reply to my earlier letter will be)

The poet is always keen to write to his beloved. He has so much to
say, so many feelings to express.

aati hai baat baat mujhe yaad baar baar
kehta hoon daud daud ke qasid se raah mein

( I keep thinking of more and more things to tell her
  so I keep running to the qasid again and again to
  update my message)

Sometimes when the messenger indeed brings the message to the poet, he
wants to wait before hearing it/reading it. The feeling that she has
sent a message is more precious than the message. The thousand possible
messages that the poet imagines is more precious than the one that
the beloved actually sent. So we see the poet wait and enjoy the waiting
before opening the message that the messenger brings:

qasid payam unka na kuch der abhi suna
rehne de mehv-e-lazzat-e-zauk-e-khabar mujhe

( messenger wait for some more time before telling me her message
  let me remain engrossed in my thoughts that just desire to hear
  her words for a few moments more)

The messenger is kind to the poet. Sometimes he tries to modify the
message to not break the poet’s heart. But the poet knows how to
judge a person’s real state of mind by noticing his eyes:

na cher behr-e-khuda saaf saaf keh qasid
teri nigah se tera bayaan nahin milta

( Dont tease me messenger, please tell me what she actually said
  The glance of your eyes tells a different story than your tongue)

The poet is sad that his letters do not get any replies. So
he asks the messenger:

qasid tu hi bata tune to dekhe honge
woh khat kaise hote hain jinke jawab aate hain

( Messenger, you tell me, you may have seen them
  what do those letters look like which are replied to?!)

The poet doesn’t just go by the message. He also wants to
understand the mood of his beloved from the messenger:

ta-ammul to tha un ko aane mein qasid
magar yeh bata tarz-e-inkaar kya thi

( Okay so she did consider before refusing to come, messenger
  but tell me what her tone of refusal was)


qasid payam-e-shauk ko dena bahut na tool
kehna faqat yeh unse ki ankhen taras gayeen

( messenger, there is no need speak about my longing for her in too much detail
  just tell her that my eyes are filled with only one desire: to see her)


The characters of romantic urdu poetry part 7

Since the saqi is such an important part of urdu poetry so we have decided to add
a few more shers in her honour.

abhi raat kuch hai baqi, na utha naqab saqi
tera rind girte-girte kahin phir sambhal na jaaye

( The morning is still a few hours away, do not lift your veil O Saqi
  Because if you do the drunk poet may not fall down and may ask for more wine)

Our poet is always suspicious. When he does not get wine from the saqi he suspects something:

mujh tak kab unki bazm mein aata tha daur-e-jaam
saqi nein kuch mila na diya ho sharab mein

( The wine glasses never reached me in her party
  I am sure the saqi has mixed something in the wine- something that she did not want me to taste)

Okay. What happens if the wine is there but the saqi is not? The poet protests!

main bhi hai, meena bhi hai, sagar bhi hai, par saqi nahin
ji mein aata hai ke aag laga dein mainkhaane ko hum

( The wine is there, the cup is there, the wine is there but the saqi is nowhere to be seen
  This is unfair. The tavern deserves to be burnt)

Some poets expect a little bit too much from the saqi 🙂 :

nasha pila kar girana to sab ko aata hai
maza to tab hai jab girton ko thaam le saqi

( anyone can give some drinks and make people fall
  but the real test of a saqi is if she can hold the drinkers and prevent them from  falling)

Siddarth Bhatia has contributed a sher. This is about the poet breaking his promise of not drinking

baat saqi ki na taali jayegi
kar ke tauba tod daali jayegi

( I cannot go against my saqi’s word
  I will promise not to drink but if my saqi offers wine I will break my promise)


mujhe sharab ki tauhmat nahin manzoor
mujhe teri nigah ka ilzaam chaahiye

( I do not want to be blamed for drinking wine
  I want to be accused for being a target of your glance.)


The characters of romantic urdu poetry part 6


            This is the 6th part of our MHFL series on the main characters of urdu poetry. We have already
covered the poet, the beloved and the raqeeb( enemy). Today we will talk about the saqi. The saqi is
a person who pours wine. In urdu poetry the saqi is always a beautiful woman who pours wine.

baat bhi teri rakhni hai saqi, zarf ko bhi na ruswa karenge
jaam de ya na de aaj humko maikade mein savera karenge

( I do not want to say no to the wine that you offer “Saqi” but I also want to exercise self control
  You may give or not give any wine to me but I will spend the entire night in the tavern)

The poet knows that the saqi is sometimes unfair. She gives more attention to some people
and less to others. Sometimes the saqi and the beloved are the same person- beautiful and cruel!

sab ki saqi pe ho nazar yeh zaroori hai magar
sab pe saqi ki nazar ho yeh zaroori to nahin

