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farishtoñ se bhī achchhā maiñ burā hone se pahle thā

vo mujh se intihā.ī ḳhush ḳhafā hone se pahle thā

farishton se bhi achchha main bura hone se pahle tha

wo mujh se intihai KHush KHafa hone se pahle tha

Anwar Shuoor

tujh se milne ko be-qarār thā dil

tujh se mil kar bhī be-qarār rahā

tujh se milne ko be-qarar tha dil

tujh se mil kar bhi be-qarar raha

Rasa Chughtai

baat ulTī vo samajhte haiñ jo kuchh kahtā huuñ

ab pūchhā to ye kah dūñgā ki haal achchhā hai

baat ulTi wo samajhte hain jo kuchh kahta hun

ab ki puchha to ye kah dunga ki haal achchha hai

Jaleel Manikpuri
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chubhan ye piiTh meñ kaisī hai muḌ ke dekh to le

kahīñ koī tujhe pīchhe se dekhtā hogā

chubhan ye piTh mein kaisi hai muD ke dekh to le

kahin koi tujhe pichhe se dekhta hoga

Sheen Kaaf Nizam

ab ke is bazm meñ kuchh apnā pata bhī denā

paañv par paañv jo rakhnā to dabā bhī denā

ab ke is bazm mein kuchh apna pata bhi dena

panw par panw jo rakhna to daba bhi dena

Zafar Iqbal
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  • लज़्ज़त
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ulfat meñ barābar hai vafā ho ki jafā ho

har baat meñ lazzat hai agar dil meñ mazā ho

ulfat mein barabar hai wafa ho ki jafa ho

har baat mein lazzat hai agar dil mein maza ho


Quiz A collection of interesting questions related to Urdu poetry, prose and literary history. Play Rekhta Quiz and check your knowledge about Urdu!

Which genre of poetry has a single and established meter?
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Urdu literature can be classified into two genres- Nasr (prose) and Nazm (poetry). Nazm literally means to string pearls into a necklace. Besides Ghazal, all other forms of poetry, like Qasida, Marsiya, Musaddas, etc., can be referred to as Nazms. There are 4 kinds of Nazms- Paband, Azad, Mu’arra, and Nasri. Paband Nazm is bound by form and both rhyme and refrain (Radeef & Qafiya) are essential to it. With all the hemistiches written in the same meter, it centers upon a single theme, with its own distinct title. Paband Nazm, when written in four lines is called Murabba’; five lines, Mukhammas, and; six lines, Musaddas.
The preserve of Urdu literature vividly abounds in these theme-centered Nazms. One important exponent of such Nazms is Nazeer Akbarabadi who wrote delightful poems on the seasons, festivals, and the everyday life of India. After him, for a long time, the canvas of Nazm remained colorless. Later, Muhammad Hasan Azad, Hali, and Shibli wrote well in this genre about nature, morality, and patriotism. Iqbal brought Nazm to its very peak. The Nazms of Sahir, Kaifi Azmi, Sardar Jafari and Akhtar-ul- Iman are also treasured pieces of Urdu poetry.


Ghazal, the most popular genre of Urdu poetry, is originally an Arabic word which literally means talking to women or talking about women. The painful wail coming out of the mouth of a baby deer is also called ghazal. Ghazal originated in Arabia and from there reached Iran. And through Persian literature it made to the preserve of Urdu literature, becoming widely-accepted. According to Rashid Ahmed Siddiqui, ‘Ghazal is the pride of Urdu poetry.’ Ghazal is also closely related to music and rhythm.
A ghazal is a collection of couplets composed in the same meter, united by same sounding rhyming words (Qafiya) and refrain (Radeef). Radeef, or refrain, is a group of word(s) that are repeated at the end of each couplet. Qafiya, that is rhyme, are homophonic words that precede the Radeef in each couplet. Take the following couplet:
Hasti apni Habaab kii sii hai
Ye numaaish saraab kii sii hai
Here ‘Habab’ and ‘Sarab’ are Qafiya, and the phrase ‘Kii Sii hai” is the Radeef. The first couplet of a Ghazal is called ‘Matla’ in which both lines follow the same rhyme and refrain. In the couplets following the Matla, the first hemistich is exempted from this rule. A Ghazal’s last couplet, one which often cites the poet’s pen-name, is called ‘Maqta’.
Each couplet of a Ghazal is a unitary poem in itself, which can embody different motifs and themes. Sometimes a whole ghazal can be based on a single theme. The expanse of the ideas expressed in Ghazals is quite vast, including the expression of emotions, separation and union, complaining against time and the world, Sufism, metaphysics, and enlightenment.



