Category Archives: Mir Taqi Mir

The Chronicles of Mir Taqi Mir


The chronicle series started with the Chronicles of Mirza Ghalib. The chronicles of a poet will give you an insight into the poets life, the stories highlight the character and help us understand the man behind the poetry.

This is the first edition of some famous anecdote from Mir Taqi Mir’s life.

What is an Anecdote – An anecdote is a short and amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person. 

  • Mir Taqi Mir goes to Lucknow:  When he went to Lucknow, he did not have even enough money for a whole coach. Having no choice, he shared a coach with another man, and said farewell to Delhi. After they had gone a little way, the other man made some remark. Mir turned his face away from him and sat silent. After a while, the man again made some remark. Mir frowned and replied, ‘Noble sir, you have paid the fare. You are no doubt entitled to sit in the coach, but what does that have to do with conversation?’ The man said, ‘Hazrat, what’s the harm? It’s a pastime while traveling–we can entertain ourselves a bit with conversation’. Mir Sahib replied angrily, ‘Well, for you it’s a pastime; as for me, it corrupts my language’.
  • Navab Asif ud-Daulah’s request: One day the late Navab requested a ghazal. On the second or third day when he again went to court, the Navab asked, ‘Mir Sahib! Have you brought our ghazal?’ Mir Sahib frowned and said, ‘Exalted sir! Your servant doesn’t have a pocketful of themes, that you should ask for a ghazal yesterday, and I should present it today!’ The angelic-natured Navab said, ‘Well, Mir Sahib, when you should feel inclined, please compose one’.
  • Mir Sahib’s sensitive temperament: One day the Navab sent for him. When he arrived, he saw that the Navab was standing at the edge of an artificial pond. There was a stick in his hand. In the water, red and green fish were swimming around, and he was watching the spectacle. When the Navab saw Mir Sahib he was delighted, and said, ‘Mir Sahib, please recite something’. Mir Sahib began to recite a ghazal. The Navab listened, and went on using his stick to play with the fish. Mir Sahib frowned, and kept pausing after every verse. The Navab kept saying, ‘Yes, please continue’. Finally, after reciting four verses, Mir stopped, and said, ‘How can I recite–you are playing with the fish. If you pay attention, then I’ll recite.’ The Navab said, ‘A real verse will itself draw my attention’. These words greatly displeased Mir. Jamming his ghazal into his pocket, he came away home; and from then on he left off going to court. After some days, once he was passing through the bazaar; the Navab with his entourage passed nearby. The moment he saw him, the Navab said with the greatest affection, ‘Mir Sahib, you’ve entirely abandoned us! You never deign to come at all.’ Mir Sahib said, ‘It’s undignified for people of refinement to discuss things in the bazaar. What occasion is this for conversation?’ In short, he stayed home as was his habit, suffering poverty and sometimes even hunger. Finally, in 1810-11, Mir died. He attained the age of one hundred years. Nasikh composed a [Persian] chronogram: ”Alas, the king of poets is dead.”
  • His contentment in poverty and his loftiness of vision: When the Governor General or any other high-ranking Sahib went to Lucknow, then either their own appreciation, or their chief clerks’ high sense of culture, made the chief clerks consider it necessary to have a person of accomplishment present. They invited Mir Taqi Mir to come and meet the Sahib. But he used to avoid them, and would say, ‘Anyone who meets me, meets me either with regard to this faqir’s lineage [as a Sayyid], or because of my poetry. My lineage is of no interest to the Sahib, and as for my poetry, he does not understand it. No doubt he will give me some reward. Such a meeting can hardly result in anything but humiliation.’
  • Two and three-quarters poets: In Lucknow someone asked, ‘Tell me, Hazrat, nowadays who are the poets?’ He said, ‘One is Saudaa. A second is your humble servant.’ And after some consideration he said, ‘A half one is Khvaajah Mir Dard’. Someone said, ‘Hazrat! And Mir Soz Sahib?’ Frowning, he said, ‘Is Mir Soz Sahib a poet?’ He said, ‘After all, he’s the ustad of Navab Asif ud-Daulah’. Mir Sahib replied, ‘Well, taking this into account, there are exactly two and three-quarters. But among people of good family I’ve never heard such a pen-name.'( Referring to Mir ‘Soz’ ) In front of Mir Sahib, who would have the nerve to say, ‘The poor man( Mir Soz) had used the pen-name of Mir–and you snatched it from him. Having no choice, he adopted a pen-name that wouldn’t please you, so you wouldn’t snatch it from him.’ 
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New Anecdotes on Mir and Ghalib coming soon. 
Thank you,
Ali Muhammad Ali @AliPoetry
Source – DSAL – Digital South Asia Library – Urdu Series