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Mir Babar Ali Anis
--: Biography of Mir Babar Ali Anis :--


Mir Babbar Ali Anees was a renowned Urdu poet. He was born in Faizabad in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in 1803 and died in 1874.

His father, Mir Khaliq who was a famous poet and littérateur, took personal interest in the education and upbringing of his son, and entrusted him to the care of reputed contemporary teachers, Mir Najaf Ali Faizabadi and Maulvi Hyder Ali Lucknavi. In addition, Anis's mother who was an educated and pious lady, played a significant role in shaping the personality of the boy poet. But above all, it was the boy's own instinctive urge for learning and literature that made him an accomplished poet, proficient in Arabic, Persian and Islamic scriptures, and well-versed in logic, literature and philosophy. Poetry came to him as ancestral heritage, for his forbears, going back to his great grandfather, were eminent poets and men of letters. Anis was the grandson of Mir Hasan who is remembered for his immortal Masnavi, Sehir-ul-Bayaan. His parents had migrated in their old age to Lucknow, where he spent the best part of his life.

Anis had started writing poetry quite early in his life right at Faizabad, though he perfected his art in Lucknow under the supervision of Imam Bakhsh Nasikh. In keeping with the popular trend, he first tried his hand at the ghazal, but failing to make much headway in this sphere, he changed over, under the advice of his father, to the writing of marsias[1], in which domain he soon established a high reputation, equaled (sometimes) by his poetic compare, Salamat Ali Dabir. Anees broadened the scope of this genre by including in its body, in addition to the customary lamentation and mourning, realistic scenes of the battlefield, graphic delineations of the hero's face and figure, lively portrayals of the emotional states of the combatants, accurate descriptions of the landscape, and occasional interludes of moral edification. Anis was a master of simple, natural utterance, with a superb command on the language, which was always adequate to express a large variety of moods, scenes, characters and situations. He is specially notable for presenting the same scene or situation, over and over again, in different words or phrases, without letting it appear monotonous. Besides being a master of the marsia, Anis was also a specialist of the rubai, the shortest complete poem in Urdu, containing only four lines.

Anis died in 1874 at the age of 71. The marsia, strictly speaking, is an elegiac poem written to commemorate the martyrdom and valour of Hazrat Imam Hussain and his comrades of the Battle of Karbala. In its form the marsia generally consists of six-line units, with a rhyming quatrain, and a couplet on a different rhyme. This form found a specially congenial soil in Lucknow (a city in Northern India), chiefly because it was the centre of Shia Muslim community, which regarded it an act of piety and religious duty to eulogies and bemoan the martyrs of the battle of Karbala, and Even a short poem written to mourn the death of a friend can be called marsia. Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem 'In Memoriam' can rightly be called marsia. The sub-parts of marsia are called noha and soz which means lamentation and burning of (heart) respectively. It is usually a poem of mourning. The form reached its peak in the writing of Mir Babbar Ali Anis.

The famous marsia writers who inherited the tradition of Mir Anis among his successive generations are Mir Nawab Ali 'Munis', Dulaha Sahab 'Uruj', Mustafa Meerza urf Piyare Sahab 'Rasheed', Syed Muhammad Mirza Uns, Ali Nawab 'Qadeem', Syed Sajjad Hussain 'Shadeed', Syed Sajjad Hussain "Shadeed" Lucknavi, Dr. Syed Ali Imam Zaidi, "Gauher" Luckhnavi the (great grandson of Mir Babber Ali Anis).

The Majlis of 25 Rajab, is historically important Majlis of Marsiya in Lucknow, in this majlis Mir Anis used to recite Marsiya. After Mir Anis well known marsiya writers of Mir Anis's family as Dulaha Sahab 'Uruj', Mustafa Meerza urf Piyare Sahab 'Rasheed', Ali Nawab (Qadeem) and Syed Sajjad Hussain 'Shadeed', inherited the legacy of reciting marsiya. Presently, Dr. Syed Ali Imam Zaidi (Gauher) Luckhnavi (grandson of 'Shadeed') recites self composed Marsiya.

