biography of urdu poet-mirza rafi sauda

Leading Urdu poet of his time, Mirza Muhammad Rafi ‘Sauda’ was born in 1713 in Delhi. His ancestors originally belonged to Kabul and were soldiers by profession. His father ‘Mirza Shafi’ came to India for business. Mirza Rafi was raised and educated in Delhi. His house was in the Kabuli Gate area, which was destroyed in the destruction of Delhi during independence movement of 1857.

Sauda chose Sulaiman Quli Khan 'Vidad' as his ustad, and then he became pupil of ‘Shah Hatim’. Shah Hatim regarded Sauda as his great pupil.

Sauda originally wrote poetry in Persian but ‘Khan-e-Arzu’ his senior and mentor said advised Mirza that in Persian you cannot be such that your poetry, would be worthy of praise. You have the temperament for metrical composition and have an extremely great affinity for verse. If you compose in Urdu, you will be unique in your age. Sauda acted on his ustad's advice and he started writing in Urdu. Soon he gained fame and recognition and found patronage in the ruling Mughal King. The emperor ‘Shah Alam’ began to give him his poetry for correction, and began to make demands on him. However his self-respect led him to leave the royal courts over an argument over poetry. It is said that one day the king pressed him for a certain ghazal. He offered some excuse. His Majesty commanded, “Mirza my friend, how many ghazals do you manage to compose every day?” Mirza said, “My Lord and Guide, when the urge is upon me, I manage to compose three or four verses”. His Majesty commanded, “My friend, while I'm seated on the toilet I'm able to compose four ghazals”. With folded hands he petitioned,”'Your Majesty, that's what they smell like, too”. With these words, he went away. The king again sent for him a number of times, and assured him the post of ‘Mulk-ush-Shuara’ if he does his ghazals. He did not go, and said, “What's the good of Your Majesty's ‘Mulk-ush-Shuara’?” If anything does it, then my poetry will make me "Mulk-ush-Shuara’". Then he composed a long ‘Shahr e Aashob’ in the form of a quintain.

Till the time Sauda left the royal courts and kept to his house, appreciators of his poetry were there, so that he had no cause for worry. Among them many were nobles and aristocrats, especially Meharban Khan, and Basant Khan. His fame had reached to places like Farukhabad and Awadh. ‘Nawab Shuja-ud-Daulah’ of Awadh invited him to Awadh and wrote to him with the greatest eagerness, sending the expenses for the journey, and asking him to come, but he replied giving excuses for not leaving Delhi. After many years when he was in distress he left Delhi at the age of 60 years. He stayed for few years in Farrukhabad, with ‘Nawab Bangash’ till 1770.

He came to Awadh in 1771. He arrived in the court of ‘Nawab Shuja-ud-Daulah’ and stayed in Faizabad, the then capital of Awadh for about three years. ‘Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula’ honored him with gifts and offered him salary of Rs. 200 per month. It was continued after the death of ‘Shuja-ud-Daula’ when ‘Asif-ud-Daulah’ became the Nawab of Awadh. Nawab ‘Aṣif-ud-Daula’ gave him title of ‘Mulk-ush-Shu'ara’ and annual pension of Rupees Six Thousand. In 1775 when capital of Awadh was moved to Lucknow Sauda also moved to Lucknow. Sauda remained with Asif-ud-Daula till his death.

Sauda died in on 26th June, 1781. He was 70 years at the time of his death. He was buried at ‘Imambara Agha Baqar’. Shah Hatim, the ustad of Sauda who was still alive, on hearing the news of Sauda’s demise, wept profusely and said, 'What a pity, my champion of poetry has died'.

Sauda wrote ghazals, qasidas, marsias, salams and hajvs (satire). Muhammad Husain Azad compares Sauda to Persian poet Anwari. He writes, 'If Sauda can be compared to anyone, it is Anvari, who is the lord of idiom and language, and the king of ode and satire.'

His marsias were different form later marsia writers like ‘Anis’ and ‘Dabeer’. His each stanza consists of four-liners or four verses known as ruba'i or quatrain.

He was master of hajv (satire) in Urdu. Till this date nobody is considered to equal him. His satire reflects his wit and mischief. Every page of the collection of satires has sufficient matter for those who like to laugh. This shows exuberance and liveliness of his temperament.

He also wrote prose in a magazine called ‘Ibrat-ul-Ghafileen’ but his prose was considered quite difficult and lacked natural flow and spontaneity of his poetry.

‘Hakim Sayyed Aslah-ud-Din Khan’ compiled Sauda's complete works and also wrote an introduction for it.  In 1872 it was literally translated by ‘Major Henry Court’, Captain of Bengal Cavalry. According to Muhammad Husain Azad, his work comprises Urdu odes (Qasidas), some Persian odes, twenty-four masnavis and many tales and versified anecdotes, then a short volume of his Persian poetry. Then volume of Rekhtah comprises many incomparable ghazals, and opening verses, quatrains, extended-line poems (musatazads), verse-sets, chronograms, riddles, lover's complaints, repeated-line poems, quintains(mukhammas; he has composed everything. In every form of sauda's poetry there are satires that "turn the hearts and livers of his enemies sometimes to blood, sometimes to kabobs." And finally there was an anthology of Urdu poets which is not found now. Muhammad Husain Azad says, "...from start to finish it's an exemplary model for Urdu poetry and literature."

Sauda wrote Qasidas in praise of not only Nawab Shuja-ud-Dula and Asif-ud-Daula which are imcluded in ‘Kulliat-e-Sauda’, but also has written qasidas for ‘Sarfaraz-ud-Daula Hasan Raza Khan’,’Raja Tikait Rai’, ‘Richard Johnson’ etc.

Sauda's work from his Kulliyat are:

1.Masnavi Dar Hajv-E Hakim Ghaus,

2.Masnavi Dar Hajv-E Amir-A Daulatmand Bakhil,

3.Masnavi Dar Ta'rif-E Shikar,

4.Masnavi Dar Hajv-E Pil Rajah Nripat Singh,

5.Masnavi Dar Hajv-E Sidi Faulad Khan Kotval-E Shahjahanabad,

6.Masnavi Dar Hajv-E Fidvi Mutavatan-E Panjab Kih Darasal Baqal Bachchah Bud,

7.Masnavi Dar Hajv-E Chipak Mirza Faizu,

8.Qissah-E Darvesh Kih Iradah-E Ziyarat-E Ka'bah Kardah Bud,

9.Mukhammas-E Shahr Aashob,

10.Qasidah Dar Madh-E Nawab Vazir Imad Ul-Mulk

11.Mukhammas On The Desolation Of Shahjahanabad (Delhi)

12.Eulogium On Imam Qasim, The Son Of Imam Husain


Post a Comment