Poetry is the penultimate form of expression of one’s emotions and thoughts. Literature’s gift to mankind in true sense. Hymns, sonnets, ballad, blank verse, and several other forms of poetry have been easing men make history and magic with words. Wordsworth to Sarojini Naidu, every laureate said the best through the art of poetry. Having said that, Urdu is another gift to mankind that has ever since its origin been helping people cloth elegance to words and feelings. It is the language of love, a language that makes everything fancy and regal. And what better way to de-clutter the thoughts, emotions, and feelings in your heart and mind than through poems that too in the most romantic language ever — Urdu. Down below you have 9 Urdu poets whose creations you need to read now to inspire and satisfy the secret poet in you.
#1 Allama Iqbal Poetry
Before you come to a conclusion, no Allama Iqbal isn’t some form of poetry, but a great Urdu poet who was born in undivided India. He is often remembered as the revolutionary of Pakistan. Anyway, Allama Iqbal is not only famous for his shayaris, but his poems are read the world over. Allama Iqbal poetry has a reputation of being spiritual, religious and philosophical in nature. He was successful in intertwining his philosophical thoughts with the teachings of the Quoran. He wrote mostly in Persian followed by Urdu and English.
He emphasize the power of Khudi or Self in his famous Asrar-e-Khudi and highlights the magic of self-knowledge and self-realization. On the other hand, in Rumaz-i-Bekhudi he switches to the idea that once you achieve your characteristics, you must sacrifice your personal ambition for the greater good of your nation, something so relate-able even today. Payam-e-Mashriq, Gulshan-e-Raz-e-Jadeed, and Bandagi Nama, Tarana-e-Hind, Tarana-e-Milliare few of the many beautiful creations by Iqbal Saab that deserve a read.
Btw, did you know this very famous line” khudi ko kar buland itna ki har taqdir se pehle khuda bande se khud puchhe bata teri raza kya hai” was written by none other than Allama Iqbal himself.
#2 Mirza Ghalib
Who doesn’t know of Mirza Ghalib Saab? Urdu poetry would have never become popular among the millennium without his contribution. Instagram and Tumblr are full of shayris written by him. One of the most prominent figures of Urdu literature, Mirza Asadullah Khan Baig was born in Agra on 27 December 1797. Although not much is known about his educational qualification, he is said to be well versed in Urdu, Persian, Turkish and Arabic. He was a prominent figure in the court of Bahadur Shah Zafar II. Mirza ji started composing at a tender age of 11 and won hearts of people with the depths of his nazms and poetry. His Ghazals are said to explore the world of philosophy and mysteries of life and not just love. Often, death was the center theme in many of his poems.
He believed in seeking God and not blindly following religious practices. His literary creations, Abr-i-Gauharbar(The Jewel-Carrying Cloud) and a qasida (satiric poem) of 101 verses shower his love and respect for The Muhammad. His master writings can be enjoyed in the forms of ghazals, qasida, and masnavi. Not just this, often his creations have been used in Bollywood songs by eminent personalities, one being Jagit Singh himself. Anyone who has a profound love for this language and poetry should read Ghalib Saab’s work to make the most of it. It will surely mesmerize you.
#3 Faiz Ahmad Faiz
The mujh se pehle si Mohabbat mere Mehboob na maang poet is known for his soulful take on pain and heartbreaks. Faiz Ahmad Faiz was born on 13th February 1911. Faiz Saab was an Indo- Pakistani poet and author who was not just nominated for a Nobel Prize in Literature but also won the Lenin Peace Prize in 1962 and several other accolades.
He was known for his sad poems. This Urdu poet gave sad and painful poems a new meaning. It wouldn’t be wrong to say if anyone understood the loss of love better, it was him. Even to this date, the Pakistan Literature and arts is highly influenced by Faiz Saab. He was even awarded the highest civilian award, Nishan-e-Imtiaz by the Pakistan government in 1990. Sadly, he passed away on 20th November 1984 at the age of 73.
He took inspiration from Allam Iqbal and Mirza Ghalib and had touches of modern Urdu intertwined with the classical. Also, his creations bring out the days of the independence struggle and his rebel through literature. His work deserves a patient and respectful read with an open heart and mind.
Sampooran Singh Kalra A.K.A Gulzar is an Indian Poet, lyricist, and a film director who was born on 18th August 1934. He is known for his impeccable talent that needs no introduction. The recipient of Padma Bhushan, Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Academy Award has given some superb writings that bring the best out of us. Gulaz, a lyricist who is a poet at heart first believes in giving back to the society. His one purpose to spread hope through his writing is the motivation behind his career being so successful. Although Gulzar saab is popular as lyricist and director, but his works surely show how much of a poet he is. Right now he busy working on his book which is a translation of 500 poems, of 300 contemporary poets from 32 different languages of our country.
