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dil se niklegī na mar kar bhī vatan ulfat

merī miTTī se bhī ḳhushbū-e-vafā aa.egī

dil se niklegi na mar kar bhi watan ki ulfat

meri miTTi se bhi KHushbu-e-wafa aaegi

Lal Chand Falak
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vatan ḳhaak se mar kar bhī ham ko uns baaqī hai

mazā dāmān-e-mādar hai is miTTī ke dāman meñ

watan ki KHak se mar kar bhi hum ko uns baqi hai

maza daman-e-madar ka hai is miTTi ke daman mein

Chakbast Brij Narayan

ye kyā tilism hai kyuuñ raat bhar sisaktā huuñ

vo kaun hai jo diyoñ meñ jalā rahā hai mujhe

ye kya tilism hai kyun raat bhar sisakta hun

wo kaun hai jo diyon mein jala raha hai mujhe

Saqi Faruqi

ye jabr bhī dekhā hai tārīḳh nazroñ ne

lamhoñ ne ḳhatā thī sadiyoñ ne sazā paa.ī

ye jabr bhi dekha hai tariKH ki nazron ne

lamhon ne KHata ki thi sadiyon ne saza pai

Muzaffar Razmi

sarfaroshī tamannā ab hamāre dil meñ hai

dekhnā hai zor kitnā bāzu-e-qātil meñ hai

sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil mein hai

dekhna hai zor kitna bazu-e-qatil mein hai

Bismil Azimabadi


  • साक़ी
  • ساقی


one who serves wine

āñkheñ saaqī jab se dekhī haiñ

ham se do ghūñT nahīñ jaatī

aankhen saqi ki jab se dekhi hain

hum se do ghunT pi nahin jati


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Benefitting from the Western literary tradition, Urdu poetry became free from the fetters of Qafiya and Radeef, giving way to the now-popular forms of Nazms; Azad Nazm and Muarra Nazm. However, these poems do follow the order of prosody. Muarra Nazm, or blank verse, is free of Qafiya and all its lines are united by one meter. For instance, Jan Nisar Akhtar’s nazm ’Mahakti Hui Raat’:
Ye tire pyar ki khush-buu se mahakti hui raat
Apne siine mein chhupae tire dil ki dhadkan
Aaj phir teri ada se mire paas aaii hai
Azad Nazm, or free verse, too, follows one meter, but its lines can be atypically shaped; some short, others long. Makhdoom Mohiuddin’s Nazm ‘Chaara-gar’ begins as follows:
ik chamelī ke manDve-tale
mai-kade se zarā duur us moḌ par
do badan
pyaar kī aag meñ jal ga.e
Additionally, lines with same rhymes can also be incorporated in an Azad Nazm. Like in Faiz’s Nazm, ‘Tum Mire Paas Raho’:
tum mire paas raho
mire qātil, mire dildār mire paas raho
jis ghaḌī raat chale,
āsmānoñ kā lahū pī ke siyah raat chale
marham-e-mushk liye, nashtar-e-almās liye
bain kartī huī hañstī huī gaatī nikle
dard ke kāsnī pāzeb bajātī nikle
Tassaduq Hussain Khalid, Meeraji, and N. M. Rashid are considered to be the pioneers of Azad Nazm. Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Sardar Jafari and Akhtar-ul-Iman are also prominent poets of this genre.


Urdu literature can be classified into two genres- Nasr (prose) and Nazm (poetry). Nazm literally means to string pearls into a necklace. Besides Ghazal, all other forms of poetry, like Qasida, Marsiya, Musaddas, etc., can be referred to as Nazms. There are 4 kinds of Nazms- Paband, Azad, Mu’arra, and Nasri. Paband Nazm is bound by form and both rhyme and refrain (Radeef & Qafiya) are essential to it. With all the hemistiches written in the same meter, it centers upon a single theme, with its own distinct title. Paband Nazm, when written in four lines is called Murabba’; five lines, Mukhammas, and; six lines, Musaddas.
The preserve of Urdu literature vividly abounds in these theme-centered Nazms. One important exponent of such Nazms is Nazeer Akbarabadi who wrote delightful poems on the seasons, festivals, and the everyday life of India. After him, for a long time, the canvas of Nazm remained colorless. Later, Muhammad Hasan Azad, Hali, and Shibli wrote well in this genre about nature, morality, and patriotism. Iqbal brought Nazm to its very peak. The Nazms of Sahir, Kaifi Azmi, Sardar Jafari and Akhtar-ul- Iman are also treasured pieces of Urdu poetry.


