Mir Anees

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Mir Anees
Anees in Lucknow probably in the early 1850s
Anees in Lucknow probably in the early 1850s
Born 1803
Faizabad, Oudh State
Died 7 December 1874 (aged 70-71)
Lucknow, North-Western Provinces, British India
Pen name Anis انیس
Occupation Urdu poet
Nationality Indian
Period Mughal era
Genre Marsiya, Rubai
Subject Battle of Karbala
Relatives Mir Khaliq (father)

Mir Babar Ali Anees (Urdu: مير ببر على انيس‎) (1803–1874), also known as Mir Anees was an Urdu poet. He used his pen-name (thakallus) of Anees (Urdu: انيس, Anees means "close friend, companion") in poetry. Anees used Persian, Urdu, Arabic, and Sanskrit words in his poetry.[1] Anis wrote prolonged Marsias, which was a custom of his times, but nowadays only selected sections are narrated even in religious ceremonies. He died in 1291 Hijra, corresponding with 1874 CE[2]. He also famous for his marsia because of Mohar e Wilayat on his poetry.


Mir Babar Ali Anis was born in 1803 CE at Faizabad.[3] In his book Khandaan- e-Mir Anees ke Naamwar Sho’ara (Famous Poets from the family of Mir Anis), Zameer Naqvi lists 22 poets from Mir Anis’ family and their poetry. A researcher in Urdu Literature, Syed Taqi Abedi, has shown that Mir Anis's family has written poetic literature for three centuries, first in Persian and later in Urdu.[4] Mir Anis was a fifth-generation poet, a fact he mentioned in the first stanza of "Namak-e-Khwaan-e-Takallum hai Fasaahat meri":[5]

Namak-e-Khwaan-e-Takallum hai Fasaahat meri
Naatqein band hai’n sun sun ke balaaghat meri
Rang udte hain wo rangee’n hai ibarat meri
Shor jiska hai wo darya hai tabeeyat meri
Umr guzri hai isi dasht ki sa’iyaahi mei’n
Paanchvi pusht hai Shabbir ki maddaahi mei’n

My eloquence is the salt of the food of thought
The eloquents are mute when my style they hear
Fly colours when the colour of my ink I jot
The sound of the seas are my ideas clear
Hunting in this forest (for words) spent life I mine
Praising Hussain, fifth in progeny line


Anis's mother appears to have been his greatest inspiration.[6] He gained a traditional Shia education.[4] However, research by Nayyar Masood reveals that, while in Faizabad, Anis studied with two religious scholars; one was a Shia Scholar, Mir Najaf and the other was a Hanafi (Sunni) Scholar, Haider Ali Faizabadi. Masood also notes that Anis was well versed in Persian as well as in Arabic. Anis also had military training and gained a thorough knowledge of old and new weapons.[7]


Anis was invited to Lucknow where he reached the zenith of his reputation. He stayed in Lucknow because be believed that his art was not appreciated elsewhere. Yet, after the annexation of Oudh by the British, he was persuaded to visit Azimabad (Patna), Dulhipur (Varanasi), Hyderabad and Allahabad.[8]

In 1870 Nawab Tahwar Jung invited Anis to Hyderabad where he declined to be presented at the court of Mir Mahboob Ali Khan,[3][9][10] the then Nizam of Hyderabad State. The Nizam himself went to the Majlis where the poet was to recite. While returning from Hyderabad, he sojourned at Allahabad in 1871 and recited his marsia in the Imambara of late Lala Beni Prasad Srivastava, Vakil, who was a devotee of Imam Husain.[8]

Mir Anees in Hyderabad in 1871

He died in 1874 CE and is buried at his own residence in Lucknow.[3]

Work and contribution

According to Muhammad Hussain Azad, "The late Mīr Sahib must certainly have composed at least ten thousand elegies, and salāms beyond count. He composed as easily and casually as he spoke.".[11][12]

Portion of stanzas from Timsal Masud Presention of Mir Anis Ka ek Marsia (one Marsia by Mir Anis), in Urdu and Hindi Language writing styles

In his essay "How to read Iqbal?" Shamsur Rahman Faruqi wrote: "Iqbal was placed better because he had, among others, Bedil (1644–1720) in Persian and Mir Anis (1802–1874) in Urdu." He further asserts: "The mention of Mir Anis may surprise some of us until we realize it that Mir Anis’s Marsiyas are the best premodern model in Urdu of narrative-historical, narrative-lyrical, and oral-dramatic poetry, and Iqbal’s poetry extends and exploits the possibilities created by Anis."[13]

