Early Years of Nazeer Akbarabadi
Nazeer Akbarabadi was born in Delhi in the year 1735. The period of his birth coincided with the decline of the Mughal Empire in India. While Nazeer was still a child, in the year 1739 Nadir Shah attacked Delhi and Muhammad Shah Rangeela was arrested. He was later released but countless people were mercilessly killed in Delhi. The horrors of this plunder were still fresh in the minds of people when 18 years later, in 1757 AD, Ahmad Shah Abdali attacked Delhi. People left Delhi for safer cities. Nazeer along with his mother and grandmother also abandoned Delhi and migrated to Akbarabad. At this time Nazeer was 18 years old.
Poetry of Nazeer Akbarabadi
It is often said that Nazeer's poetic treasure consisted of about 200,000 verses but unfortunately a bigger portion of it is destroyed and only 6000 verses are available in printed form. No other Urdu poet used as many words as Nazeer did. Nazeer's poetry conveyed the plight of the common people in their own everyday language and was very popular among the masses. It was due to this lack of the "elite" element perhaps that Nazir's genius was not recognized until much later.
He left for us about 600 ghazals, although his nazms are said to be more worthy of admiration. In fact, Nazeer's growing popularity is due to his nazms. He was purely a "People's poet" and his nazms reflected various aspects of the daily life of his age, all types of religious and social events with even minor details in which common people can be seen laughing, singing, teasing, playing. He wrote nazams about religious and social festivals, such as Diwali, Holi, Ed, Shab-e-baraat, about fruits and about animals and birds, about seasons and even inanimate objects, such as paisa, rupaiaa, rotiyaan, aata-daal (meaning "flour" and "lentils"), "pankha" (meaning "fan") and "kakrhi" (a kind of cucumber). He wrote nazms about different aspects of human life, such as "muflisi" (Urdu word meaning "poverty") and "kohrinamah" (chronicle of a leper). The canvas of Nazeer's nazms is so vast that it encompasses all aspects of human behaviour and every person can find nazms that can suit his taste.
Nazeer Akbarabadi's contemporaries were Mirza Muhammad Rafi Sauda, Mir Taqi Mir, Sheikh Qalandar Bakhsh Jur'at, Inshallah Khan Insha, and Ghulam Hamdani Mushafi. He was young during the age of Sauda and Mir and might be a middle aged man during the age of Jurat, Insha and Mushafi.
Nazeer died in 1830 AD, at the age of 95.
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