Ilm e Arooz: The Art and Science of Urdu Poetry
Ilm e Arooz is a branch of Urdu poetics that deals with the rules and principles of meter, rhyme and prosody. It is derived from the Arabic term 'ilm al-'arud, which means the science of poetic meters. Ilm e Arooz is essential for understanding and appreciating the beauty and structure of Urdu poetry, as well as for composing verses in accordance with the classical norms and standards.
Ilm e Arooz has a long and rich history in Urdu literature, dating back to the 16th century when the first treatises on this subject were written by scholars like Mir Fakhr-ud-Din Muhammad Ghalib Lakhnavi and Mirza Khan Daagh Dehlvi. Since then, many books and articles have been written on Ilm e Arooz by poets, critics and linguists, covering various aspects and dimensions of this discipline.
One of the most comprehensive and authoritative sources on Ilm e Arooz is the book Ilm-e-Arooz-o-Qafiya-o-Tareekh Goi by Syed Hasan Kazim Arooz[^1^], which was published in 1997. This book covers the history, theory and practice of Ilm e Arooz in detail, with examples from various genres and periods of Urdu poetry. It also discusses the relation between Ilm e Arooz and other aspects of Urdu poetics, such as qafiya (rhyme), radif (refrain), tareekh goi (chronogram) and bahr (meter).
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Another useful resource on Ilm e Arooz is the book Ilm-e-Arooz Aur Urdu Shairi by Mohammad Aslam Zia[^2^], which was also published in 1997. This book focuses on the application of Ilm e Arooz to Urdu poetry, with an emphasis on the modern trends and developments. It also provides a comparative analysis of Ilm e Arooz with other languages and poetic traditions, such as Persian, Arabic, Hindi and English.
For those who are interested in learning more about Ilm e Arooz, there are several online platforms that offer free access to books and articles on this topic. One of them is Rekhta[^1^] [^2^], which is a website dedicated to Urdu poetry and literature. Rekhta has a digital library that contains hundreds of books on Ilm e Arooz, which can be read online or downloaded as PDF files. Rekhta also has a section called Aamozish, which is an interactive learning portal that teaches the basics of Ilm e Arooz through video lectures, quizzes and exercises.
Ilm e Arooz is a fascinating and rewarding field of study that can enrich one's understanding and appreciation of Urdu poetry. It can also inspire one to create new and original verses in accordance with the rules and principles of this art form. Ilm e Arooz is not only a science, but also a craft that requires practice, patience and passion.
One of the main challenges of Ilm e Arooz is to understand and classify the different types of meters that are used in Urdu poetry. A meter is a pattern of syllables that determines the rhythm and melody of a verse. There are two basic types of syllables in Urdu: harf-e-taanees (long) and harf-e-mujarrad (short). A long syllable is one that has a vowel sound followed by a consonant sound, such as 'ba', 'ra', 'na', etc. A short syllable is one that has only a vowel sound, such as 'a', 'i', 'u', etc.
Ilm e Arooz uses a system of symbols to represent the different types of syllables and meters. A long syllable is denoted by a dash (-), a short syllable by a dot (.), and a pause by a slash (/). For example, the meter of the famous verse by Mirza Ghalib:
Na tha kuchh to Khuda tha, kuchh na hota to Khuda hota
can be represented as:
- / - . - / - . - / - . - / - . -
This meter is called mutaqarib, which means 'close' or 'near'. It is one of the most common and popular meters in Urdu poetry. There are many other meters, such as mutadaarik, ramal, khafeef, saree', basit, wafir, etc., each with its own name, structure and characteristics.
Ilm e Arooz also deals with the rules and principles of rhyme, which is another important element of Urdu poetry. Rhyme is the repetition of similar sounds at the end of lines or verses. In Urdu poetry, rhyme is usually achieved by using qafiya and radif. Qafiya is the similarity of sounds before the last word of each line, such as 'tha' and 'hota' in the above example. Radif is the repetition of the same word or phrase at the end of each line, such as 'Khuda tha' and 'Khuda hota' in the above example.
Ilm e Arooz also covers other aspects of Urdu poetics, such as tareekh goi, which is the art of composing chronograms or verses that indicate a specific date or year. Tareekh goi is based on assigning numerical values to each letter of the Urdu alphabet, and then using them to form words or phrases that add up to a desired number. For example, the following verse by Mir Taqi Mir:
Mir ke deen-o-mazhab ko ab poochte kya ho un ne
to kashka khaincha dair mein baitha kab ka tark Islam kiya
indicates the year 1193 AH (1779 AD), which is the year when Mir left Delhi for Lucknow. The numerical values of each letter are:
Mir= 40 + 10 + 200 = 250
ke= 20 + 5 = 25
deen-o-mazhab= 4 + 50 + 50 + 6 + 40 + 7 + 2 = 159
ko= 20 + 6 = 26
ab= 1 + 2 = 3
poochte= 80 + 6 + 400 + 8 = 494
kya= 20 + 10 + 1 = 31
ho un ne= 5 + 6 + 70 + 50 = 131