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The three great poets presented in this volume - Mir, Mir Hasan and Sauda - lived in Delhi, or in its general vicinity, in the eighteenth century during a time of widespread violence and disaster. The Mughal Empire was crumbling and disintegrating internally as the great feudal nobles fought among themselves for control of the emperor. In this atmosphere of misery, demoralization, and despair occurred the first major flowering of Urdu literature.
Sauda, the first to be discussed, wrote poems in all the main classical forms, but he was an unequalled satirist in an age that cried for satire, and it is that portion of his work that is considered here.
Mir Hasan also was born in Delhi and probably lived there until after the occupation, massacre, and looting of 1739, which occurred when he was about fourteen. Like his two contmporaries, he wrote in all the classical forms and excelled in one, to which he devoted most of his effort. In his case it was the mansavi, a long narrative poem in rhymed couplets often telling a love story.
Mir, perhaps the greatest of the three, is, in the opinion of the authors, one of the great love poems of world literature. His favourite form was the ghazal, a subtle and difficult one which the authors discuss in detail, giving numerous examples.
In presenting these Mughal poets, the authors have let the literature speak for itself wherever possible, adding a minimum of comment.
(This is a paperback edition of the earlier hardback published in 1991.)
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