Mir Taqi Mir (1723 – 1810), whose real name was Muhammad Taqi and takhallus (pen name) was Mir (sometimes also spelt as Meer Taqi Meer), was the leading Urdu poet of the 18th century, and one of the pioneers who gave shape to the Urdu language itself. He was one of the principal poets of the Delhi School of the Urdu ghazal and remains arguably the foremost name in Urdu poetry often remembered as Khuda-e-sukhan (god of poetry).
Mir lived at a time when Urdu language and poetry was at a formative stage – and Mir’s instinctive aesthetic sense helped him strike a balance between the indigenous expression and new enrichment coming in from Persian imagery and idiom, to constitute the new elite language known as Rekhta or Hindui. Basing his language on his native Hindustani, he leavened it with a sprinkling of Persian diction and phraseology, and created a poetic language at once simple, natural and elegant, which was to guide generations of future poets.
His complete works, Kulliaat, consist of six Diwans containing 13,585 couplets, comprising all kinds of poetic forms: ghazal, masnavi, qasida, rubai, mustezaad, satire, etc. Mir’s literary reputation is anchored on the ghazals in his Kulliyat-e-Mir, much of them on themes of love. His masnavi Mu’amlat-e-Ishq (The Stages of Love) is one of the greatest known love poems in Urdu literature (Source: wikipedia)
One of his most popular shers, even in modern times, forms the beginning of the ghazal below:
Ibtedaae ishq hai rota hai kya
Aage Aage dekhiye hota hai kya
Qafile mein subah ke ek shor hai
Yaani ghaafil hum chale sota hai kya
Sabz hoti hi nahi yeh sar zameen
Turkm-e-khwahish dil mein tu bota hai kya
Yeh nishaan-e-ishq hain jaate nahin,
Daagh chhaati ke abas dhota hai kya
Ghairat-e-Yousaf hai yeh waqt-e-aziz,
Mir isko raigaan khota hai kya
The English translation is here:
It’s only the beginning of love, why dost thou groan?
O, wait and see what happens as you onward move.
The clamour of the morning caravan gives a clarion call:
“Here we go, you sluggard, high time you woke!”
Never shall it sprout, the valley of my heart,
Why sow the seed of desire in this barren soil?
These are the stains of love, indelible, ingrained,
In vain dost thou labour to wash your breast clean
Dearer than beauteous Yousaf, each hour of life,
Why do you, O Mir, let it slip in vain?
The Urdu and Hindi scripts of the ghazal are below, from the book “Meer ki shayari” (compiled by Amar Dehlvi)