biography of urdu poet-meer dard

Khwaja Meer Dard was born in 1721 and to ‘Khwaja Mohd. Nasir Andaleeb’. His father was a mystic saint and a poet. Dard received his education in an informal way at home, and in the company of the learned people. He acquired a command of Arabic and Persian, as also of the Sufi lore. He also developed a deep love of music, possibly, through his association with the singers and Qawaals who frequented his father's house. He renounced earthly pleasures at the young age of 28, and led a life of piety and humility.

Dard lived in a turbulent social and political scenario. At that time Delhi was subjected to the repeated assaults of invaders like Ahmed Shah and Nadir Shah, and the people of Delhi were forced to migrate to safer places. Dard's mysticism, though it was an inherited trait deeply ingrained in his nature, could also be explained as a reaction to the harsh realities of the outside world. Unlike his contemporary poets, Meer and Sauda, both of whom had moved to Lucknow under the circumstances, Dard stuck to Delhi. He sought strength in the tenets of the Sufi creed, which stressed the virtues of faith and fortitude, and taught a happy submission to the will of God. It is this faith which lends an element of courage and restraint to Dard's poetry and sets it apart from the plaintive manner of Meer.

Dard is one of the three major poets of the Delhi School, the other two being ‘Mir Taqi Mir’ and ‘Mirza Sauda’, who could be called the pillars of the classical Urdu ghazal. While Mir Taqi Mir, the greatest of them all, is remembered as a poet of love and pathos, and Sauda as a spedalistin satire and panegyric, Dard is first and foremost a mystic, who regards the phenomenal world as a veil of the eternal Reality, and this life as a term of exile from our real home.

Dard inherited his mystical temperament from his father, Nasir Andlib. However, the secret of Dard's appeal as a poet lies not in his mysticism, but in his ability to transmute this mysticism into poetry, and to present transcendental love in terms of human and earthly love. Although he has written ghazals which are unambiguously mystical in their intent, his best couplets can be read at both the secular and spiritual levels, and are, for this reason, acceptable to all. In addition, Dard had also written ghazals which deal with a patently sensuous and earthly love, and deserve to be classed with the best poetry of this kind. Dard generally excels in short ghazals of about seven to nine verses, written in comparatively short measures. His style is simple, natural and musical; his content, thoughtful and thought-provoking. He is not a voluminous writer.

His publications are a collection of Urdu ghazals, a divan in Persian, and some articles in Urdu and Persian prose. Dard's Persian prose works are extensive, consisting of the “Ilm ul Kitab”, a 600+ page metaphysical work on the philosophy of the Muhammadi path, and the “Chahar Risalat”, collections of more than a thousand mystical aphorisms and sayings.

Meer Dard died in 1785.


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