( It is true that everyone looks at the saqi
  but it is also true that the saqi does not look at everyone)

The saqi and the wine that she offers relieve the poet of his worldly problems:

dekhenge ke aata hai kidhar se gham-e-duniya
saqi hum tumhein saamnein bithla ke piyenge

( I will see from where the problems of the world can come to me
  saqi, I will make you sit in front of me and then I will drink wine)

The saqi’s wine and music make a heady combination:

ai mutrib-e-bebak koi aaur bhi nagma
ai saqi-e-fayaaz sharab aaur zyaada

( O unrestrained singer please sing one more song
  o generous Saqi, one more wine cup for me please , hic)

The poet just wants the saqi to pour wine. He knows that she will not even
offer a wine cup. Then the poet says:

pila de ok se saqi jo hum se nafrat hai
pyaala gar nahin deta na de, sharab to de

( I will drink wine by making a cup of my hand Saqi, if you hate me
  do not give me a glass but you can still pour some wine)

Sometimes the saqi does not even need to pour wine. A glance from her
is enough to intoxicate the poet:

khanakte jaam ka mohtaaj main nahin saqi
teri nigah salamat mujhe kami kya hai?

( I am not a slave to the wine glass O saqi
  You just grant me your glances and I will never be short of intoxication)


woh le ke utthe hain hoom-e-sugoo aree ai “shakeel” kahan hai tu
tera jaam lene ko bazm mein kahin koi aaur haath barha na de
( she has got up with some warm wine in the jar, but where are you Shakeel?
  someone else may claim the wine that was meant for you)



The characters of romantic urdu poetry part 5

Dear Friends,


  We will continue our discussion about the characters of urdu poetry.
In today’s post we will discuss the poet’s enemy. He is called “raqeeb” in urdu.
Sometimes he is also called “gair”( the other one, or in legal parlace “third party”)


The poet’s beloved gives more importance to the raqeeb than the poet. The poet feels
jealous of their relationship:


neendein usi ki, khwaab usi ke, raatein usi ki
jis ke shaane pe teri zulfein parishaan ho gayeen


( His is the sleep, his are the dreams, his are the nights
  on whose shoulders your long hair have become disheveled)


The beloved likes the rival more but she wants to retain the 
admiration of the poet. This our poet cannot understand:


yehi hai aazmaana to sataana kis ko kehte hain
adu ke ho liye jab tum to mera imtehaan kyon ho?


( If this is a trial then what is torture?
  When you have gone to the rival then why do you still test my faith?)


The poet sometimes tells his beloved that he is okay with her romancing
the rival if she could spare some time to meet him also:


tum jaano tumko gair se jo rasm-e-raah ho,
mujhko bhi poochte raho to kya gunah ho?


( Your relation with the rival is no concern of mine
  but why dont you sometimes also meet me, that would not be too much to ask)


The poet thinks that the beloved is “collecting” rivals just to make the poet feel bad. Of course, it

is not true. He is just jealous of all the admirers of the beloved.


jama karte ho kyon rakeebon ko?
ik tamasha hua, gila na hua


( why do you collect so many rivals?
  why are you trying to make your anger with me a public show)


Our poet wants to avoid all contact with the rival. But how?
If he wants to meet the beloved he has to go to his rival also- that is
where the beloved is usually found!


jaana pada hai raqeeb ke dar par hazaar baar
Ai, kash! jaanta na teri rehguzar ko main


( I have had to visit my rival’s door a thousant times, Alas!
  I wish I had never known your frequented path)


But in some rare cases the poet develops an admiration for the rival.
If the beloved has loved the rival then the rival is also worthy of admiration:


woh hazaar dushman-e-jaan sahi, mujhe gair phir bhi aziz hai
jise khaak-e-pa teri choo gayi, woh bura bhi ho to bura nahin


( He is my foe but I still hold the rival dear
  If something has even been touched by your feet it becomes worthy of my admiration)




aa ke wabasta hain us husn ki yaadein tujhse 
jis nein is dil ko parikhaana baana rakha tha
jis ki utfat mein bhula rakhi thi duniya humnein
dair ko dair ka afsaana bana rakha tha


( come my rival, for with you are associated the memories of that beauty
  who had made my heart a fairy land
  in whose memories I had forgotten the affairs of the world
  who had caused me to create the story of my life)



The characters of romantic urdu poetry part 4


                Today we continue our discussion about how the poet projects his beloved in Urdu poetry.

Sometimes the beloved wants to know the reason for the poet’s pain. But the poet knows that she
cannot or would not want to help him get over the pain:

rahi na taakat-e-guftaar aaur agar ho bhi
to kis umeed pe kahiye ke aarzoo kya hai

( I do not have the strength to speak but even if I had it
  on the basis of what hope should I speak about my condition or desire?)

