Nawab Mirza Khan Daag better known as Daag Dehlvi was born in 1831 in Delhi. His father died when he was all but 6 years of age and that is why his stepfather, Mirza Muhammed Fakhroo, brought him up. His father, Nawab Shams-ul-din Khan, was hanged till death as a punishment for a suspected engagement in the murder of the then British Resident of Delhi, Sir William Fraser. Mirza Muhammad was related to Mughal ruler Bahadur Shah Zafar. Following his death 1865, Daag left Delhi for Rampur. He could settle there without any conflict only because one of his aunts knew the then Nawab of Rampur personally. His mother later on married Bahadur Shah Zafar's son Mirza Fakhru. His entry into the royal household proved to be his ticket to best of the education; he was given best training in reading, writing, horse riding, creative arts, martial arts, etc. Under the king's preceptor Sheikh Ibrahim Zauq's special guidance Daag developed his poetic talents. To know more about Dehlvi, continue to read this insightful biography on him.
Through his connections with the royal household, Daag got in contact with Ghalib as Ghalib was an appointed poet in the court of Bahadur Shah Zafar. For his poetic aspirations to take a proper shape, Daag referred to Ghalib every now and then. It was not long before Daag became a distinguished poet in the court of Bahadur Shah Zafar. His poetry became popular for the simplicity of the words and emotions in it. After the death of his father and exile of Bahadur Shah Zafar, Daag returned back to Rampur. He lived there under the protection and nurture of the Nawab. In Rampur, he went into government service and spent a comfortable life there for at least 30 years. . But Daag was soon fed up of monotony and wanted to experiment. This period of Daag 's life was both creative as well as torturous. It was during these years that Daag composed most of his heart-wrenching poems. The period of desperation and discomfort ended in 1891 when Daag got an invitation from Nizam to come to Hyderabad and stay in his court as his poetic mentor. His initial salary was four hundred and fifty rupees which was later raised to one thousand rupees. He won honor and prestige and lived a life of luxury in Hyderabad. Hyderabad was a cradle to many poets of that period following the decline of Moguls in Delhi. He was also honored with many literary titles, inferred on him by the Nawab himself, like: Bulbal-e-Hindustan, Dalir-ul-Daula and Fasik-ul-Malik. This period in his life was that of accolades and luxury.
Daagh Dehelvi is today remembered as an outstanding poet. Daag belonged to the Delhi school of Urdu poetry and had mastered the craft of Ghazal and Nazam both. Daag started reciting poetry at the age of ten. His poetry improved with his age but was distinct from other contemporary writers. His poetry does not wallow in despair. Rather, they were lashed of joy and exuberant. He was a self-acknowledged romantic but contrary to the impression one gets from his poetry, he eschewed wine. Usage of common words and phrases was distinctive of his style. His poems generally consisted of four major Dewans, like: Gulzar-e-Dagh, Aftab-e-Dagh, Mahtab-e-Dagh and Yaadgare-Dagh. Daag Dehlvi passed away in the year 1905, in Hyderabad, due to a paralytic stroke.
Ghazal : Saaz Ya Keena Saaz Kya Jany
Saaz ya keena saaz kya janay
Naz walay niyaz kya janay,
Kab kisi dar pa juba sai kee
Shakh sahib namaz kya janay,
Shama roo app ho gaye laykin
lLutaf-e-sooz-o-gudaz kya janay,
Jo rahe ishq may'n kadam rakhay'n
Wo nashaib-o-faraz kya janay,
Poochye makshi'n say lutif-e-sharab
Yah Mazay pak baz kya janay,
Hazerat-e-khayzer jab shaheed na ho'n
Lutaf-e-umer-e-daraz kya janay,
Jin ko apni khaber nahee'n abtak
Who maray dil ka raaz kya janay,
Jo guzartay hay'n Daag par sademay'n
Aap banda nawaz kya janay.
Translation In English:
What do these vindictive people know about kindness?
They are so proud of their physical beauty that they forget to be humble to other people,
If the saint has only bowed in front of his god and never at the doorstep of his lover
Then how can we expect him to know what actually surrender is?
The brightness of your face is like a fire burning and glowing
Even then you do not know what burning in love feels like,
People who set on the journey of love
Rarely care about the ups and down of that path,
If you want to know what wine tastes like then ask a person who is drunk on it
Not the kind of people who have never tasted it in their lives,
Prophet Khyzer why do you say that there is goodness in this life that you have given to me
It is not you who has to go through such painful transformations because you are immortal,
She does not even know anything properly about herself
How can I expect her to know the state of my heart?
The tragedies that Daag has suffered in his life
You will never understand them as you have lived the life of a fulfilled person.