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DID YOU KNOW ?

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.

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Haidar

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.

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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.

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Last year, one of the world's most credible English dictionary, Cambridge, added a frequently spoken Urdu word, "Achcha” to its wordlist. The word was added since it is also commonly used in Indian-English. The dictionary cites its meanings in terms of ‘happiness (khushi)’, and as ‘an expression of wonder, or something like, really?’ It has also illustrated its use by citing a few sentences as examples.
But in Urdu, the word ‘Achcha’ gives away several other meanings which include, Theek, dusrust (okay, fine); as an opposite of bad; Bahut Khuub! (yeah, great! – used sarcastically); as an expression of comforting or pacifying (it’s all right); prevaricating or procrastinating- dekha jayega! (we’ll see!); Sun liya? (Understood? - used emphatically/admonishingly), and last but not the least as, Samjhe? (get it?)
And, like this famous film song:
“Achcha! To Hum Chalte Hain”
The word is also used to refer to being healthy or free from any illness, as in the case of Ghalib’s couplet:
dard minnat-kash-e-davaa na hu.aa
mai.n na achchhaa hu.aa buraa na hu.aa

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Hajw (Lampoon), is a kind of poetry in which a poet expresses his anger against a person or a rival. Some people consider it to be a kind of Qasida. In Urdu, the practice of composing Hajw precisely started with Muhammad Rafi Sauda (1713-1781). He composed his Hajws in all genres of poetry like Qasida, Masnawi, Qita, Ghazal, Rubai, etc.
Muhammad Hussain Azad writes in ‘Ab-e-Hayat’, that Sauda had a slave named "Ghuncha", who was always in his service and carried Sauda’s pen-case around him. Whenever Sauda was affronted with someone, he’d call out, ‘Arey Ghunche, laa to Qalam-daan, zaraa main is ki khabar to lun, ye mujhe samjha kya hai?’. 
Sauda wrote a variety of lampoons, some are charged with the bantering of rivals, some possessing accounts of moral mending, and others imbued with satirizing the political turmoil and financial misery of the times. Sauda also lampooned upon on an elephant and a horse. ‘Tazheek-e-Rozgar’, Sauda’s famous Hajw, centers around an incapable horse, that was actually a metaphor for the last days of the Mughal empire and hinted towards the political and economic catastrophe of that period.