Elements of a Ghazal

bahr This is the metre of the poem. This can loosely thought of as the length of the sher. Both the lines of a sher MUST be of the same ‘bahr’ or ‘metre’. Also, all the ashaar of a Gazal MUST be of the same bahr. There are 19 different metres that are used in Urdu poetry. In simple terms, they are divided into three categories – short, medium and long. For more details, refer to the article on ‘bahr’ in the Article Archive. matlaa This is the first sher…

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Bah’r :: The Backbone of Shaayari

Author: Irfan ‘Abid’ Before I started writing this article, I thought several times if I had the knowledge and expertise to dwell on a subject as vast and complex as ‘shaayari’. After all, I have taken only the first step towards learning this great art. But then I thought that my experience might help those who are yet to take that first step. So here I am, with my explanation of ‘bah’r’, the most important technical aspect of shaayari. The purpose of this article is to give the readers a…

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Courtesans of Lucknow and Urdu Poetry

As Mughal rule in Delhi declined, the Nawabs of Avadh came into their own, of course with the help of English, who were more than eager to help. Many courtesans moved from Delhi and surrounding areas to Lucknow, and Urdu poets and the seat of Urdu poetry went with them, to Lucknow where easy money was available in abundance, thanks to the poor farmers, who, as usual, were unaware of the doings of their masters. The close association of the court, the courtesans, and Urdu can not be denied. The…

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Progressive Movement and Urdu Poetry

Author: Ali Sardar Jafri The Progressive Movement widened the horizon of Urdu poetry; liberated it from the classical cliche, and added fresh modern imagery structure to the poem; used the rhyming scheme with fresh vigour and introduced and developed new forms like free verse, dramatic and allegorical poems, with experiments in meters; gave it an ideological content and used it as a weapon in the freedom struggle fo India; denounced decadence and cynicism, yet discovered in this attitude also an element of protest against existing conditions; enriched the treasury of…

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