EducationBeginner's guide to Urdu Poetry

Beginner’s guide to Urdu Poetry

Urdu poetry is the most sophisticated form of literature that you can find. While poetries in almost all the languages have evolved and developed according to the changing times, Urdu Poetry has managed to stay true to its roots. It still uses the same poetic meter and style that was in the beginning.

Reading Urdu Poetry is bliss, and if you can understand the meaningful words of the language, then you are further than most on the human evolution scale of literature. However if you are a beginner in the language, we got your back! Here are 5 poets you must read asap :-


आँधियाँ ग़म की चलेंगी तो सँवर जाऊँगा
मैं तेरी ज़ुल्फ़ नहीं हूँ जो बिखर जाऊँगा।
मुझको सूली पे चढ़ाने की ज़रूरत क्या है?
हाथ से छीन लो क़लम, मर जाऊँगा।

– Bahadur Shah Zafar

Bahadur Shah Zafar is, sadly, known more as an emperor than as a poet. We have all read about him in history, but how many of us have visited him in the pages of literature? The turth is that Mughal Dynasty was not the only legacy that ended with him. It was his outstanding poetry too. His writing style is so easy that it does not even require translation if you know Hindi. For someone who is even a beginner at Urdu Poetry, reading Baharur Shah Zafar is easy and a must!


pā-ba-gil sab haiñ rihā.ī kī kare tadbīr kaun
dast-basta shahr meñ khole mirī zanjīr kaun

– Parveen Shakir

Parveen Shakir is a lesser known Pakistani poet. Her poems are works of emancipation and freedom for every human bound in shackles. The above quote is the most precise explanation of the problem with emancipation. It translates as- “When everyone in the city is bound, who can plead freedom? If they are all prostrate with joined hands, who can break the shackles for me?” Parveen Shakir is a must read for all youngsters, irrespective of age, gender, caste, race or social/religious beliefs.


Usoolon pe jahaan aanch aaye takrana zaroori hai
Jo zinda ho to phir zinda nazar aana zaroori hai

– Waseem Barelvi

While Urdu Poetry is all about Allama Iqbal and Mirza Ghalib, many beautiful poets have been sidelined. The poetry of Ghalib and Iqbal are complex and often discourage new readers due to lack of understanding of the language. Waseem Barelvi is one poet you can count on if you are not well versed in Urdu and wish to read its poems. The poems are philosophical and yet simple to understand. Barelvi writes about deep meaningful things of life in simple language. He is the go-to poet for beginners.


बोल कि लब आज़ाद हैं तेरे
बोल ज़बाँ अब तक तेरी है
तेरा सुतवाँ जिस्म है तेरा
बोल कि जाँ अब तक् तेरी है
देख के आहंगर की दुकाँ में
तुंद हैं शोले सुर्ख़ है आहन
खुलने लगे क़ुफ़्फ़लों के दहाने
फैला हर एक ज़न्जीर का दामन
बोल ये थोड़ा वक़्त बहोत है
जिस्म-ओ-ज़बाँ की मौत से पहले
बोल कि सच ज़िंदा है अब तक
बोल जो कुछ कहने है कह ले

– Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Faiz Ahmed Faiz is another poet for the beginners. His poems will introduce you to the world of Urdu poetry and complete your initiation. The poems of Faiz are very relatable and revolutionary at the same time. He appeals to something coarse in our nature and softens it with time. Faiz is a poet of love for freedom and emancipation. He is a boon for all the beginners in the house!


Main shoonya pay sawaar hoon be-adab sa main khumaar hoon
Ab mushqiloon se kya daroon main khud qehre-e-zaar hoon
Main shoonya pay sawaar hoon

– Zakir Khan

Zakir Khan is the most contemporary Urdu poet. He is known for his Stand-Up Comedy throughout the country. However his poetic sides has recently been exposed by Jashn-e-Rekhta in its poetry festival. His poems are not only simple and easy to understand, they are easily the most outstanding works in contemporary Urdu poetry. From heartbreak to humour to self-love, Zakir Khan paints his poems in every shade there is. His poetries are a treat for all the young and budding poetry lovers!

While it is not possible to throw light upon every good poet in Urdu n just one post. But these are our picks of some of the best poets for beginners his week! Have a happy read! 🙂

Sanskriti Tomar
Sanskriti Tomar
Studied at La Martiniere Girls' College, Lucknow. Graduated in English honours from Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University. An SSI certified Open Water SCUBA Diver. Love to travel, meet new people, read, write and eat. A trained Awadhi Kathak dancer. A cat-lover. A recreational photographer; and a lover of all forests, deserts, mountains and beaches. Travelled across India and hope to go abroad. In love with Sea Turtles and Elephants.

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