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Mohammad Ibrahim Zauq

Sheikh Mohammad Ibrahim Zauq was the pen name of Sheikh Ibrahim (1789-1854), one of the brightest stars in the galaxy of Urdu poets. He was a poor youth, with only ordinary education, who went on to acquire quite some learning in history, tradition and astrology in his later years.

Zauq was a prominent contemporary of Ghalib and in the history of Urdu poetry the rivalry of the two poets is quite well known. During his lifetime Zauq was more popular than Ghalib for the critical values in those days were mainly confined to judging a piece of poetry on the basis of usage of words, phrases and idioms. Content and style were barely taken into account while appreciating poetry

Career

Zauq's reputation in Urdu poetry is because of his eulogies that reflect his command over the language and his expertise in composing poetry in extremely difficult meters. Since he got associated with the royal court right from his teens and remained there till his death, he had to write mostly eulogies to seek the patronage and rewards from the princes and the King. His mentor, Shah Naseer, would also pay attention only to the linguistic eloquence and mastery over prosody. Zauq also emulated the example of his mentor. Such style of poetry suits eulogy writing. Many critics regard him a great eulogy writer next only to Sauda.
His ghazals also have some literary values. Since Bahadur Shah Zafar was fond of using simple and colloquial diction, Zauq too composed his ghazals using simple words, phrases of everyday use and similes rooted in the common culture. His ghazals are also notable for their spontaneity. Zauq was a deeply religious man. In his ghazals too he would deal with religious and ethical themes. Therefore, his ghazals lack lyricism and appear to be the verses of a preacher.



 

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