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Forms of Urdu Poetry

Forms of Urdu Poetry: One of Rich Language

Urdu, as we know it today, traces its origins to the local dialects spoken in and around Delhi, known as Dehalvi. It began to take shape during the 13th and 14th centuries, incorporating vocabulary from Turkish, Arabic, and Persian. The language underwent several transformations and was known by various names such as Dehalvi, before evolving into the modern language of Urdu.

Ameer Khusrau, a prolific and influential writer, played a crucial role in popularizing. Which he referred to as Dehalvi. He is often credited as the father of Urdu, laying the foundation for the rich literary traditions that followed.

ze-hal-e-miskin makun taghaful durae nainan banae batiyan
ki tab-e-hijran nadaram ai jaan na lehu kaahe lagae chhatiyan

ज़े-हाल-ए-मिस्किन मकुन तग़ाफ़ुल दुराए नैनन बनाए बतियाँ
कि तब-ए-हिज्रां नदरम ऐ जान न लेहु काहे लागे छतियां

Ameer Khusrau

Introduction to Various Forms of Urdu Poetry

With its beauty and rich linguistic tradition, Urdu poetry presents the depth of human passion and expression. From captivating ghazals to heart-wrenching marsiyas, Urdu poetry comes in many genres, each appealing and meaningful. On this journey, we will explore the rich field of Urdu poetry, honoring its long history and cultural relevance.

Forms of Urdu Poetry

Ghazal: Best Forms of Urdu Poetry

The word “ghazal” refers to a group of couplets (shers or ashaar) that adhere to specific rules such as ‘matla,’ ‘maqta,’ ‘bahar,’ ‘qafiya,’ and ‘radeef.’ Each couplet in a ghazal stands alone as a complete unit. All the couplets in a ghazal must have the same bahar, rhyme, and end in the same words (radeef) (qaafiyaa). Additionally, every ghazal must contain a matla, although a maqta is optional. If a maqta is present, it must be in the last sher.

Gair muraddaf ghazals are ghazals that are radeef-free, strictly following the qafiya norm. However, such ghazals are quite uncommon. Ham-radeef ghazals are those ghazals that share the same radeef.

The ghazal evolved from the Arabic poetry form qasida in Persia during the 10th century AD. A Qasida (Ballad) typically praises monarchs, princes, or the poet’s patron while describing conflicts. Lengthy poetry in Arabic, Persian, or Urdu composers typically compose.

The Sufi mystics and the Islamic Sultanates brought the ghazal to India in the 12th century. Where it thrived in Persian and then Urdu.

A Ghazal typically consists of around 7 couplets, but it can have as few as 5 or as many as 15.

Each sher or couplet in a ghazal stands independently, despite a common refrain connecting the couplets throughout the poem.


Nazm is a “well-organized, logically progressing poetry” with a primary topic addressed in each stanza. Poets compose a Nazm in rhymed, unrhymed, or even free verse poetry.

In the twentieth century, poets of the Progressive Writers Association favored Nazm to disseminate their message of freedom and equality. Forms of Urdu Poetry {Nazm} refers to all types of Urdu poetry that do not fit into any other genre. A Nazm, on the other hand, is a well-organized, logically growing poetry. In which each line fulfills the purpose of the poem’s fundamental subject or theme. In a Nazm, poets usually craft it in rhymed verse. Addressing a singular concept while adhering to a rhyme scheme of (a, a, b, a) in its lines.


Poets traditionally compose the qasida, a form of poetry, to honor a monarch, noble, or benefactor. Like a ghazal, the qasida starts with a rhymed couplet. Which then repeats in the second line of each following verse. Typically, a qasida has a 50-line limit, providing a structured yet expansive canvas for poetic expression.


The term “Marsiya” originates from the Arabic word “Risa,” which signifies deep sorrow or mourning for a departed soul. It is a poetic form of lamentation, often an elegy associated with the tragedy of Karbala. Marsiya typically consists of six-line units, comprising a rhyming quatrain followed by a couplet with a different rhyme scheme. Its structure features six-line verses with the rhymes AA, AA, and BB.


Epic poetry is lengthy narrative poetry. It often explores themes of religion, romance, or moral lessons. Unlike shorter forms like the ghazal, epic poetry is expansive, often spanning a considerable length. One of its defining features is its composition in rhymed couplets, where each pair of lines rhyme with each other. Each couplet in a Ghazal features a distinct rhyme scheme. Includes a radeef, which is a repeated word or phrase found at the end of the second line. This repetition strengthens the poem’s structure and emphasizes key themes, resonating more deeply with the audience.


A quatrain consists of four lines. It can be a standalone poem or part of a larger one. A quatrain typically characterizes itself with its rhyme scheme and frequently tackles a single concept or idea. In a quatrain, the first and third lines often rhyme (a). The second and fourth lines rhyme with each other (b). This rhyme scheme (a, a, b, a) creates unity and completion. It helps the quatrain convey its message concisely.

Moshin Ansari

Mohsin Ansari is a talented writer from surat, gujarat. He has a deep love for literature and enjoys both writing and reading. Mohsin dedicates himself to becoming a great writer and is particularly skilled at crafting mesmerizing poems and captivating stories. He has co-authored a wealth of books, including "Ishq - Happen Again", "Love Amid Distance", "Let's Bring Back Memories", "Chalk n' Duster, and The Colourful Ink", among others. His writing style is characterized by utopian ideals, raw emotion, and profound insight. Whether you're reading his Ghazal, Sher, Nazm, Poetry, or Story, one thing is certain - they will take you on an unforgettable emotional journey.

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