Urdu poetry is enthusiastically admired by the elite as well as the masses. Their fascination for it is attested by two facts-crowds that throng the mushairas and popularity of the film songs mostly
composed by Urdu poets. The reasons for this curious phenomenon are not far to seek. Urdu poetry vibrates and pulsates with life and its musical
metres, dictional elegance, graceful symbolism,glowing imagery combine to create a rapturous delight in the minds of the listeners.Most of these features of Urdu poetry are reflected in the verses of Ghalib and Iqbal-two internationally known Urdu poets produced by the
undivided India during the last two centuries. Iqbal was born within a decade after the death of Ghalib and was much impressed by his great predecessor.
Iqbal’s infatuation for Ghalib is evident from the poem he wrote in his praise as early as 1901 A.D.In this poem, he ranks Ghalib with Goethe who symbolised the greatness of the creative artist. In his Pyam-i-Mashriq (Message of the East), Iqbal has brought together four poets of the world in a symposium of life; two from the West-Browning and Byron; and two from the East-Rumi and Ghalib. Ghalib and Iqbal are the two brightest stars in the firmament of Urdu poetry. Their place is undoubtedly among the greats of the literary world.The non-Urdu knowing people in India and abroad
with a taste for poetry are keen to get at least a feel of the muse of these geniuses. A modest effort has been made in this book to satisfy this urge by rendering into English, mostly in free verse, selected poems and some frequently quoted couplets from their works.Most poetry when translated comes out the poorer at the other end for having lost its delicacy and varied nuances in the process. That seems
rather inevitable with cadence of the original line ever refusing to go along with the version in a new medium. Urdu poetry, particularly Iqbal’s, is full of Qoranic and other allusions to events and person-
ages of ancient Arabia and Iran. These cannot, in all cases, be rendered into English. Besides, in the case of a ghazal each couplet expresses an indepen-
dent thought, unrelated to the rest of the composition except in the matter of its prosodic structure and rhyming. When translated into English, such verses appear all the more disjointed. Therefore,
it becomes very difficult to give thematic treatment to a ghazal.