Meer Taqi Meer: A Poet, whose patronage shaped the Urdu Language!

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Only you are not the Expert of Rekhta (early Urdu), they say that there was a Meer in the bygone era as well. Mirza Ghalib had told it about Meer Taqi Meer, who is regarded as the God of Poetry. It was the Rekhta who motivated Ghalib to compose poetry in this very language giving up writing in the Persian Language. However, some other poets of the age such as Sauda, Mazhar, Nazeer Akbarabadi and Dard had started composing poetry in Urdu but the influence of Meer was greater.

       Ali Sardar Jafri observes in ‘Diwan-e-Meer’ “Although Ghalib and Iqbal are more famous in popularity and their books are sold more compared to ‘Kulliyat-e-Meer’. Their couplets are recited more frequently and their influence is more. Nevertheless, we can find such persons who deny the greatness of Ghalib and Iqbal but the greatness of Meer is accepted by all.

              Meer Taqi Meer has written about himself in ‘Zikr-e-Meer‘. Prakash Pandit who has written extensively on the Indian Poets writes about Meer: “The Ancestors of Meer had migrated from Hijaz ‘the land of the Prophet Muhammad, to India. First they came to Hyderabad from where they set for Ahmadabad and finally settling in Akbarabad (Agra).    

              The father of Meer Taqi Meer was a Faujdar and his childhood was not a happy one.  Due to loan constrains and in search of the job, Meer Taqi Meer had shifted to Delhi and here Nawab Samauddaula fixed Rs. 1/- per day for his livelihood.

Only after five years, Nadir Shah attacked Delhi in 1739. Samauddaula got killed. Meer Taqi Meer returned to Agra where he fell in love with the daughter of Khan Arzu so deeply that he forgot everything and his poetry gained the ground. After Nadir Shah, Ahmad Shah Abdali plundered Delhi and all the persons of letters and arts deserted the city and settled somewhere else.

              During this period, Meer Taqi Meer roamed about hither and thither aimlessly. He changed his abode visiting the places of Allahabad, Bengal, Bharatpur and Delhi in between and when he got bored of all places, Meer adopted Lucknow. At the time, Nawab Asifuddaula was the ruler there. It was a desired destination for almost every artist but Meer went to Lucknow on the insistence of Nawab in the year 1782.

The end of the Mughals and the plundering of Nadir Shah made the Persian strange. Urdu grew in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century. Urdu is called to be the language of the army because the language which grew in the gathering of solders became Urdu. Writing of Meer and Urdu to become a language happened almost in the same time. Urdu became young by degrees moving ahead while holding the hands of Meer under his patronage.

       In his book “Sher-e-Shorangez”, Shamusur Rehman Farooqui writes that we find the influence of Meer on Ghalib many times. Meer wrote total six poetry collections. The first one was published about in 1752 and the last one in 1810. He composed about 13 thousand couplets.

There is a misconception that Meer was a poet of common folk. His diction is colloquial. His ideas are sublime. He has used Arabic and Persian words as well. The language of Meer has directness. The poetry of Meer is simple as well as moving but he applies ambiguity as well sometimes. We find love and agony after its failure in the poetry of Meer. He died on Friday, 21 September 1810. The marker of his burial place was removed in modern times when railway tracks were built over his grave.   

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