Mir Anis composed salams, elegies, nauhas, quatrains. While the length of elegy initially had no more than forty or fifty stanzas, it now was beyond one hundred fifty or even longer than two hundred stanzas or bunds, as each unit of marsia in musaddas format is known. According to Muhammad Hussain Azad "The late Mir Sahib must certainly have composed at least ten thousand elegies, and salams beyond count. He composed as easily and casually as he spoke.".

Muharram and Mir Anis have become synonymous among Urdu lovers of the Indo-Pak subcontinent. Mir Anis has been a great teacher and inspiration for generations. Undoubtedly, Urdu derives much of its strength from the Marsias of Mir Anis. Mir Anis has drawn upon the vocabulary of Arabic, Persian, Urdu/Hindi/Awadhi in such a good measure that he symbolizes the full spectrum of the cultural mosaic that Urdu has come to be. No Urdu poet from Ghalib onwards has lagged behind in showering his eulogies on Mir Anis. Mir Anis himself was aware of his contribution as he writes: "Kisi ne teri terha se aay Anis, Aroos-e-sukhan ko sanwara nahi"

"Perhaps there is no other poet in the world who has looked after the aesthetic and spiritual satisfaction of his fans so completely as Mir Anis does. It is simply miraculous!

The first major and still current critical articulation about Mir Anis was Muazna-e-Anis-o-Dabir (1907) written by Shibli Nomani in which he said "the poetic qualities and merits of Anis are not matched by any other poet"

Shamsur Rahman Faruqi in 'How to read Iqbal?' on comparing Iqbal with Nazeer Akbarabadi says that "Iqbal was placed better because he had, among others, Bedil (1644-1720) in Persian and Mir Anis (1802-1874) in Urdu." to inherit the rich tradition of Urdu nazm. He further asserts that, "The mention of Mir Anis may surprise some of us until we realize it that Mir Anis's marsiyas are the best premodern model in Urdu of narrative-historical, narrative-lyrical, and oral-dramatic poetry, and Iqbal's poetry extends and exploits the possibilities created by Anis."

Mir Anees in 1857 live in the area called Sahti near khalaiq bagh.Because of the conspiracy of the Britishers "Ghadar" took place there was a chaos and threat in lucknow and the areas nearby the women got miscarriaged due to the loud voices and blasts in the city.There were " faryadi Nauhas " were recited in every home " Aye kul ke madadgar madad karne ko aao faryad ko pahucho" and " ya ameeral momineen faryad hai ". These two Nauhas were recited by everyone.Even the people were not able to reach the cemetery to bury their love ones so they buried them in their homes itself. Because of the atmosphere spread in the city, to save himself and his family Mir Anees with all of his family members shifted to malihabad. Where Faqeer mohd. khan ( Goya) the son of Mohd. ahmed khan ( Ahmed) ( sahibe deewan ) made several arrangements in the orchards by putting camps there for Mir Anees and his family. He showed the true hospitality which was expected from that time of culture. Approximately after 4 months the atmosphere of Lucknow was normal as usual as earlier. So Mir Anees returned back to Lucknow.In the mean while he stayed in his student Meerza Ahmed Abbas's home. Who used to live in Mansoor Nagar. Before the Ghadar took place Mir Anees used to live in the area Raja ki bazaar, even after Ghadar he live there in Punjabi Tola near Raja ki bazaar in Munshi Sirajuddin's house as a tenant by paying Rs.10/- Monthly. In 1862 Mir Anees purchased a home in Sabzi Mandi (Chopdar) mohalla. That was "Gheesan" Aina Saaz's house who was employed to KING Mohd Ali Shah.He sold his house to Mir anees receiving Rs.3300 from Mir Anees. There was also a lawn attached to this house, in the part of which Mir Anees build his Deewan khana and a pool.In the other part his brother Mir Khursheed Ali(Nafees) build a single story house and a pool by investing his own Money.He used to live there for his whole life. After purchasing this new home the old one which was in Raja ki Bazaar was sold to Tulsi Ram Kohli.On 23 July 1871 Mir Anees purchased a land near to his home for his family. He paid the desired amount Rs. 100/- to the owner (sheikh Heenga). After that he took a permission certificate from the British government for his family for burying him. After some days Mir Anees employed a gardener named Keesa. Keesa sowed different types of plants & trees in the garden and he used to present a bunch of flowers to Mir Anees from garden every day.In the meanwhile sibling of Anees (MIR NAWAB ALI) honored by visiting the shrines of Holy Karbala, Iran, Iraq.While returning back to India he bought a plant of "date" from Iraq for the memory of his holy visit. Keesa sowed that plant in the garden of Mir Anees. That why the cemetery of Mir Anees is famoused as " Mir Anees ki bagiya".Atlast that era arrived when Mir Anees was critically ill. Many people came to met Mir Anees. One of them said to Mir Anees, " Kahiye miyan Anees tabiyat bakhair hai". Mir Aness was very seriously ill but he cant kept his tongue quiet and replied by saying," paimana bhar chuka hai chalakne ki der hai".In this context S.Yusuf Hussain S/O Mir Arif said that Mir Anees replied by recited this stanza,