Mir Anis was criticized for playing on religious sentiments giving his work a vertical appeal at the expense of poetic beauty.[14] While Farhat Nadir Rizvi, in her research, has propounded that Anis was narrating recorded history and was therefore restricted in use of pure imagination and fantasy, yet he dexterously harnessed the art of storytelling in his work and we cannot but accept that he was not only a Marsiya writer but also a successful storyteller.[15] Anis has been compared with Shakespeare.[16][17] Shakespeare creates imaginary plots and characters so beautifully that they appear real to the reader; Anis narrates events and characters fossilized in history so vividly that they become alive in the eyes of his audience.[18]

Anis is also known as a pioneer in Rubai, an Urdu poetry branch, and enjoys status akin to that of Mirza Sauda, Khwaja Mir Dard and Dabeer.[19] Besides being a master of the Marsia, Anis was also a specialist of the Rubai, the shortest complete poem in Urdu, containing only four lines. He enriched the contents of the Rubai, making it much more colorful and multi-dimensional. Anis introduced the tragic events of Karbala and their moralistic effect to Rubai. Thus, he widened the scope of Rubai to unfathomable limits. The inclusion of Karbala resulted in the florescence of the Urdu Rubai. Thus, many internal and external aspects of our life found their echo in the Urdu Rubai.[20]

Tribute to poet in Urdu literature

Couplet of Mirza Dabeer is the best tribute to the person who had been his lifelong rival

Seminars and Symposiums

Dabir Academy in London organised an International Seminar on "Position of Anis and Dabir in Urdu literature" on the occasion of bicentennial birthday celebrations of Mir Anis and Mirza Dabir.[21]

A seminar titled "Mir Anis our Adab-i-Aalia" was jointly held on 19 April 2001 by the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi and Pak Arab Literary Society, with Farman Fatehpuri in the chair and Mehdi Masud as the chief guest.[22] The Arts Council, Karachi, had also organized in April 2002 an evening to commemorate the second birth centenary of Mir Anis.[23]

In August 2003 there was a national seminar on "Mir Anis Ke Marsia Mein Jang ke Anasir" organized by Urdu Department, Hyderabad Central University.[24]

Books on Mir Anis

Anees on a 1975 stamp of India
  • Marsiya Khawani Ka Funn and Marka-i-Anis-au-Dabir (Urdu) by Nayyar Masood[7][25]
  • Urdu Marsiye K a Safar
  • Tajzia-i-Yadgar Marsia, Research and compilation by Taqi Abedi[26]
  • Intikhab-e-Kalam Compiled by Muhammad Reza Kazimi[27]
  • Rubaiyate-e-Anis Compiled By Mr. Mohammad Hasan Bilgrami and Anis Shakhsiyat Aur Fun by Mr. Fazl-e-Imam published by UP Urdu Akademi, India.[28]
  • Books by Syed Zameer Akhtar Naqvi Mir Anees Ki Shairi (in Urdu Language) & The poets in the family of Mir Anis (published in 1996) 2nd Book is about the life history of 22 family members of Mir Anis that were poets and their poetry.[29]
  • The immortal poetry & Mir Anis (English) by Syed Ghulam Abbas. Published in 1983 by Majlis-e-Milli, Pakistan in Karachi
  • The battle of Karbala 90 pages (Urdu) Translated by David Matthew ( ISBN 9788171672134) Original from the University of California Digitized 27 February 2008 Publisher of 2nd Edition: Rupa & Co., 1994 [30]
  • Mir Anis Aur Qissa Goi Ka Fan 498 pages: By Farhat Nadir Rizvi ( ISBN 1977566804)[31][32]

