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|Stylistic origins||Mughal Empire|
|Authors||Masud Sa'd Salman|
Mir Taqi Mir
Mirza Muhammad Rafi Sauda
The Shahr Ashob (Persian: شه�� آشوب; literary written as Shahr-e-Ashob (lit. 'The city's misfortune' ), sometimes spelled Shahar-i-Ashob, is an ancient Urdu poetic genre in South Asia with its roots in lamented classical Urdu poetry. It was existed and widely used by the poets between the 16th and 19th centuries during the Mughal Empire. Ashob remained an historical genre in Persian, Urdu and Turkish literature used by the writers, predominantly by the Mughal poets to express their anguish and sorrows over political and social shifts.
The Ashobs are generally describing emotional thoughts of a writer in a narrative poem based on several competencies. It reads naturally or conversationally and begins as a kind of photographic depiction of a moment (such as war, invasion etc.) in anguish. It consists of five to six stanzas normally written in rhymed verse for the first four lines. The first line rhymes with the second, third and fourth, and the fifth line rhymes with none, but combines the thoughts collectively.[a]
Ashob originally came into existence in 16th century. It was first introduced in south Asia by the Mughal poets, including Masud Sa'd Salman, who started writing Ashobs during his literary career. Some ashobs were also written by Shakir Naji who served in the Army of the Mughal Empire during Muhammad Shah's reign. When the king was defeated, he covered major impacts of military conflict on the Mughal kingdom. An Indian poet Qayem Chandpuri was also engaged in writing ashobs. His writing covered civil–military relations, mainly military aid between the sixteenth Mughal ruler Shah Alam II and Maratha Empire in order to defeat Zabita Khan in 1772. Some prominent poets, including Mir Taqi Mir and Mirza Muhammad Rafi Sauda are also credited with "ashob writings". Mirza wrote a list of ashobs on Nader Shah's invasion of India, while Mir wrote on economic crisis of Delhi.
Later (around 1708–1710), ashob was merely used after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, and since then it began disappearing until the British rule made several people flee across the Indian subcontinent to the neighboring states or countries. It is believed the ashob was popularized during the 1857 uprising in India, but later it was not used in the modern literature.
Poems written in ashobs
What kind of King is he who is intent on injustice?
An entire world is protesting against him
A lout himself, has a brigand army
The honour of the people is defiled by his rule
He is the shadow of Satan, not the shadow of God.
You were once the heart of lovers, many
Why has it been destroyed as if a lie by destiny?
T'was a wondrous beach in the sea of plenty
Precious stones on your shores galore.
My friends all seemed to death, near
Whoever I met had lost all possessions, once so dear
Poverty seems to be a cross all have to bear
If one had a thread, no rope was in sight here
If one had a carpet, there were none to roll it out.
In 1979, a writer named Naeem Ahmad wrote a book on Shahr Ashob's birth titled Shahr Ashob Ka Tahqiqi Mutalaah (A Brief study of the Shahr Ashob). The book, currently serving only in Urdu language, was later published by the University of California.
- Ahmad, Naeem (1979). Shahr ashob ka tahqiqi mutalaah. University of California. p. 319. Retrieved 2020-06-03.
- Petievich, Carla R. (1990). "Poetry of the Declining Mughals: The "Shahr Āshob"". Journal of South Asian Literature. 25 (1): 99–110. JSTOR 40873115.
- Heitzman, James (March 31, 2008). The City in South Asia. Routledge. ISBN 9781134289639 – via Google Books.
- Kanda, K. C. (June 3, 2007). Bahadur Shah Zafar and His Contemporaries: Zauq, Ghalib, Momin, Shefta : Selected Poetry : Text, Translation, and Transliteration. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. ISBN 9788120732865 – via Google Books.
- "Politics: the art of distraction". Times of India Blog. May 18, 2013.
- "Shahjahanabad: How a planned city came undone". Hindustan Times. January 27, 2018.
- "Eight poets, one city they loved and lived in: 'Beloved Delhi' is a fresh look at a city much written about". www.dailyo.in.
- "The lost art of Urdu poetry: Shahr Ashob was a lament for a city". CatchNews.com.
- Haque, Ishrat (June 3, 1992). Glimpses of Mughal Society and Culture: A Study Based on Urdu Literature, in the 2nd Half of the 18th Century. Concept Publishing Company. ISBN 9788170223825 – via Google Books.
- Dubrow, Jennifer (October 31, 2018). Cosmopolitan Dreams: The Making of Modern Urdu Literary Culture in Colonial South Asia. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 9780824876692 – via Google Books.
- Neither the rhyming form of the Ashob nor the use of the stanzas is explained in the inline citations added to this article. They've only mentioned a few Ashobs that make it clear how it is written.
- The poem contains English translation of the original poem that may contain minor errors
- per previous note
- per previous note