NEW DELHI. The Vice President of India, Hamid Ansari inaugurated the “International Urdu Marsia Conference” on Friday. Addressing on the occasion he said that marsia can be written and heard by heart only. He hoped that the seminar will help in getting more people associated with marsia.
The word ‘marsiya’ is derived from the Arabic word ‘risa’, meaning a great tragedy or lamentation for a departed soul. Marsiya (or elegy), is nearly always on the death of Hasan and Hussain (grandsons of the Prophet Mohammad [PBUH]) and their families, but occasionally on the death of relatives and friends. It is usually in six-lined stanzas with the rhyme ‘aaaabb’.
The recitation of these elegies in the first ten days of Muharram is a common practice.
“Teri har mouj-e-nafas rooh-ul-ameeN ki jaaN hai
tu meri urdu zubaaN ka bolta Qur’an hai”
Every breath of yours is the life of Gabrielle
You are the speaking Qur’an of the urdu language
These are the words of the great urdu poet Josh Maliahabadi for Mir Babar Ali Anees.
The picture on the left is of a lane in old Lucknow dedicated to Mir Anees. Times have certainly changed!
“The poetic qualities and merits of Anees are not matched by any other poet,”
said Allama Shibli Nomani.
Picture on the right is of the haveli of Mir Anees, which is part of the Heritage Walk.
Election campaigns have not spared even this one!
THE art of Islamic calligraphy finds its roots in early Islam. Part of its popularity lay in the way Quran stresses the importance of written word. In Surah 96 (verse 3 to 4), God is described as one Who “taught man with the pen”. The Surah 68 starts with the oath, “And by the Pen”. There are several other Suras talking about writing, viz., Surah 96 (verse 3 to 4), Surah 82 (verse 10), Surah 50 (verse 16). Naturally, the best style of writings were developed for God. As Arabic became the language of all Muslims in Arabia and elsewhere, it gave birth to beautiful new forms of Arabic script.
Prophet Muhammad’s son-in-law and the fourth Caliph of Islam, Ali ibn Abi Talib is considered to be the first master of calligraphy. He developed a Kufic script where the tops of alifs were twin-horned.  The Kufic in general is an angular script found on tombstones and coins.
The sacred nature of calligraphy ensured that in Islamic architecture inscriptions became an important means of decoration. Continue reading “Islamic Calligraphy: In search of a lifeline”
IT WAS 1935. The union hall of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) was brimming with excitement. A young man in sherwani stands up to recite a poem ‘Inquilab,’ in his inimitable style –
“KohsaaroN ki taraf se surkh aandhi aayegi
Ja-baja aabaadiyoN meiN aag si lag jaayegi
Aur is rang-e-shafaq meiN ba-hazaraaN aab-o taab
Jagmagaaega watan ki hurriyat ka aaftaab”
[A red storm is approaching from over the mountains
Sparking a fire in the settlements
And on this horizon, amidst a thousand tumults
Shall shine the sun of our land’s freedom]1
The hall reverberates with a thunderous applause. Asrar-ul-Haq Majaz by now was already making waves in the literary circles. Continue reading “Asrar-ul-Haq Majaz – A Journey of Love, Hope and Nationalism”