Language Essay: On Urdu

As a bilingual poetry enthusiast, interested in both Urdu and English poetry, I have come across various artistic pieces that have inspired me to write my own pieces of literature. Urdu poetry has, perhaps, opened a different dimension of literary beauty. It has helped me appreciate the intricacies of the language itself and acknowledge the depths of history each letter encompasses. Allama Iqbal, Mirza Ghalib and Faiz Ahmad Faiz are a few poets that have explored the almost unreachable boundaries of the Urdu language and thus, the beauty of this language should be amalgamated within the BTL program.

Quite beautifully, Faiz Ahmed Faiz compares his lovers beauty to darakhshaa-e-hayaat’, an abundant bouquet of stars in the sky, and yet, directs his poetry to societal affairs. His recognition of the infinitesimal concept of love in front of corrupted societies is one that is revealed in great depth. One particular heart wrenching verse of his poetry strikes one’s mind quite significantly: 

Yoon na thaa maine faqat chaahaa thaa yoon ho jaaye

Aur bhi dukh hai zamaane mein muhabbat ke siwaa

(I did not want this, I did not ask for this

But there are more worries in the world, than love) 

Thus, Urdu literature opens a dimension of extreme poetic beauty. I would, personally, like BTL to help students from around the world study and appreciate the depths of Urdu poetry. One can learn to understand the poems relating to Ishq-e-Haqiqi (Poems about the Love of God) through Shiqwa and Jawab-e-Shiqwa of Allama Iqbal, in which Iqbal establishes a direct conversation with his creator. His complaints to God and God’s equally direct replies help demonstrate a relationship based on friendship rather than on servitude. Moreover, one can also explore the bounteous beauties of one’s relationship with the unknown through Ghalib: 

Na tha kuchch to Khuda tha, kuchch na hota to Khuda hota

duboya mujhko hone ne, na hota main to kya hota?

(When nothing was there, God was; when nothing remains, God remains

Pride in my existence has drowned me

And had I not existed, what little would my non-existence mean?) 

Urdu poetry goes far into the depths of the metaphysical world and explores the limitless boundaries of love, religion and nature. It is, perhaps, one of the richest languages in the world, as it encompasses the beauty of Persian, Arabic, Turkish and Hindi. Thus, the brilliance of its intricacies is one that should be shared within the BTL programs, with special concentration to Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Iqbal and Mirza Ghalib. There is so much culture hidden behind each word of Urdu that it is replete with historical significance. Urdu was the language of the extravagant Mughals; Urdu was the mode of expression for the struggles of past Muslim’s, and for modern creative writers, Urdu is the language of South Eastern history. It is quite understandable that some of the beauty of these poems may be lost in translation; therefore increasing integration of different cultures is exactly what can expound the beauty of these poems to their original extent. 

To further indulge oneself in Eastern Poetry, one can look at the beautiful words of Rumi through Elif Shafak’s novel, The Forty Rules of Love. Not only has this been written in English, but also it explores the countless poetic lessons of Rumi and Shams of Tabriz. It would be a fantastic experience to read it with the eyes of a stranger to Eastern Culture and thus, it is another wonderful work of literature that deserves appreciation.