Meer Taqi Meer was the leading Urdu poet of the 18th century and one of the pioneers of Urdu Ghazal in fact Urdu language itself. He was one of the principal poets of the Delhi School of the Urdu Ghazal and remains the foremost name in Urdu poetry, often remembered as ‘Khuda-e-Sukhan’. His real name was Sayed Amanullah Mohammad Taqi and was born in 1723 in Agra then under the rules of Mughals. His father ‘Meer Muttaqi’ was a saint by nature and so Meer had inherited profound effect of Soofizm. His passion for love and values and not much desire for worldly things are reflected in most of his work.

Meer’s father's died when Meer was only about 11 years of age. Meer left Agra for Delhi in search of livelihood. At Delhi, he finished his education and joined a group of nobility as a courtier-poet. He lived much of his life in Kuchha Chelan, located in Khari Baoli. ‘Samsam-ud-Daula’ gave him a scholarship of one rupee per day. In 1739, Nadir Shah attacked Delhi in which Samsam-ud-daula was killed. Soon Meer was homeless, jobless. He tried his luck for several years visiting many places like Farukhabad, Sirhind, Ajmer, Barsana, Agra, Rajputana etc. but could not find a suitable job and came back to Delhi.

After Nadir Shah's carnage there was no charm left in Delhi for the poets, and many of them moved to Lucknow. Nawab ‘Asaf-ud-Daula’ invited Meer to Lucknow giving him full respects. Meer left Delhi and came to Lucknow in 1783 at the age of 61. Nawab fixed him a stipend of Rs.200 a month. Meer who had to face miseries of life during his stay at Delhi got a comfortable and respectfull life in Lucknow thanks to the generousity of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula.

After his move to Lucknow, his beloved daughter died, followed by his son and then his wife. This, together with his early experiences in life and shortness of money had made a permanent change in his nature. Indeed his shayari is noted for his poetry of pathos and melancholy. In Lucknow he married second time. With this marriage he had a son named Meer Kallu ‘Arsh’. In his last years he got money, fame and happy family life.

Meer died on 22th September 1810 in Lucknow at at his residence in City Station and was buried in the graveyard Akhara Bhim near City station, Lucknow.

Meer's literary reputation is mainly for his Ghazals. Meer lived at a time when Urdu language and poetry was at a formative stage and Meer's instinctive aesthetic sense helped him strike a balance between the indigenous expression and new enrichment coming in from Persian imagery and idiom. He created a poetic language from simple Hindustani which was to guide generations of future poets. Besides ghazals Meer has composed 37 masnavis.

His complete works, Kulliaat, consist of six Diwans containing 13,585 couplets, comprising all kinds of poetic forms. Two of the Diwans containing about 951 ghazals (7700 ash’ar) are believed to have been composed in Delhi and other four containing 866 ghazals (6184 ash’ar) in Lucknow.


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