Gulzar saab needs no fabricated and fancy words, his work speaks for himself.
#5 Sahir Ludhianvi
मैं पल दो पल का शायर हूँ, पल दो पल मेरी कहानी हैपल दो पल मेरी हस्ती है, पल दो पल मेरी जवानी हैमुझसे पहले कितने शायर, आए और आकर चले गए,कुछ आहें भरकर लौट गए, कुछ नग़मे गाकर चले गएवो भी एक पल का किस्सा थे, मै भी एक पल का किस्सा हूँकल तुमसे जुदा हो जाऊँगा, जो आज तुम्हारा हिस्सा हूँ”
Born as Abdul Hai Fazl Mohammad, Sahir Ludhianvi was an Indian Poet and film lyricist who gave us plenty of amazing works that are cherished till date. He started composing poetry at a very tender age. The shayaris had a charismatic charm and was very popular among the masses at his time. Sahir’s writings were bitter yet sensitive and focused majorly on declining societal values instead of
His sensitiveness and warmth towards society, soldiers, farmers, etc took the shape of poetry and in reflected the state of the people during then. His creations were meaningful and intellectual in nature, something that can even be related in today’s time too.
#6 Parveen Shakir
Parveen Shakir is the only woman who gave all her male contemporaries a run for their money. She is an epitome of female poets. She used her writing in expressing her world to the world.
Parveen Shakir, born on 24 November 1952 was an Urdu poetess, teacher and a civil servant at the Government of Pakistan. khusbu, her first book of poetry was highly acclaimed. Following it she published Sad-barg, Khud Kalami Inkaar, Kaf-e-Aina.Her ghazals and free verses spoke of love, social stigmas, and feminism. She and her writings have everything relevant even today that makes her a must read. She raised her voice in a male-dominated society at a time when women had almost zero presence, which makes her a must read.
#7 Ahmed Faraz
” ab ke ham bichhde to shyad kabhi khwabon mein miley
jis tarah sukhe huephuulkitabon men miley”
Syed Ahmed Shah, the Pakistani Urdu Poet, was born on 12 January 1931. He used Faraz as his pen name. He is one of the modern Urdu poets of the last century. During his lifetime, Faraz was compared with Faiz Ahmad Faiz due to his style of writing. While his college life, Faraz started writing poetry and throughout his life, was known for his amazing literary talents. Love and romance were the themes of his writing, mostly, but it came with a touch of Faraz in form of despair and disappointment.
To understand how his literary talents had an impact on the popularity of Urdu Poem, one needs to read him and his work.
” aaj mujh ko bahut bura keh kar, aap ne naam toh liya mera”
Born on December 14, 1931, Amroha, India, was a literary hero, who started writing poetry at the age of 8. Even though he started early, he never got his work published until the age of 60. “Shayad” was his first collection of poetry to be published followed by “Yaanii” and “Gumaan” which were published after his death in 2002. He not only wrote poems but also edited Urdu magazines”Insha”. He settled in Karachi, Pakistan after the partition.
Jaun Elia was known as the partition revolutionary in Pakistan. His straight forward sher are so reasonably relatable and even easy to laymen. He was famous for his unconventional ways. Undeniably Jaun was a literary talent hub and deserves a respectful read.
#9 Mir Taqi Mir
Also known as the God of Poetry, Mir Taqi Mir was the leading and most popular Urdu poets of the 18th century. Born in Agra, Mughal India, Mir, wrote ghazals, Mathnavi and Persian poetry, whose subject mostly revolved around love and philosphy.
His major acclaimed works include ” Nukat-us-Shura, Faiz-e-Mir, Zikr-e-Mir, Kulliyat-e-Farsi and Kulliyat-e-Mir”. Mir saab was unarguably the best of his time and deserves a good read.
#10 Jawed Akhtar
To be fair, Jawed Akhtar deserves to be in this list of amazing Urdu poets. Jawed Sahab has graced Bollywood with numerous compositions that have continued to mesmerize every lover of art. He is not just creative and talented but he has the art of expressing even the unusual things in the most beautiful way. It is safe to say that Jawed Sahab is the modern day poet who has taken forward the torch of Urdu poetry to the millennial successfully.
Since you have stayed till the end, I hope you have also made up your mind which one to read first. Go on and enjoy your profound love for language and literature.