Ilm-e-Urooz (for you, Sheza)


most of the following is an extract from an article by a raza zaidi of rutgers university. you can contact him at

the basic difference between a nazm and a ghazal is that whereas a nazm can be a collection of couplets (or it can have triplets, quatrains, or no rhyming at all), the couplets of a nazm have to be on the same subject and any one couplet is related to all the others and the theme and subject of the nazm, but a ghazal’s couplets are independent entities in themselves, they do not have to be on the same subject or even related to any other couplet in any way.

if and when two couplets of a ghazal are related to each other and are on the same subject, they have to be placed right next to each other, and are called collectively a qataa.

the ghazal itself will typically be a love song. indeed, the ghazal form was first used in arabic language, in which it means “to talk to women”, more precisely, “love-talk with women”. from there it was incorporated into persian language. in persian, ghazal’s literary meaning is “the characteristic mating call of a particular persian deer”. ghazal in persian retained its basic form and purpose of love-talk. ghazal’s essentials include praise of one’s beloved, his/her beauty, attitude, love, way of talking, gait, etc. generally a ghazal can not have adverse opinions about the poet’s beloved except his indifference, “bay-wafai”, “bay-rukhee”, etc. while the mode of address always indicates the beloved to be masculine, there is no other hint (unless the poet is a woman)that the person being discussed is female. for instance, ahmed faraz says

bas ek nigaah se lutataa hai qaafilaa dil kaa
so rah-ravaan-e-tamanna bhi dar ke dekhte hain

(with one glance he sends back convoys of the heart
so the wayfarers of hope are also scared when they look at him)

indicating that the guy who does that is in fact exactly that, a guy – but he goes on to say

sunaa hai chashm-e-tasavur se dasht-e-imkaan mein
palang zaaviay us ki kamar ke dekhte hain

(i’ve heard that in the deserts of chance, with the eyes of imagination
even beds look at the curves of his/her waist)

which pretty much shows that the poet is describing a girl. to me at least. and the examples are endless. (by the way pardon the terrible translations, i’m rusty at this thing)

the best thing about the ghazal though is that it has no english, or more precisely, western equivalent. language was never developed as an art form to the extent that it was cultivated in middle east/south asia region. you’ve got to love that exclusivity.

and before you ask – ilm-e-urooz is the study of rhyme, metre and other associated technical details in urdu poetry. my urdu tutor’s father was considered an expert in this field – which is the only reason that i’ve ever heard of it in the first place.


4 Responses to “Ilm-e-Urooz (for you, Sheza)”

  1. 1 Xeb

    Thanks! 😀
    Compliment appreciated!

  2. whoooa!!! dude u didnt have to do that!! but thnx nonetheless!!

  3. it takes 15 minutes. and i love to show off. 🙂

  4. 4 shoukat ali shoukat

    its a help ful job

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: