Saturday, September 5, 2009

Urdu Poets (Nawab Mirza Khan Daagh)

Nawab Mirza Khan (1831-1905) (Urdu: نواب مرزا خان ), commonly known as Daagh Dehlvi (Urdu: داغ دہلوی) was an outstanding Mughal poet famous for his Urdu ghazals and belonged to the Delhi school of Urdu poetry. He wrote poems and ghazals under the takhallus (Urdu word for nom de plume) 'Daagh Dehlvi' (the meanings of 'Daagh', an Urdu noun, include stain, grief and taint while 'Dehlvi' means belonging to or from Delhi).

He lost his father at the age of six and was brought up by his stepfather, Mirza Muhammad Fakhroo, who was heir to Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor. On Fakhroo's death in 1865, Daagh left Delhi for Rampur where he went into government service and lived comfortably for 24 years. There followed a period of wandering and discomfort which ended when he was invited to Hyderabad in 1891. There he won his fame as an Urdu poet and lived a life of luxury. (Hyderabad was a cradle to many poets of that period following the decline of Mughals in Delhi. He died in 1905 at the age of 74.

Daagh had started reciting poetry at the age of ten. His forte was the ghazal. His poetry does not wallow in despair. The tone of his poems is rather exuberant. He was a self-acknowledged romantic but contrary to the impression one gets from his poetry, he eschewed wine. Usage of common words and phrases and thus simplicity was distinctive of his style. His work comprises four volumes consisting of 16,000 couplets.

Daagh mostly wrote ghazals which are sets of two-line couplets. Some of his couplets are highly quotable. For example;
Tu hai harjai to apnaa bhi yehi taur sahi
Tu nahin aur sahi, aur nahin, aur sahi
He had numerous disciples, though a widely quoted anecdote relates that when asked to designate his successor as the leading Urdu poet of his age, he replied "Bekhudain [the two Bekhuds]", referring to Bekhud Badayuni and Bekhud Dehlvi.

His ghazals have been sung by noted ghazal singers including Ghulam Ali, Mehdi Hassan, and Abida Parveen.

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