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Lecture on Shibli’s Persian Ghazals

Azamgarh: On March 25, Shamsur Rahman Farooqi, Urdu critic, delivered a memorial lecture on Allama Shibli’s Persian Ghazal, at Darul Musannifin, Azamgarh. Convener of the function Umairus Siddiq Nadwi said that Shibli’s Persian poetry, though not a lot, is equal to that of famous ancient poets. He is one of the four vital pillars of Indian Persian poetry of the last century. An appraisal of his Persian poetry reveals that had he fully devoted himself to it, his poetry would have been superior to that of Ghalib and Iqbal in Persian. Introducing Farooqi, Dr Abdullah said that Farooqi has taken forward the Modernity movement which was started by Khalilur Rahman Azami, to its zenith. His criticism is marked with creativity, a quality which is rare in earlier critics.

Farooqi said that it is his privilege to deliver a memorial lecture at Darul Musannifin because whatever he has achieved is due to the parental training and frequent visits to Shibli Academy which played an important role in shaping his life. In his lecture, pointing out in depth the unfair criticism of and injustices done to Shibli by critics and researchers, Farooqi said that Shibli’s Persian verses were highly appreciated and held in high regard in his lifetime. Some scholars were even of the opinion that Shibli’s poetry is at a higher level than that of Shaikh Ali Hazin’s. Likewise, several scholars are of the opinion that regarding the capability of composing verse in Iranian style and sticking to the Iranian’s idiom as well as its poetic taste, no one could be compared with Shibli. The flow of Shibli’s Persian verse reminds one of Hafiz at every step. Farooqi narrated the causes due to which Shibli’s Persian verse was ignored. And mentioned the statements of his critics too. Comparing Shibli with Talib Amli, Amir Khusro and Ghalib, the giants of Persian poetry, Farooqi mentioned the salient characteristics of his Ghazal. He said that it is not proper to associate minor incidents of the personal life of a poet to his poetry, rather it is injustice and highhandedness, because with this neither does one’s understanding power of the poetry increase nor does it help in explaining poetry. Therefore, putting aside one’s mindset Shibli’s verse should be studied. Director of Shibli Academy, Prof. Ishtiaq Ahmad Zilli, said that Allama Shibli had a vast and deep knowledge of Persian language and literature. He also quoted Abul Kalam Azad’s words that Persian poetry, in India ended not with Ghalib but with Shibli.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 May 2011 on page no. 18

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