Thursday, August 13, 2009

Urdu Poets ( Meer Anees)

Mir Babbar Ali Anis ( Urdu: مير ببر علي انيس ) was a renowned Urdu poet. He was born in Faizabad in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in 1803 and died in 1874.

His father, Mir Khaliq who was a famous poet and litterateur, took personal interest in the education and upbringing of his son, and entrusted him to the care of reputed contemporary teachers, Mir Najaf Ali Faizabadi and Maulvi Hyder Ali Lucknavi. In addition, Anis's mother who was an educated and pious lady, played a significant role in shaping the personality of the boy poet. But above all, it was the boy's own instinctive urge for learning and literature that made him an accomplished poet, proficient in Arabic, Persian and Islamic scriptures, and well-versed in logic, literature and philosophy. Poetry came to him as ancestral heritage, for his forbears, going back to his great grandfather, were eminent poets and men of letters. Anis was the grandson of Mir Hasan who is remembered for his immortal Masnavi, Sehir-ul-Bayaan. His parents had migrated in their old age to Lucknow, where he spent the best part of his life.
Anis had started writing poetry quite early in his life right at Faizabad, though he perfected his art in Lucknow under the supervision of Imam Bakhsh Nasikh. In keeping with the popular trend, he first tried his hand at the ghazal, but failing to make much headway in this sphere, he changed over, under the advice of his father, to the writing of marsias, in which domain he soon established a high reputation, equaled (sometimes) by his poetic compare, Salamat Ali Dabir. Anees broadened the scope of this genre by including in its body, in addition to the customary lamentation and mourning, realistic scenes of the battlefield, graphic delineations of the hero's face and figure, lively portrayals of the emotional states of the combatants, accurate descriptions of the landscape, and occasional interludes of moral edification. Anis was a master of simple, natural utterance, with a superb command on the language, which was always adequate to express a large variety of moods, scenes, characters and situations. He is specially notable for presenting the same scene or situation, over and over again, in different words or phrases, without letting it appear monotonous. Besides being a master of the marsia, Anis was also a specialist of the rubai, the shortest complete poem in Urdu, containing only four lines.
Anis died in 1874 at the age of 71. The Marsia, strictly speaking, is an elegiac poem written to commemorate the martyrdom and valour of Hazrat Imam Hussain and his comrades of the Battle of Karbala. In its form the marsia generally consists of six-line units, with a rhyming quatrain, and a couplet on a different rhyme. This form found a specially congenial soil in Lucknow, chiefly because it was the centre of Shia community, which regarded it an act of piety and religious duty to eulogies and bemoan the martyrs of the battle of Karbala, and Even a short poem written to mourn the death of a friend can be called marsia. Lord Alfred Tennyson's poem 'In Memoriam' can rightly be called marsia. The sub-parts of marsia are called noha and soz which means lamentation and burning of (heart) respectively. It is usually a poem of mourning. The form reached its peak in the writing of Mir Babbar Ali Anis.
The famous marsia writers who inherited the tradition of Mir Anis among his successive generations are Mir Nawab Ali 'Munis', Dulaha Sahab 'Uruj', Mustafa Meerza urf Piyare Sahab 'Rasheed', Syed Muhammad Mirza Uns, Ali Nawab 'Qadeem', Syed Sajjad Hussain 'Shadeed', Syed Sajjad Hussain "Shadeed" Lucknavi, Dr. Syed Ali Imam Zaidi, "Gauher" Luckhnavi the great grandson of Mir Babber Ali Anis.

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