The beloved wants to know why the poet is unhappy. But how will the poet tell her that she is the cause of
his unhappiness:

woh purshish-e-gham ko aaye hain, kuch keh na sakon, chup reh na sakon
khamosh rahon to mushkil hai, keh doon to shikayat hoti hai

( She has come to ask the reason for my unhappiness, I cannot speak and I cannot remain quiet
  it is difficult to remain quiet and if I speak it would just be a set of complaints about her)

The beloved enjoys the attention that the poet gives her. But she cannot respond in a manner that
would satisfy the poet. Her love interest is the “raqueeb” ( poet’s enemy). But she becomes concerned if the poet
shows less interest in her:

“faiz” unko hai takaaza-e-wafa humse jinhein
aashna ke naam se pyaara hai begaane ka naam

( Faiz she expects sincerity from me though
  for her someone else is more dear than me)

The poet tries his best to remind her about the fact that she is not being nice to him. But he realizes that
telling her about her indifferent nature will not make her love him:

nakaalna chaahata hai kaam kya taanoon se tu “ghalib”
tere be-mehar kehne se woh tujh par meharbaan kyon ho ?

( what will u achieve by taunting her o “Ghalib” ?
  if you call her “unkind” why should she be kind towards you ? )

So what can our poet do? He can do just one thing: write more and more poetry.
And that is what he does. And he attaches a lot of pride and importance to his poetry.
He tries to feel that he is a martyr to love and doing the world a favour. This is because
his ego has been hurt in love and he somehow wants to restore it by feeling that he  and
his poetry have a greater purpose:

asbab-e-gham-e-ishq baham karte rahenge
veerani-e-dauran pe karam karte rahenge !

( I will keep spreading the message of love’s sorrow
  This will be my gift to these desolate times)

ik tanz-e-tagaful hai, so woh unko mubarak
ik arz-e-tamanna hai, woh hum karte rahenge!

( There is a habit of indifference, and she is welcome to it
  And there is an declaration of desire, I will keep expressing

But in the end we must thank the beloved for her indifference and cruelity.
You have made the poet a poet. You have compelled him to express himself.
You have given him pain that deserves poetry.


hum nein sab sher mein sanwaare thay
hum se jitnein sukhan tumhaare thay


The characters of romantic urdu poetry part 3


Today we will continue our discussion about the characters of romantic urdu poetry.
In today’s MHFL we will talk about the various aspects of the beloved. But remember: we are looking
at the beloved from the perspective of the poet- the poet’s own feelings sometimes get mixed into
the actual personality of the beloved.

The beloved is always extremely beautiful. See this Ghalib sher:

jab woh jamaal-e-dilfaroz, soorat-e-mehr-e-neem-roz
khud hi ho nazaara soz, parde mein moonh chupaaye kyon?

( Why should that enchanting beauty, like the midday sun ablaze
  hide herself behind a veil, when noone can see her dazzling beauty directly?)

The beloved’s beauty is captivating. The poet thinks that it has the power to make
people slaves:

usay haal-o-kaal se waasta, na garaz maqam-o-kayam se
jise koi nisbat-e-khas ho tere husn-e-barq-e-khiraam se

( He has no concern with his situation or well being, he does not care about success or position
  This happens to a person who becomes associated with your lightening bolt like beauty)

So it is a given that the beloved is beautiful. The beloved is aware of the poet’s interest
in her and quite enjoys the attention without revealing any love interest on her side:

udhar ik haraf ke kushtani, yahan laakh uzr tha guftani
jo kaha to sun se ura diya, jo likha to parh ke mita diya

( from her there was only one word: destroy/finish
  And from my side there were the desire to say a thousand
  words to her.
  What I said was heard and instantly forgotten. And what
  I wrote was read and instantly erased)

The beloved is not a kind hearted one. She knows that the poet is hurt but she cannot and
does not want to cure him:

chara gari beemar-e-dil ki rasm-e-shahar-e-husn nahin
warna dilbar-e-nadaan bhi is dard ka chaara jaane hai

( Beautiful faces do not bother themselves with curing the pains of
  the suffering hearts. Otherwise my beloved would also have tried to
  bring some relief to my heart ache)

The poet feels that he is being unfairly treated by the object of his affection.

na sawal-e-wasl, na arz-e-gham, na hikayatein, na shikayatein
tere ahad mein dil-e-zaar ke sabhi ikhteyaar chale gaye

( I cannot request a meeting, cannot state my grief,
  cannot make a complaint, cannot tell my story…..
  In your reign the fundamental rights of the “afflicted heart”
  have been taken away! UNFAIR!)


aitbaar badhta hai aaur bhi mohabbat ka
jab woh ajnabi bankar paas se guzarte hain