Tag Archives: Poetry

Dr Mehr Afshan Farooqi: Ghalib and Rampur: Present and Past Contexts

Rampur, in the eyes of the discerning, is the city Where the eight paradises have come together Rampur is an example of one vast garden, that is Alluring, fresh, verdant, immense and blissful Like clouds sprinkling rain in the month of savan The generous benefactor’s bounty flows like a river Ghalib: Qitah in praise of Nawab Kalbe Ali Khan

My recent sojourn to Rampur this past December to examine some rare manuscripts of Ghalib’s divan at the Raza Library prompted me to scrutinise Ghalib’s association with the Rampur Nawabs, with a view to assess the importance of Rampur in the larger picture of Ghalib’s life and work. Rampur holds a special place in the area of Ghalib studies because of the path-breaking work of Maulana Imtiaz Ali Khan Arshi (1904-81), who joined the Raza library in 1932, and produced a stream of authoritative works on Ghalib from there.

Maulana Arshi painstakingly collated and published what is still considered the most definitive edition of Ghalib’s divan (1958): he strove to put together an impressive archive of published and unpublished materials. During my visit I examined the artistically decorated 1857 manuscript that Ghalib had got specially calligraphed for Nawab Yousuf Ali Khan. I also saw the 1866 intikhab that Ghalib had put together at Nawab Kalbe Ali Khan’s request. The 1866 intikhab has both Persian and Urdu selections. There are visible corrections in Ghalib’s hand throughout the manuscript and notes on the flyleaf in Maulana Arshi’s meticulous handwriting. Continue reading

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Filed under Discussion, India, Kalam, Pakistan Horizon

Faiz Ahmed Faiz: The Romantic Rebel

Faiz Ahmed Faiz is an icon of Urdu poetry and belongs to that galaxy of poets which counts among others Ghalib and Allama Muhammad Iqbal as its shining stars.

Faiz was born in Sialkot, also the birth place of Iqbal. Both belong to Punjab, ‘that green patch between mountain and desert’. Faiz wrote romantic poetry infused with a revolutionary zeal. Victor Kiernan, who translated the works of Iqbal and Faiz and introduced them to the English speaking world, said: ‘Iqbal was a prophet of a newly incandescent Islam, Faiz a freethinker feeling his way towards Marxism’.

Biographies of Faiz mention that he was born into an academic and literary family. In fact, Faiz was from a poor family. His father was a self-made scholar.

Faiz had his early schooling in a traditional madrassa. He became academically proficient both in Arabic and English, and secured post-graduate degrees in both disciplines. Interestingly he secured his honours degree in Arabic under the tutelage of Syed Mir Hassan who had also tutored Iqbal.

At some point in his life, Faiz got drawn into Marxism and became a committed communist and joined the Progressive Writers movement which boasted as its members the likes of Sajjad Zaheer. Continue reading


Filed under Discussion, Dr Reeza Hameed, Pakistan, Pakistan Horizon