A lively book author conversation was organized by IAS Association, Rajasthan on the Facebook page of IAS Literary Society, Rajasthan today. The conversation was based on the book ‘Beloved Delhi: A Mughal City and Her Greatest Poets’ authored by lawyer and writer, Dr. Saif Mahmood. He was in conversation with IAS Literary Secretary, IAS Association, Rajasthan, Ms. Mugdha Sinha. The talk focused on the concept for the book, origin of Urdu poetry, theories regarding Urdu language, classical Urdu poets, the rivalry between Mir and Ghalib, and much more.
Talking about the concept for the book, Dr. Mahmood said that although he did not study Urdu formally, he grew up surrounded by Urdu culture, literature, poetry and conversation. Both his parents come from illustrious Urdu backgrounds. He started writing columns on Delhi’s poets like Ghalib, Mir and others. This led to him writing the book that took about 4 years.
Talking about the theories surrounding Urdu, he said that a stereotype has been created that Urdu is a Muslim language and Hindi is a Hindu language. But the fact is that language cannot have a religion. Urdu is not only a language it is a composite culture in its own right. Urdu has been made to seem a complex and pure language by adding difficult words to it. The same way Hindi has been Sanskritised to seem complex.
Talking about the rivalry between Mir Taqi Mir and Mirza Ghalib, he said that both poets were geniuses in their own right. They were from two different centuries. Mir was from the 1700s and Ghalib from the 1800s. In fact, Ghalib himself considers Mir a genius who deserved respect. The major difference in their poetry is that Ghalib’s poetry is metaphysical and Mir’s is more grounded.
Throughout the talk, Dr. Mahmood also spoke about the life and works of other well-known Urdu poets like Mirza Muhammad Rafi Sauda, Khwaja Mir Dard, Momin Khan Momin, Mohammad Ibrahim Zauq as well as Bahadur Shah Zafar.