Sheikh Muhammad Ibrahim Zauq was a noted Urdu poet . He wrote poetry under nom de plume “Zauq”, and was appointed poet laureate of the Mughal Court in Delhi. He was a poor youth, with only ordinary education, who went on to acquire quite some learning in history, tradition and astrology in his later years. Zauq was a prominent contemporary of Ghalib and in the history of Urdu poetry the rivalry of the two poets is quite well known. During his lifetime Zauq was more popular than Ghalib for the critical values in those days were mainly confined to judging a piece of poetry on the basis of usage of words, phrases and idioms. Content and style were barely taken into account while appreciating poetry
Since Bahadur Shah Zafar was fond of using simple and colloquial diction, Zauq too composed his ghazals using simple words, phrases of everyday use and similes rooted in the common culture. His ghazals are also notable for their spontaneity. Zauq was a deeply religious man. In his ghazals too he would deal with religious and ethical themes. Therefore, his ghazals lack lyricism and appear to be the verses of a preacher.
A Major portion of Zauq’s poetical output got lost because mutiny of 1857. Maulana Mohammed Husain Azad compiled a slim volume of his poetry with the help of his pupils like Hafiz, Veeran, Anwar and Zaheer that contains twelve hundred couplets of Ghazals and fifteen Eulogies. Even though much of his work was lost, he left behind a legacy of ghazal, qasida, and mukhammas
Son of an ordinary soldier in the Mughal army , Zauq was sent to a maktab (elementary religious school) that was run by Hafiz Ghulam Rasool. Hafiz himself was a poet and used Shauq as his nom de plume. Under his influence the young Mohammed Ibrahim also got attracted towards poetry. Hafiz provided the required encouragement, took him as his pupil in poetry too and suggested Zauq as his nom de plume. Though Zauq could not complete the course of the maktab, he got hooked to poetry. In those days Shah Naseer was the most famous master poet of Delhi. Zauq began showing his ghazals to Shah Naseer for improvement. Naseer recognized the natural talent and made him his pupil. Gradually, Zauq began participating in the mushairas. His natural bent of mind towards poetry coupled with his singular obsession to excel in the pursuit brought him fame and fortune. He would be better appreciated in the mushairas than his mentor. Shah Naseer got very annoyed with the growing popularity of Zauq. He threw him out of the group of his pupils. Zauq, thereafter, relied only on his talent and continued writing poetry with a vengeance.
Another poet, Meer Kazim Husain Beqarar, a friend of Zauq’s was appointed the mentor of the Crown Prince Zafar, who later ascended the throne. Through him Zauq could got the chance to enter the royal court. He also started participating in the royal mushairas. When Beqarar took up the job of Meer Munshi (Head Clerk) in the Office of John Elphinstone, Crown Prince Zafar appointed Zauq as his mentor with a monthly salary of Rs. 4- that was ultimately raised to Rs. 100- when Bahadur Shah Zafar ascended the throne. He remained the poet laureate of the Mughal Court till his death in 1854.
Munshi Mohammed Ali Tashnah was an eccentric poet in Ghalib’s era who came to mushairas in a state of inebriety as well as nudity. Of all the poets present in #DilliKaAakhiriShama he was the only one who had a sense of things to come in 1845.
Aankh padti hai kahin, paanv kahin padta hai
Sab ki hai tumko khabar, apni khabar kuchh bhi nahin
Shama hai, gul bhi hai, bulbul bhi hai, parwana bhi
Raat ki raat yeh sab kuch hai, sehar kuchh bhi nahin
Hashr ki dhoom hai, sab kahte hain yun hai, yun hai
Fitna hai ek teri thokar ka , magar kuchh bhi nahin
Nesti ki hai mujhe koocha e hasti mein talaash,
Saer karta hun udhar ki jidhar kuchh bhi nahin
Ek ansoo bhi asar jab na kare Tashnah
Fayda rone se ai deeda e tar kuchh bhi nahin , kuchh bhi nahin
( reciting this Tashna abruptly got up and left the mushaira repeating kuchh bhi nahin kuchh bhi nahin )