Urdu Poetry – Journey through TIME
Change and rebirth are inscribed in the D.N.A of Urdu poetry. It has been continuously reinventing itself in every phase of its existence through the last 300 years, both in its content and appearance. It is this adaptability that has enabled it to serve the emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of poetry lovers at every point of time and space. The moving mirror of Urdu poetry has always reflected every change in the moods and patterns of thought and feeling of people at any particular period of time. It has also been a trend-setter in the way people live life and interprets it. Urdu poetry has given concrete shape to vague feelings and emotions and clearly audible expression to mute voices struggling to find words.
From the second half of the 17th to the first half of the 18th centuries, Urdu poetry passed through the phase of finding its linguistic move of expression it’s idiom from the linguistic resources of various languages like Braj, Punjabi, Gujri, Dakani etc. After establishing its linguistic base and contours, Urdu poetry took unbelievably fast strides on its way to excellence. 18th century saw the emergence of many great Urdu poets like Sauda, Dard, Mushafi with Mir Taqi Mir towering them all as one of the greatest bards not only of Urdu but all the languages in the world.
19th century was the era when the language gained in refinement and sophistication and rare ability to express complex and nuanced psychological, emotional and spiritual situations. Ghalib led the galaxy of Urdu poets like Momin, Aatish, Zauq in creating new benchmarks of excellence in poetry.
With end of the classical era in 1857, the entire Indian subcontinent came under the spell of far-reaching changes on many fronts. One front was the struggle against the colonial domination. On another front, the traditional ways of thought and action came under question. The progressive movement gave expression to both the anti-colonial and anti-tradition sentiment, resulting in producing a new wave of poetry dominated by an urge to seek equality and justice for all. Modernists soon followed to capture the nuances of human self and its spiritual angst.
Post partition, Pakistan started emerging as an independent centre of Urdu poetry, soon establishing its own idioms and content base in the works of Zafar Iqbal, Ahmad Mushtaq, Saqi Faruqi, and Munir Niyazi. In India, Urdu poetry found an entirely distinctive identity in Mohd. Alvi, Adil Mansoori, Shahryar, Baani, Nida Fazli etc from 1960s onwards.
In 1980, another waves emerged to invest the Urdu poetry with a voice that synthesised the progressive and modernist trends into a new poetic idiom, on both sides of the border. Presently, one sees in India an unprecedented surge in the interest in Urdu poetry, in terms of a growing number of youth writing poetry as well as those who read and listen to it. More interestingly, the high percentage of non-Muslims among the producers and consumers of Urdu poetry is reinvigorating the pluralist ethos of the Urdu language.