biography of urdu poet-momin khan momin

Momin Khan Momin (1800 - 1851] was born in Delhi to a family of Hakeems (Urdu word for physician practicing in Unani medicines). His family originally belonged to Kashmir and had moved to Delhi. Momin’s father, Hakim Ghulam Nabi Khan, was a court doctor. Momin learnt Persian, Urdu and Arabic at an early age. Besides this he also attained mastery in Hikmat, and so he was known as Hakeem Khan also. His education had been thorough and systematic. He had a multifaceted personality. Not only he was a renowned physician, he was also well-versed in music, mathematics, astronomy and astrology, etc. This is proved by the profusion of technical terms pertaining to above subjects in his work. He was also reported to be an outstanding chess player.

Momin grew up in a luxurious household. He had declined a professorship offer from a Delhi college because he found the salary as meager. His family strictly adhered to Religion. His father was a follower of Shah Abdul Aziz, son of the Shah Waliullah of Delhi. “Momin” literally means a practicing or an observant Muslim. He got that name at the instance of his father's spiritual guide, 'Shah Abdul Aziz'.
Momin in his time became an ardent follower of Sayed Ahmad even though he did not directly participate in the Wahaabi movement. Momin married a woman who was related to the family of Khwaja Mir Dard ( 1721 – 1785), the soofi saint and great poet of Urdu language in Delhi.

Momin was primarily a poet of romantic disposition with a lifestyle that matched this very nature. Momin lived a life of a playboy. His life was a journey of infatuation and lust. Momin’s most famous romance was with a woman of disrepute, Saheb Ji, who was herself  a poet and it is believed that she came to Delhi from Lucknow.

Momin was also a “Nujoomi” (astrologer) and it is said that he predicted his death in a verse, saying he would end up with broken arms and legs ("dast-o-bazu"). Years later the prediction came true, not in metaphoric sense but ironically in the literal sense, when he fell from a ladder and died nine days after the accident.

The ‘mazaar’ of Momin is located behind the Maulana Azad Medical College on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, Delhi. ‘Mir Dard Road’ leads to the grave of Momin and that of Khwaja Mir Dard. The grave of Momin is within a boundary wall, along with the graves of Shah Walliullah. So he finally rests in the company of all his familiar people.

Momin composed six “Masnavi” poems. “Shikayat-e-Sitam”, “Qissa-e-Gham”, ‘Kause-sami” are the noted-ones. His poetry is always about love, beauty, passion, and encompassing suffering. His religious influences can be seen in “Masnavi-e-Jahadiyya”. “Aab-e-Hayat” is claimed to be his best work.

Momin is known for his particular style and the beautiful use of his ‘Takhallus’. According to legend, Mirza Ghalib , his contemporary and also a rival, offered to give up his entire “Deewan”(collection of poetry) in exchange for this particular verse of Momin..


What a tribute.


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