Atlast that evil time came on 29th shawwal 1291 hijri / 10 December 1874 AD. Mir Anees left artificial world for the original one.He died by leaving his family and friends crying and screaming after him.As soon as the news spread of Anees's death in the city his fan following started gathering in his house. In which the Islamic scholars,hakeems,poets, etc. and all the famous personalities were also collected there. The environment was full of chaos and sorrow. In the deewan khana the poets of Anees's family, Uns, Monis, Nafees,Raees,etc. were collected. People were giving sympathy to them. Anees's body took to Gomti for the Holy bath. After the last bath his body was taken to Imam bara Ghufran Maab. Namaze janaza was offerd by thousands of people in the presence of "Maulvi Syed Banda Hasan Sahab Mujthahid". After that the took to the maqbare Anees.Suleiman Qadr Bhadar sibling of WAJID ALI SHAH put a black shawl on the shoulders of elder son of Mir Anees (Mir Nafees). Which is called " shawl-e-aza". All the people crying and shouting by uttering " Haaye Mir sahab, Haaye Mir sahab". Mirza Salamat Ali Dbeer's student Sheikh Bhadar Hussain "Waheed" . "Ikyaan nabe bara saw ,jo saal aya nagahan


Ay Momino! Hussain ka matam akheer hai Ay Momino! Hussain ka matam akheer hai Bazm e azaa e qibla e alam akheer hai Shi'yo! Shahe anaam ka matam akheer hai Hain majlis e tamaam Moharram akheer hai Uryaan sar hai fatah e badr o hunayn ka De lo Batool e paak ko pursa Hussain ka

Haan aashiqaan e Shahe umam! Peeto apna sar Ashra hai aaj aur ye qayamat ki hai sahar Aalam ke baadshaah ka dunya se hai safar Uth te hain taaziye ke chaley Shahe bahrobar Rukhsat hai Shay ki ahle azaa behawaas hain Dekho tou kaise ta'ziya khane udaas hain

Wa hasrata Imam e gharibaan ka kooch hai Afsoos hai ke deen ke Sultaan ka kooch hai Roanakh ke din chaley Shahe zeeshaan ka kooch hai Rukhsat karo Hussain se mehmaan ka kooch hai Sadma ajab tarah ka hai dil par hai jaan par Kaisi udaasi phaeli huwi hai jahaan par

Ay noor e chashm e Ahmad e Muqtaar alwida Ay Sayyed Ay Batool ke dildaar alwida Ay ummat e Rasool ke ghamkhwaar alwida Ay hum se bekasoon ke madadgaar alwida Aah o buka se hum kabhi ghafil na hoinge Jab tak jeeyenge aap ki ghurbat pe roinge

