GHALIB’S POEMS FOR YOUR WALLS
The profound words of famous Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib have, since time immemorial, overwhelmed readers and listeners both. In the current technological era, his ghazals are aired on late night radio programmes and shared widely on different social media platforms. However, online wallpapers that form the visual backdrop of Ghalib’s poetry do not do justice to his pen, as they are quite tacky and unsuitable to be paired with the poet’s sophisticated poetry. In order to do justice to his elegant poetry, the subtle art of calligraphic writing should be used to give his words an artistic treatment. The art of calligraphic writing can blend perfectly well with Ghalib’s pearls of wisdom. Nowadays, as part of the larger realm of Urdu calligraphy paintings, one can find Ghalib poetry art amidst them, even though they are still rare.
Nastaliq is the name of the calligraphic font used for writing Urdu. It was developed in Persia in the 15th century after the Arab conquest. In Nastaliq font, the letters slope from right to left, giving a ‘hanging’ or ‘ta’liq’ appearance. It was originally designed to write the Arabic script but with time it began being used to write Persian, Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri, and Pashto. Nastaliq font was also used to transcribe court scrolls. It was used in India, in the Mughal courts too. It is the standard font used for writing Urdu in South Asia. Though Urdu, since its Persian script is derived from Arabic script, can be written in Arabic calligraphic styles like Diwani, Tughra, and Thuluth, it looks best in Nastaliq style. Or perhaps it looks ‘more at home’ in the Nastaliq style since it has always been written in it. Nastaliq is suitable for writing Urdu poetry for practical reasons too – it is less decorative than other fonts, and therefore occupies little space. Therefore, one can write an entire eight-line Urdu ghazal on a small sheet of paper and stick it on their walls. Does Urdu poetry calligraphy come under the category of Islamic art? Technically speaking, it doesn’t, as Urdu poetry is largely secular, non-religious, and its content can be related to by people of different faiths.
But given the modified definition of Islamic art by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the term ‘Islamic art’ refers to all kinds of the arts that were produced in the lands where Islam was the dominant religion or the religion of those who ruled. The term includes not only works created by Muslim artists, artisans, and architects or for Muslim patrons. It encompasses works created by Muslim artists for patrons of any faith, including—Christians, Jews, or Hindus—and the works created by Jews, Christians, and others, living in Islamic lands, for patrons, Muslim and otherwise.T therefore, if one has to stick to a new, revised definition, then Urdu calligraphy paintings, including Ghalib poetry art, can be put under the larger category of Islamic even though in terms of content they may differ widely, and may even contradict each other.