Wali Muhammad Wali (1667-1707), (also known as Wali Deccani, Urdu: ولی دکنی and Wali Aurangabadi) was a classical Urdu poet of the subcontinent.
He was born in 1667 at Aurangabad, an important town in the present Maharashtra State. He loved travelling, which he regarded as a means of education.
He is the first established poet to have composed Ghazals in Urdu language and compiled a divan (a collection of ghazals where the entire alphabet is used at least once as the last letter to define the rhyme pattern).
Before Wali, Indian Ghazal was being composed in Persian - almost being replicated in thought and style from the original Persian masters like Saa'di, Jami and Khaqani. Wali began using not only an Indian language, but Indian themes, idioms and imagery in his ghazals. It is said that his visit to Delhi along with his divan of Urdu ghazals created a ripple in the literary circles of the north, inspiring them to produce stalwarts like Zauq, Sauda and Mir.
Wali Mohammed Wali's visit to Delhi in 1700 is considered to be of great significance for Urdu Gazals. His simple, sensuous and melodious poems in Urdu, awakened the Persian loving poets of Delhi to the beauty and capability of "Rekhta" (the old name for Urdu) as a medium of poetic expression. His visit thus stimulated the growth and development of Urdu Ghazal in Delhi.
Wali died in Ahmedabad in 1707, and was buried in the same city. On 28 February 2002, a mob tore down Wali’s little tomb in Ahmedabad and dug up his grave. An idol of Hulladio Hanuman was placed over the rubble. Overnight, the road was tarred and now no sign remains. Wali’s grave had stood outside the gate of the police commissioner’s office.
Although Wali tried his hand at a variety of verse forms including the masnavi, qasida, mukhammas, and the rubai, the ghazal is his speciality. He wrote 473 ghazals containing 3,225 couplets (Ashaar).
His favorite theme was love - both mystical and earthy - and his characteristic tone was one of cheerful affirmation and acceptance, rather than of melancholy grumbling. He was the first Urdu poet to have started the practice of expressing love from the man's point of view, as against the prevailing convention of impersonating as a woman.
If, on the one hand, Wali unraveled the beauty and richness of the native language as a poetic medium, on the other, he was alive to the vigour and verve of Persian diction and imagery which he successfully incorporated into the body of his verse. He may thus be called the architect of the modern poetic language, which is a skillful blend of Hindi and Persian vocabulary.