Wali Gujarati: Father of Urdu poetry | TwoCircles.net
Wali Gujarati: Father of Urdu poetry
By Kashif-ul-Huda, TwoCircles.net,
There are disputes over when and where Urdu poet Wali Gujarati was born and when he died. But what is not in dispute is Wali’s contribution to Urdu poetry. Also not in dispute is when and why his tomb was razed to the ground and road built over it.
Wali Gujarati also known as Wali Dakkani is considered as father of the Urdu poetry because he for the first time able to use the new and emerging language of Urdu for complicated and serious thoughts, at par with Persian poetry of that time.
He died three hundred years ago. He was buried in Ahmadabad in his family graveyard. In independent India, Wali’s grave got cut off from the rest of the graveyard and ended up being in the middle of the road. In 2002, during the violence that killed thousands and saw destruction of hundreds of mosques and dargahs (tombs), also removed any signs of Wali’s dargah and overnight a road built on top of it. Wali’s dargah stood steps away from the Police Commissioner’s office.
While BJP chief minister Narendra Modi presided over the razing of the dargah, it was Ahmadabad Municipal Corporation under Congress Mayor Himmatsinh Patel that moved quickly to build the road over it.
But Wali’s imprint on Urdu poetry is so deep that to remove any signs of Wali, they have to kill Urdu as well. Now, why is Wali considered Father of Urdu shayari? One can ask the question what about Ameer Khusro, who three hundred years before Wali was composing poetry in local language. But look closely at Ameer’s poems and you will see that the “majma-ul-bahrain” or the intermingling of two oceans of India and Muslim culture has yet to take place.
Consider these famous lines:
Zeehaal-e miskeen makun taghaful, duraye naina banaye batiyan; ki taab-e hijran nadaram ay jaan, na leho kaahe lagaye chhatiyan.
[Do not overlook my misery Blandishing your eyes, and weaving tales; My patience has over-brimmed, O sweetheart, Why do you not take me to your bosom.]
They go together beautifully but Persian never crosses its own line to spill over to the line in Brij Bhasha. Genius of Wali was to bridge that mental gap that existed among the educated elites of that time that high-class poetry can only be in Persian.
Wali’s visit to Delhi exposed this new language’s poetic possibilities to the poets there. Another doyen of Urdu poetry Meer Taqi Meer, who was born just a generation after Wali was influenced him so much that he wrote this paying tribute to Wali:
Khugar nahin kuch yun hi hum Rikhta-goi kay/ Mashooq jo apna tha, bashinda-e-Dakhan tha (It isn’t casually that I began dabbling in Urdu/I picked it from my lover, a native of the Deccan).”
And had it not been for Wali, poets like Meer and Ghalib would not have appeared in Urdu and this language would not have even taken seriously as a literary language. Wali, took many of the expressions, idioms, and poetic techniques from Farsi traditions and made it work in Urdu. He also enriched Urdu with local words making Urdu and his poetry uniquely Indian.
But he also borrowed heavily from the Muslim tradition and works those imagery in his poetry. Sample these two ashaars.
Lab pe dilbar ke jalwa-gar hai jo khaal ( mole) Hauz-e-kausar pe jyuN kharha hai bilal
I have not seen a mole described as beautifully and sacred as in the sher above.
ai qibla-roo hamesha mehrab meiN bhawaaN ki karti haiN teri palkaaN mil kar namaaz goya
notice the dakkani influence in use of the words for eyebrows and eyelashes.
Moosa jo aa ke dekhe tujh noor ka tamasha Uss ko pahaarh howe phir toor ka tamasha
A selection of his poetry:
Ai noor-e-jaan-o-deeda tere intezaar mein Muddat hui palak soon palak aashna nahiN
Phir meri khair lene wo sayyad na aaya Shayad ke mera haal usse yaad na aaya
Sharaab-e-shauq se sarshaar hain ham Kabhi bekhud, kabhi hushiyar hain ham
Bayis-e-ruswai-e-aalam wali Muflisi hai, muflisi hai, muflisi hai
Aisa basa hai aa kar tera khyaal jiyu meiN Mushkil hai jyuN soon tujhko ab imtiyaz karna
Aijaz-e-husn dekh ke wo roye ba-arq Paida kiya hai chashma-e-aatish se aab aaj
dil-e-ishaaq kyuN na huay raushan jab khyaal-e-sanam chiragh hua
asr-e-baaadah-e-jawani hai kar gaya hooN sawal kuchh ka kuchh
ai wali uss be-wafa ki meharbani par na bhool dil ka dushman hai, magar karta hai baateiN pyaar ki
tujh judaai mein nahiN akela main dard-o-gham aas paas hota hai
wali uss gauhar-e-kaan-e-haya ki kya kahooN khoobi mere ghar iss tarah aata hai jyuN seene meiN raaz aaye