Ghazal, the most popular genre of Urdu poetry, is originally an Arabic word which literally means talking to women or talking about women. The painful wail coming out of the mouth of a baby deer is also called ghazal. Ghazal originated in Arabia and from there reached Iran. And through Persian literature it made to the preserve of Urdu literature, becoming widely-accepted. According to Rashid Ahmed Siddiqui, ‘Ghazal is the pride of Urdu poetry.’ Ghazal is also closely related to music and rhythm.
A ghazal is a collection of couplets composed in the same meter, united by same sounding rhyming words (Qafiya) and refrain (Radeef). Radeef, or refrain, is a group of word(s) that are repeated at the end of each couplet. Qafiya, that is rhyme, are homophonic words that precede the Radeef in each couplet. Take the following couplet:
Hasti apni Habaab kii sii hai
Ye numaaish saraab kii sii hai
Here ‘Habab’ and ‘Sarab’ are Qafiya, and the phrase ‘Kii Sii hai” is the Radeef. The first couplet of a Ghazal is called ‘Matla’ in which both lines follow the same rhyme and refrain. In the couplets following the Matla, the first hemistich is exempted from this rule. A Ghazal’s last couplet, one which often cites the poet’s pen-name, is called ‘Maqta’.
Each couplet of a Ghazal is a unitary poem in itself, which can embody different motifs and themes. Sometimes a whole ghazal can be based on a single theme. The expanse of the ideas expressed in Ghazals is quite vast, including the expression of emotions, separation and union, complaining against time and the world, Sufism, metaphysics, and enlightenment.



The Mukhra of a famous song from Raj Kapoor’s film ‘Deewana’, is actually a couplet by Haider Ali Atish slightly changed by Hasrat Jaipuri. Atish’s couplet reads:
ai sanam jis ne tujhe chaa.nd sii suurat dii hai
usii allaah ne mujh ko bhii mohabbat dii hai
In the film song, the second line of the couplet has been changed to:
‘Usi Maalik ne mujhe bhi to muhabbat di hai’
Khawaja Haider Ali Atish (1778-1848) was born in Faizabad. Extremely handsome and elegant, his style and characteristics were like the ‘Bankaas’, or voguish ones of his time. He had learned swordsmanship, and from a very young age became a ‘Talwariya’ or swordsman with an innate bent for poetry. He was employed by Nawab Mirza Muhammad Khan Taqi ‘Taraqqi’ of Faizabad. When Nawab left Faizabad for Lucknow, Atish, too, moved along. His Ghazals do have the color of Lucknow but the fragrance is of Delhi. His and Nasikh’s contemporary feud was always on. Atish was an independent man and did not work for anyone after the death of Nawab. According to some accounts, Wajid Ali Shah used to confer upon him Rs. 80 a month from his days as a prince. Until the last moment, a horse was always tied outside his house. With a sword bound to his waist and a crooked hat, he maintained his military charm till the very end.


Shahr Ashob is a classic genre of Urdu poetry that was once written a lot. It is a poem that describes a city’s plight due to its political, social, and economic crisis. Shahr Ashobs have been written in the form of Masnavi, Qasida, Rubai, Mukhammas, Qita, and Musaddas. Shahr-Ashobs written by Mirza Muhammad Rafi Sauda and Mir Taqi Mir, are amongst the most noteworthy and memorable ones of Urdu, and relate the unemployment of the people, economic misery, and plunderage of Delhi. Nazir Akbarabadi has portrayed the economic misery of Agra, the plight of the army, and the utter disregard of nobles in his Shahr-Ashobs. The catastrophe that befell Delhi after the War of Independence of 1857, has also been made the motif of many a poet’s writings, including Ghalib, Dagh, and Maulana Hali. In 1954, Habib Tanveer, based on the poetry of Nazeer Akbarabadi, tellingly staged his famous play "Agra Bazaar", using the Shahr-Ashob in the form of a chorus.

Today's Special

Josh Malsiani

Josh Malsiani


One of the most prominent poets in the undivided Punjab.Honoured with Padma Shri in 1971

vatan sar-zamīñ se ishq o ulfat ham bhī rakhte haiñ

khaTaktī jo rahe dil meñ vo hasrat ham bhī rakhte haiñ

watan ki sar-zamin se ishq o ulfat hum bhi rakhte hain

khaTakti jo rahe dil mein wo hasrat hum bhi rakhte hain

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Anwar Shuoor 

2015 Kulliyat

Iqbal Dulhan

Bashiruddin Ahmad Dehlvi 

1908 Moral and Ethical

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Mahboob-Ullah Mujeeb 


Audhoot Ka Tarana


1958 Nazm

Shumara Number-002

Dr. Mohammad Hasan 

1970 Asri Adab

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