Ay be dayaar o be sar o samaan alwida Ay binte Mustafa ke dil o jaan alwida Ahmad ke baagh ke gul rehaan alwida Das din ke mo'mineen ke mehmaan alwida Shi'yo nisaar tere tan e paash paash ke Ay be kafan Hussain! Fida teri laash ke

Ay jism o jaan e Hyder e karrar alwida Ay shi'yaan e deen ke sardar alwida Sayyad ghareeb bekas o naachaar alwida Be khoish o be biradar o be yaar alwida Hai hai imaam baadhon ko sunsaan kar chaley Aqaa tamaam hind ko veraan kar chaley

Lo Shahe deen ke taziya daaro! Karo buka Maatam ke din tamaam huwe wa musibata Yaaro! Wida hota hai mazloom e karbala Mehmaan dou pehar ka hai wo Shahe dou saraa Ab maut le chali Shahe aali maqaam ko Rukhsat karo Hussain alaihis salaam ko

Peeto mohibbo! Hind se aaqa ka kooch hai Ro'o ke aaj Sayyed e waala ka kooch hai Afsoos hai ke bekas o tanha ka kooch hai Haan shi'yoon! Khaak udhao ke Moula ka kooch hai Jee bhar ke ronay paaye na matam huwa akheer Aashur ka bhi rozay moharram huwa akheer

Kis tarha aaye ta'ziya daaron ke dil ko chain Har simpt roohe Fatima roti hai karke bain Ahle azaa! Ye nauha padho ab ba shor o shain Qurbaan teri laash ke Zahra ke noor e ain Mohtaaj gor garm zameen par padha raha Chalees roz dasht mein be sar padha raha

Dou din ki dhoop raat ki wo aaus hai sitam Wo kankaroon ka farsh wo maidaan e dard o gham Aur garm garm jhonkoon ka chalna wo dam badam Is dukh pe saarbaan ne kiye haath bhi qalam Sadmey guzar gaye ye tan e chaak chaak par Hai hai ye aasmaan na gira phat ke khaak par

Lo yaaro! Ab Hussain ki rukhsat ka roz hai Hyder ke noor e ain ki rukhsat ka roz hai Zahra ke dil ke chain ki rukhsat ka roz hai Sultaan e mashraqain ki rukhsat ka roz hai Phir karbala ki simpt Shahe karbala chala Hadi chala Imaam chala peshwa chala

Sibt e Nabi ki majlis o matam tamaam hai Ibne Ali ki majlis o matam tamaam hai Haq ke wali ki majlis o matam tamaam hai Roo e sakhi ki majlis o matam tamaam hai Aainda saal tak jo koi zinda hoyega Phir wo shareek hokay moharram mein royega

Bas ye zareeh hogi na hoinge ye alam Ye majlisein ye sohbatein ghar ghar se hogi kam Mimbar ko khali dekh ke hoyega dil ko gham Ye din wo hain ke qatl huwe hain Shahe umam Abh taaziya uth ta hai har ik khaak udhayega Abh tou imam baarhoon mein jaya na jaayega

Ro'o mohibbo! Aaj ke riqqat ka roz hai Sibte Nabi ki aaj shahadath ka roz hai Mazloom o tashnalab pa musibat ka roz hai Sar par udhao khaak qayamat ka roz hai Maatam tumharey aaqa ka yaaro tamaam hai Mehmaan koi dam koi saa'at Imaam hai

Ashray ka din hai aaj mohibbaan e bawafa Khanjar se zibhh hogaye Sultaan e karbala Laazim ka aaj tum ko karo girya o buka Jalti zameen par tan e uryaan parhaa raha Ghusl o kafan diya na tan e paash paash ko Gaada kisi ne aakey na Sayyed ki laash ko

Ay momino! Hussain ki rahlat ka waqt hai Ay yaaro! Tumse Shaah ki rukhsat ka waqt hai Lutne ka Fatima ki riyazat ka waqt hai Aaqa ki ye tumharey shahadath ka waqt hai Turbat mein jaakey zar e zameen gar na soyenge Phir aglay saal ashray mein Hazrat ko royenge 

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