Saturday 13 January 2018

Meer Taqi Meer: The Poet Of Melancholy

Mir Taqi Meer (1723 -1810), famous Urdu poet was born in Agra. “Mir” was his pen name.He is remembered as as Khudā-e Sukhan (God of Poetry). Meer Taqi Meer was branded as a shayar of pain and melancholy, as his popular shers are those that depict misery. Someone said that Meer’s Shayari is ‘aah’ (expression of pain).Meer cannot smile and write in jest, it’s easier for him to get frustrated and being abusive. The pains and hardships of his life are mirrored as melancholy in his Ghazals.

His grandfather migrated from hijaz (Saudi Arabia) to Hyderabad. Finally settled in Agra. His father ‘Muhammad Ali’ was a Sufi faqir. His father died while the poet was in his teens. 

A disciple of his farther gave five hundred rupee which came handy to settle the debt and perform his cremation ceremony. Meer inherited his father’s poverty and his mysticism. He left Agra for Delhi a few years after his father's death, in search of financial help.

Meer Taqi Meer---The Poet

This was the time of rule of Moghal emperor Muhammad Shah. Meer managed to get close to one of the courtiers ‘Amir-Ul-Umraa Shams-ud-Daula’ and this proximity got him a patronage of rupee 1 per day. With this salary he came back to Agra.

While in Agra, a beauty enchanted the young shayar. Her name and provenance is still shrouded into mystery but what is certain is that love was from both the sides. And as rightly said that love and enmity cannot be hidden.
(‘Ishq aur Mushq chupaaye nahin chupte’)
 People started noticing the love affair. Meer was a Sayyed (a direct descended of Prophet) and being a member of such a high clan he was not to fall in love to lesser clan lady. His love affair brought dishonor to him. 

Mir lived much of his life in Moghal Delhi. Kuchha Chelan, in Old Delhi at that time. Providence didn’t allow Meer to have financial stability and peace of mind, not yet. Hardly a year had passed, when Nadir Shah plundered Delhi and Meer’s employer, Shams-ud-Daula, was killed in the raid and Meer was pushed back into penury. Once again Meer was forced to leave Agra.These were the most painful times of Meer’s life.

Hardship and broken relationships impacted Meer and he became mentally ill. During nights he would see a beautiful apparition. He would not be able to sleep. As the day approached the apparition would disappear making Meer behave like a madman. He started chasing people with stone in his hand. His condition became so worse that he had to be kept in chains. 
He would tear his clothes and would be vituperative. Khan-e-Aarzu (Maternal uncle of Meer's step brother ) advised him that it is better to tear shers than clothes and be poetic. What khan-e-Aarzu might have advised in jest Meer took seriously? Many critics agree that some of the best couplets of Meer were composed in those days of insanity. Various medication and supplications were tried. Gradually he started improving and his condition became normal.  

Where Delhi was declining, Lucknow was on rise or at least it seemed so. Meer Taqi Meer igrated to Lucknow in 1782-83 in the reign of Asif-ud-daula. Meer met Asif-ud -Daula during a game of cock fight. The rest of his life he spent in Lucknow without worrying about money.  He found peace and stability in Lucknow.

Mir's relationships with his patron gradually grew strained, and he eventually severed his connections with the court. In his last years Mir was very isolated. His health failed, and the untimely deaths of his daughter, son and wife caused him great distress.

His complete works, Kulliaat, consist of six Diwans containing 13,585 couplets, comprising all kinds of poetic forms: ghazalmasnaviqasidarubaimustezaad, satire, etc. Mir's literary reputation is anchored on the ghazals in his Kulliyat-e-Mir, much of them on themes of love. His masnavi Mu'amlat-e-Ishq (The Stages of Love) is one of the greatest known love poems in Urdu literature.

Meer: The “poet of melancholy” died, on 21 September 1810 in Lucknow. The marker of his burial place was removed in modern times when a railway was built over his grave.

Written and posted by Engr Maqbool Akram: with help of Materials available on net and Wikipedia

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