In this fourteenth part of our 20-programme radio series – ILM-E-SHAYRI, Mehr-e-Alam Khan describes the Sālim (Perfect/ Unaltered) and Mazāhif (Catalectic) Arkān (Feet) of seven Murakkab (Compound) Bahoor (Metres) – Bahr-e-Tawīl, Bahr-e-Madīd, Bahr-e-Basīt, Bahr-e-Sarī’, Bahr-e-Jadīd, Bahr-e-Qarīb and Bahr-e-Munsarah – used in Urdu poetry.

The basic Arkān (Feet) of Bahr-e-Tawīl are Fa’oo-lun, Mufā-‘ī-lun Fa’oo-lun, Mufā-‘ī-lun and those of Bahr-e-Madīd are Fā-‘ilā-tun, Fā-‘ilun, Fā-‘ilā-tun, Fā-‘ilun.

In Bahr-e-Basīt the basic Arkān are Mus-taf-‘ilun, Fā-‘ilun, Mus-taf-‘ilun, Fā-‘ilun. The basic Arkān of Bahr-e-Sarī’ are Mus-taf-‘ilun, Mus-taf-‘ilun, Maf-‘oo-lātu and those of Bahr-e-Jadīd are Fā-‘ilā-tun, Fā-‘ilā-tun, Mus-taf’i-lun. Besides, in Bahr-e-Qarīb the basic Arkān are Mufā-‘ī-lun, Mufā-‘ī-lun, Fā’i-lā-tun, and in Bahr-e-Munsarah these are Mus-taf-‘ilun, Maf-‘oo-lātu, Mus-taf-‘ilun.

Discussing the Arkān of Sālim (Perfect/ Unaltered) and popular Mazāhif (Catalectic) forms of the aforesaid five Murakkab Bahoor, Mehr-e-Alam Khan cites reprentative Ash’ār (Couplets) by contemporary and yesteryear Urdu poets in order to explain these Bahoor both in Musamman and Musaddas forms. A Musamman Bahr carries eight Arkān in a Shé’r (Couplet) i.e. four in each Misra’ (Hemistich/ one line of a Shé’r). Similarly, a Musaddas Bahr is one that carries six Arkān in a Shé’r i.e. three in each Misra’.

The poets whose Ash’ār have been quoted, in this fourteenth part to demonstrate Sālim and popular Mazāhif forms of the five Murakkab Bahoor include Safī Lakhnawī, Kanhayya Lāl, Āghā Nisār, Abdul Hamīd ‘Adam, Mehboob Khizāñ, Mehr-e-Alam, Abdul Azīz Khālid, Sháifta, Arif Hasan Khan, Syed Inshā, Jigar Murādābādī, Qatīl Shifāī and Mirza Ghālib.

In the previous part, Sālim and Mazāhif forms of two Mufrad Bahoor (Single Metres) – Bahr-e-Mutaqārib and Bahr-e-Mutadārik were explained quoting suitable Ash’ār (Couplets) of renowned yesteryear- and contemporary Urdu poets.

Shephali Frost recites Majaz:

Husn Ko Be-hijaab Hona Thha
Ishque Ko Kaamyaab Hona Thha

Ilm-e-Shayri ( علمِ شاعری इल्म-ए-शायरी ) is the first-ever radio series of programmes, based on the art and skills involved in writing Urdu poetry. The series, consisting of 20 radio programmes of more than 15 minutes’ duration each, answers some of the basic questions about the art of Urdu poetry.

Ilm-e-Shayri describes various patterns of rhythms and sounds in Urdu poetry, the study of which falls under Ilm-e-‘Arooz (Urdu Prosody). Based on a conversation between Mehr-e-Alam Khan, an Urdu poetry enthusiast and journalist, and Pervaiz Alam, Cine Ink, the series Ilm-e-Shayri gives a vivid description of various Bahrs(meters) used to write Urdu poetry, their popular forms, and specific patterns of arkaan(feet) that form a bahr as well as the origin and development of ‘Arooz.

The series, discussing Zehaafaat (catalexis), any irregular changes in Bahr (meter), describes popular catalectic forms of various Bahrs.
It also offers important principles for Taqtee’ (scansion) i.e. examining the metrical feet (arkaan) of a verse (she’r).

The series includes a brief account of various forms of Urdu poetry, and important tips for writing poetry. It also provides answers to various queries you might have about writing Urdu poetry, as we go along.


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