Background of Marsia
'Marsiya' is a word which is derived from the Arabic word called "Risa" which means a massive tragedy or lamentation for departed soul. As the history of 'Marsiya' has always been on the death of Hasan and Hussein and their families, but there are cases occasionally on the death of relatives and friends. It is mainly in the six lined stanzas with the rhyme aaaabb.
The reading of these elegies in the first ten days of Muharram is one of the greatest events in Muslim life. A fully developed Marsiya is always an epic.
This form actually established a specially affable soil in Lucknow, primarily because it was one of the centres of Shia Muslim communities in Indian sub-continent, which regarded it an act of piety and religious duty to eulogies and bemoan the martyrs of the battle of Karbala. The form reached its peak in the writing of Mir Babar Ali Anis. Marsia is a poem written to commemorate the martyrdom of Ahl al-Bayt, Imam Hussain and Battle of Karbala. It is usually a poem of mourning. And Even a short poem written to mourn the death of a friend can be called marsia. Lord Alfred 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. The famous Marsia writers in Urdu are Mir Babar Ali Anis, Mir Moonis, Salamat Ali Dabeer and Mir Zameer.
Mir Babar Ali Anis a prominent Urdu Poet 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. Mir Anis has drawn upon the vocabulary of Arabic, Persian, Urdu Language/Hindi Language /Awadhi in such a good measure that he symbolizes the full spectrum of the cultural mosaic that Urdu has come to be.
Muharram and Mir Anis have become identical among the lovers of Urdu literature in India and Pakistan. The first major and still current critical articulation about Mir Anis was Muazna-e-Anis-o-Dabir in the year 1907 written by Shibli Nomani in which he said "the poetic qualities and merits of Anis are not matched by any other poet.