See also


  1. ^ Asad Farooq (21 November 2011). "T2F moot eulogises poetry of Mir Anis". Daily Times. Archived from the original on 25 July 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  2. ^ "The Master Of Marsia – Mir Babar Ali Anis". pakistan.web.pk.
  3. ^ a b c History (2005). "The Twelver Shîʻa as a Muslim Minority in India: Pulpit of Tears". History. Routledge. pp. 14, 18, 23, 63. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  4. ^ a b Daily Siasat, Hyderabad (15 June 2013).
  5. ^ "About shia poet". ALI WARIS.
  6. ^ "A poet worth Remembering!". The Lucknow Tribune. 8 July 2013. Archived from the original on 26 July 2014. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  7. ^ a b The life and works of Mir Anis. The Dawn. 30 April 2011
  8. ^ a b "A History of Urdu Literature" by Ram Babu Saxena, Allahabad, 1927
  9. ^ "Salman Book Centre – Hyderabad, India – Marsias, Majalis, Nauhay, Ashoor, Khanas, Azadari, Duas, Munajath, Qasiday, Books". www.salmanbookcentre.com.
  10. ^ Lallana Rāya (2002). Legacy of the Nizam's. Vani Prakashan. p. 282. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  11. ^ "Ab-e hayat, page 519 – Digital South Asia Library". dsal.uchicago.edu.
  12. ^ Aab-e-Hayat (English Translation), Translated and edited by Frances W. Pritchett, in association with Shamsur Rahman Faruqi
  13. ^ How to Read Iqbal? Eassays on Iqbal, Urdu Poetry and Literary Theory by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi
  14. ^ Tauhid, Qamar (20 July 1972). "Mir Anis Mere Ta'assub Ke Aaine Me" [Mir Anis in the Mirror of My Prejudice]. Mir Anis [Mir Anis] (in Urdu). Patna, India: Ghalib Club. p. 108.
  15. ^ Farhat Nadir Rizvi (2 November 2017). Mir Anis Aur Qissa Goi Ka Fan [Mir Anis and the Art of Story Telling] (in Urdu). Lucknow, India: Lucknow Educational And Development Trust. p. 468. ISBN 9781977566805.
  16. ^ "mir anis-William Shakespeare Comparison – Intro". urdu shahkar. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  17. ^ "ANIS AND SHAKESPEARE – A COMPARISON by Syed Ghulam Imam(publication 1950)". Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  18. ^ Shabbir Hasan Rezvi (20 July 1972). "Mir Anis Ka Shaoor-e-Tanasub" [Mir Anis' Sense of Proportions]. Mir Anis [Mir Anis] (in Urdu). Patna, India: Ghalib Club. p. 75.
  19. ^ Extracted from: Rubai Aik Qadeem Sanaf-e-Sukhan (in Urdu Language) research of Dr. Younus Hassani, published in Midweek Magazine issued by the Daily Jang, Karachi in its issue of 9 July 2014
  20. ^ "MEER BABAR ALI ANEES". urdushayari.in. January 2012.
  21. ^ "SEMINAR ON ANIS AND DABIR". The Milli Gazette. 16 December 2003.
  22. ^ Hasan Abidi (19 April 2001). "Mir Anis hailed as great poet". article.wn.com.
  23. ^ Asim Ghani (14 April 2002). "Celebrating Mir Anis's bicentenary". Daily Times. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  24. ^ Faculty of Department of: Urdu. jammuuniversity.in
  25. ^ "Dr. Nayyer Masood". Mohammad Ali Jinnah University, Pakistan. Archived from the original on 16 July 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  26. ^ "WELCOME TO DR. TAGHI ABEDI WEBSITE". www.drtaqiabedi.com.
  27. ^ ISBN 978-0195479133 published by Oxford University Press, Karachi Pakistan – http://www.oup.com.pk
  28. ^ "Poetic Literature". Utar Pradesh Urdu Akademi. Archived from the original on 18 July 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  29. ^ "Allama Syed Zameer Akhtar Naqvi". www.allamazameerakhtar.com.
  30. ^ Mir Babbar Ali Anis; David Matthew (1994). The battle of Karbala: a marsiya of Anis. Rupa & Co. ISBN 978-81-7167-213-4.
  31. ^ Haftroza Nawaye Waqt Family Magazine, Lahore (10–16 Dec 2017). p. 46
  32. ^ "Urdu Daily Qaumi Tanzeem, Lucknow Nov 9, 2017 P.3". qaumitanzeem.com. Archived from the original on 13 December 2017. Retrieved 29 November 2018.

External links

  • Maqbara of Mir Anis
  • A website by Abu Talib Rizvi of India
  • The Digital South Asia Library- 5th Era of Aab-e-Hayat, Dabeer and Anis (Pritchett translation in English)
  • English translation of a marsiya by Anis
  • Master pieces of Urdu Rubaiyat by K C Kanda
  • A collection of Marsia by Anis
  • Marsiya collection of Mir Anis in Urdu.
  • [1]
  • Mir Babar Ali "Anis" (1802–1874) jab qa:t kii masaafat-e shab aaftaab ne (his most famous marsiyah) C. M. Naim, The Art of the Urdu Marsiya (1983) – Teaching materials prepared at SOAS during the 1970s: http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00urdu/anis/index.html)

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