The Mukhra of a famous song from Raj Kapoor’s film ‘Deewana’, is actually a couplet by Haider Ali Atish slightly changed by Hasrat Jaipuri. Atish’s couplet reads:
ai sanam jis ne tujhe chaa.nd sii suurat dii hai
usii allaah ne mujh ko bhii mohabbat dii hai
In the film song, the second line of the couplet has been changed to:
‘Usi Maalik ne mujhe bhi to muhabbat di hai’
Khawaja Haider Ali Atish (1778-1848) was born in Faizabad. Extremely handsome and elegant, his style and characteristics were like the ‘Bankaas’, or voguish ones of his time. He had learned swordsmanship, and from a very young age became a ‘Talwariya’ or swordsman with an innate bent for poetry. He was employed by Nawab Mirza Muhammad Khan Taqi ‘Taraqqi’ of Faizabad. When Nawab left Faizabad for Lucknow, Atish, too, moved along. His Ghazals do have the color of Lucknow but the fragrance is of Delhi. His and Nasikh’s contemporary feud was always on. Atish was an independent man and did not work for anyone after the death of Nawab. According to some accounts, Wajid Ali Shah used to confer upon him Rs. 80 a month from his days as a prince. Until the last moment, a horse was always tied outside his house. With a sword bound to his waist and a crooked hat, he maintained his military charm till the very end.


Shahr Ashob is a classic genre of Urdu poetry that was once written a lot. It is a poem that describes a city’s plight due to its political, social, and economic crisis. Shahr Ashobs have been written in the form of Masnavi, Qasida, Rubai, Mukhammas, Qita, and Musaddas. Shahr-Ashobs written by Mirza Muhammad Rafi Sauda and Mir Taqi Mir, are amongst the most noteworthy and memorable ones of Urdu, and relate the unemployment of the people, economic misery, and plunderage of Delhi. Nazir Akbarabadi has portrayed the economic misery of Agra, the plight of the army, and the utter disregard of nobles in his Shahr-Ashobs. The catastrophe that befell Delhi after the War of Independence of 1857, has also been made the motif of many a poet’s writings, including Ghalib, Dagh, and Maulana Hali. In 1954, Habib Tanveer, based on the poetry of Nazeer Akbarabadi, tellingly staged his famous play "Agra Bazaar", using the Shahr-Ashob in the form of a chorus.


Last year, one of the world's most credible English dictionary, Cambridge, added a frequently spoken Urdu word, "Achcha” to its wordlist. The word was added since it is also commonly used in Indian-English. The dictionary cites its meanings in terms of ‘happiness (khushi)’, and as ‘an expression of wonder, or something like, really?’ It has also illustrated its use by citing a few sentences as examples.
But in Urdu, the word ‘Achcha’ gives away several other meanings which include, Theek, dusrust (okay, fine); as an opposite of bad; Bahut Khuub! (yeah, great! – used sarcastically); as an expression of comforting or pacifying (it’s all right); prevaricating or procrastinating- dekha jayega! (we’ll see!); Sun liya? (Understood? - used emphatically/admonishingly), and last but not the least as, Samjhe? (get it?)
And, like this famous film song:
“Achcha! To Hum Chalte Hain”
The word is also used to refer to being healthy or free from any illness, as in the case of Ghalib’s couplet:
dard minnat-kash-e-davaa na hu.aa
mai.n na achchhaa hu.aa buraa na hu.aa

Today's Special




Film-maker, lyricist and fiction writer. Famous for his tele-serial on Mirza Ghalib. Recipient of Sahitya Academy and Dada Sahab Phalke award.


subah subah ik ḳhvāb dastak par darvāza khulā' dekhā

sarhad ke us paar se kuchh mehmān aa.e haiñ

subah subah ek KHwab ki dastak par darwaza khula' dekha

sarhad ke us par se kuchh mehman aae hain

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Kulliyat-e-Anwar Shaoor

Anwar Shuoor 

2015 Kulliyat

Iqbal Dulhan

Bashiruddin Ahmad Dehlvi 

1908 Moral and Ethical

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Mahboob-Ullah Mujeeb 


Audhoot Ka Tarana


1958 Nazm

Shumara Number-002

Dr. Mohammad Hasan 

1970 Asri Adab

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