Urdu poets, have experimented with various languages apart from have limited themselves to not just Urdu, but also have experimented with languages like Persian, Hindi and Arabic. India has had its share of famous Urdu poets and has preserved the priceless treasure of their beautiful poetic works for our present and future generation. Urdu poetry has had its origin in Arabia and Persia and yet India is highly influenced by this field of poetry and there have been many famous poets who wrote Urdu poetry in the country.
In India, most of these Urdu poets used pseudonyms and pen names known as 'Takhallus'. This word, meaning 'ending' is derived from Arabic. This pen name was actually fixed at the end of a poet's name and the conventional way of identifying an Urdu poet was by taking the pen name. Also, when a poet wrote a poem or a Ghazal, his pen name would be incorporated at the end of the poem as a signature.
Some of the all-time popular Urdu poets are discussed as follows:
Ali Sardar Zafri
Ali Sardar Zafri was born in Balrampur in Uttar Pradesh. He came to the Indian city of Mumbai in the year 1942 and made it his home. Arrested for writing against British Rule in India, Zafri was among the votaries of the progressive movement in Urdu literature. Zafri's literary career began at the young age of 17.
Amir Khusro, one of the most versatile personalities of medieval India, was born in 1253 in a place called Patiyali in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. His real name was Abul Hasan Yamin al-Din Khusrow whereas Amir Khusro was his pen name. Also known as Amir Khusro Dehlavi, this creative classical poet was associated with the royal empires of more than seven rulers of Delhi.
Bahadur Shah Zafar
The last Mughal emperor of India, Bahadur Shah Zafar II (1775-1862) was born Abu Zafar Sirajuddin Muhammad Bahadur Shah Zafar and was a very famous Urdu poet in his times. His poems are still read with much keenness and respect among the numerous fans of Urdu poetry.
Nawab Mirza Khan Daag better known as Daag Dehlvi was born in 1831 in Delhi. His father died when he was all but 6 years of age and that is why his stepfather, Mirza Muhammed Fakhroo, brought him up. Mirza Muhammad was related to Mogul ruler Bahadur Shah Zafar. Following his death 1865, Daag left Delhi for Rampur where he went into government service and spent a comfortable life.
Firaq Gorakhpuri was born Raghupati Sahay in the year 1896 at Gorakhpur District of Eastern Uttar Pradesh. Born to a family of aristocrats, Firaq had a taste of Urdu poetry at very tender age. He started writing poetry in Urdu in teens and developed his own niche in an era that was marked by the likes of Sahir, Iqbal, Faiz and Kaifi.
Gulzar was born Sampooran Singh at Deena in Pakistan in the year 1934. After partition in 1947, he came to Delhi. Gulzar started his career as an assistant to celebrated director Bimal Roy and Hrishikesh Mukherjee. He started his career as a lyricist with Bimal Roy's 'Bandini'.
One name that is synonymous with romance, aesthetics and Urdu poetry in contemporary India is that of Javed Akhtar. This famous lyricist and songwriter were born on January 17th 1945 in Gwalior. The life history of Javed Akhtar is a roller coaster ride and the number of honours to his name is an endless list that is still growing.
Born as Akhtar Hussain Rizvi in a family of landlords of a small town of Uttar Pradesh, Kaifi Azmi was a very renowned Urdu poet of India. Though his father, Syed Fateh Hussain Rizvi was a landlord, he also worked as a Tehsildar in a small state in Uttar Pradesh.
Majaz was born in Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh in 1909-10. After completing his initial education from Lucknow and Agra, Majaz moved to Aligarh for his higher studies. He completed his graduation from Aligarh Muslim University in the year 1936. This was the same era when Aligarh Muslim University was swept by the movement of progressive writer's.
Meer Taqi Meer
Syed Amanullah Meer Taqi was the only son of a Sufi saint, Meer Muttaqi. When Meer was a little child, his father looking at his face used to say what this fire is burning within your heart that is reflecting on your face. Living, from a very young age, in an ambience of Sufism, had profound effect on Meer.
Meher Baba Huma
Meher Baba Huma was a famous spiritual leader of India. He was born in Merwan Sheriar Irani on February 25th 1894. He led a normal life and grew up like any other boy, going to school and college and finishing education. The life history of Meher Baba is a very interesting and an extraordinary event.
Momin Khan Momin
Momin Khan Momin, a great Urdu Poet of 19th century, was born in respectable Delhi family of physicians in the year 1801. He used "Momin" as his takhallus. It is the Urdu of 'nom de plume'. His elementary and higher educations were completed in various Madarsa in Delhi where he studied Arabic and Persian. Momin Khan Momin was gifted with a multifaceted personality.
Mohammad Ibrahim Zauq
One of the greatest Urdu poets of all times, Mohammad Ibrahim Zauq is regarded as one of the pioneers of Urdu poetry. He was born in 1789 in a poor family and had very ordinary education. Yet his treasure of Urdu poem and ghazals were immense and are considered priceless today.
One of the best-known Urdu poets of all times, Mirza Ghalib is a name that is synonymous with Urdu poetry. Born Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan, Ghalib was a pen name he adopted. It is like a pseudonym that most poets and writers adopt in the literary world. The life history of Ghalib is truly interesting and Ghalib biography indeed makes a good read. Ghalib was born in Agra, India in Turkish aristocratic ancestry on 27th December 1796.
One of the greatest Urdu poets in the contemporary world, Allama Muhammad Iqbal is famous for his poetry in Urdu and Persian. He is also given much credit for his works on political and religious philosophy in Islam. The life history of Allama Muhammad Iqbal is very interesting and this section titled as Allama Muhammad Iqbal biography shall give you further information about his life.
Muqtida Hasan Nida Fazli, born in 1938 in Delhi, is an eminent Urdu poet and lyricist. His poetry is often described as lacking in any singular identity thereby defying neat categorizations. His poetry reflects the various trajectories of a poet who "travelled in many directions".