In this fifteenth part of our 20-programme radio series – ILM-E-SHAYRI, Mehr-e-Alam Khan describes Sālim (Perfect/ Unaltered) and popular Mazāhif (Catalectic) Arkān (Feet) of five Murakkab (Compound) Bahoor (Metres) – Bahr-e-Khafīf, Bahr-e-Muzārà’, Bahr-e-Muqtazib, Bahr-e-Mujtas and Bahr-e-Mashākil – used in Urdu poetry.

The basic Arkān (Feet) of Bahr-e-Khafīf are Fā-‘ilā-tun, Mus-taf’i-lun, Fā-‘ilā-tun, and those of Bahr-e-Muzārà’ are Mufā-‘ī-lun, Fā’i-lā-tun, Mufā-‘ī-lun, Fā’i-lā-tun
In Bahr-e-Muqtazib, the basic Arkān are Maf-‘oo-lātu, Mus-taf-‘ilun, Maf-‘oo-lātu, Mus-taf-‘ilun. The basic Arkān of Bahr-e-Mujtas are Mus-taf’i-lun, Fā-‘ilā-tun, Mus-taf’i-lun, Fā-‘ilā-tun and those of Bahr-e-Mashākil are Fā’i-lā-tun, Mufā-‘ī-lun, Mufā-‘ī-lun.

Citing exemplary Ash’ār (Couplets) by renowned Urdu poets, Mehr-e-Alam Khan explains the composition of 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 fifteenth part, to demonstrate Sālim and popular Mazāhif forms of the five Murakkab Bahoor include Mīr Taqī Mīr, Momin Khan Momin, Mirza Ghālib, Sheikh Ibrāhīm Zauq, Rafī’ Saudā, Dāgh Dehlvī, Amīr Mīnāī, Nizām Rāmpurī, Syed Inshā, Sīmāb Akbarābādī, Fānī Badāyūnī, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Firāq Gorakhpurī, Bashīr Badr, etc.

In the previous part, Sālim and Mazāhif forms of seven Murakkab Bahoor (Compound Metres) – Bahr-e-Tawīl, Bahr-e-Madīd, Bahr-e-Basīt, Bahr-e-Sarī’, Bahr-e-Jadīd, Bahr-e-Qarīb and Bahr-e-Munsarah were explained quoting suitable Ash’ār (Couplets) of famous Urdu poets.

Shephali Frost sings a nazm penned by Faiz Ahmed Faiz:

Tum na aaye the to har ik cheez wohi thi ki jo hai
Aasman hadd-e-nazr, rahguzar rahguzar, sheesha-e-mai sheesha-e-mai….

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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