Mir as suffering curmudgeon: a historical hatchet job

by Frances W. Pritchett (June 2012)

[This study is based on a talk given for S. R. Faruqi's 75th birthday celebration at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. It will be published in the festschrift being prepared for his 80th birthday celebration.]


In 'Water of Life' [aab-e ;hayaat] (Azad 1907), Muhammad Husain Azad (1830-1910) creates an extraordinary, even a bizarre, vision of the great Urdu ghazal poet Muhammad Taqi 'Mir' (1722/3-1810). Apart from its manifest inaccuracy and obvious improbability, it's also actually self-contradictory. Have these problems stopped it from being widely accepted? Of course not! Azad has succeeded as well in projecting his chosen vision of Mir, as he has with virtually all the other major poets of the Urdu canon. He has been equally successful in creating that canon itself--with the single exception of Momin, whom he omitted from his original 1880 edition, but whom public opinion obliged him to include in the 1883 edition (along with various odd and implausible excuses). In this paper I'd like to examine the nature of Azad's depiction of Mir, and also to propose an explanation for its strange, discordant qualities.

Like virtually all my work for the last several decades, this study has been enriched by the work and thought of Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, and by his friendship, and by many conversations with him. This study has in fact been influenced with particular directness and force, since it's based on 'Water of Life' [aab-e ;hayaat], which SRF and I translated together (Pritchett and Faruqi 2001), and also on readings of Mir-- for which his 'Tumultuous Poetry [shi((r-e shor-angez] (Faruqi 2006-08) has of course been indispensable. Knowing SRF has been one of the great delights of my intellectual (and personal) life. The tribute that I can pay here is a very small return for such riches.

Mir has been a towering figure in Urdu literary history. He compiled in 1752 what was possibly the first, and was certainly the first well-known and influential, 'anthology' [ta;zkirah] of Urdu poets, 'Fine Points about the Poets' [nikaat ul-shu((araa] (Mir 1752). He also composed a number of vivid masnavis [ma;snavii], longer poems that included not only romances and attacks on other poets, but also an elegy for his pet rooster (who died gallantly in combat with a cat); a description of his own favorite pet cat and her kittens; and an account of his hand-feeding of a temperamental baby goat (Mahfuz 2007). In addition, Mir compiled the unusual Persian work ;zikr-i miir ['Mir's Account', or 'An Account of Mir'], which has often been described (by later scholars, not by Mir himself) as an 'autobiography'; it has been ably translated by C. M. Naim (Naim 1999).

But above all, Mir has always been known as a ghazal poet-- in some sense even as the archetypal ghazal poet, since his long literary life, during which he produced six substantial divans, spanned much of the heyday of the classical Urdu ghazal (Mahfuz 2003). Mir loomed so large in the tradition that John Borthwick Gilchrist, in a remarkable tribute, commissioned a team of four munshis from Fort William College to compile and edit the complete divan of Mir's ghazals. They finally produced a huge, elegantly typeset work (Calcutta, 1811)-- one that was probably of no use at all for Fort William's primary job of training British administrators in language skills.

Mir's only real rival as an Urdu ghazal poet, Mirza Asadullah Khan 'Ghalib' (1797-1869), was a latecomer, appearing at the very end of the tradition. And Mir was the only earlier Urdu poet explicitly recognized by Ghalib as a master. Ghalib's one published verse about Mir is a deliciously back-handed compliment [{36,11}] (Arshi 1982:186))

re;xte ke tumhii;N ustaad nahii;N ho ;Gaalib
kahte hai;N agle zamaane me;N ko))ii miir bhii thaa

[you're not the only ustad of Rekhtah, Ghalib,
they say that in earlier times there was also some 'Mir']

One of his unpublished verses however, is more straightforward [{92,8x}] (Raza 1995:359):

miir ke shi((r kaa a;hvaal kahuu;N kyaa ;Gaalib
jis kaa diivaan kam az gulshan-e kashmiir nahii;N

[the state of the poetry of Mir-- what can I say, Ghalib!
whose divan is not less than a garden of Kashmir]

The ghazals of this 'garden of Kashmir' constitute a gigantic corpus-- six divans, containing 1,916 ghazals (according to the latest edition, edited by Ahmad Mahfuz with the assistance of SRF). Mir thus composed more whole Urdu ghazals than Ghalib composed Urdu ghazal verses (or at least, Urdu ghazal verses that he chose to include in his published divan). Very few people have read Mir's whole corpus of almost two thousand ghazals. Instead, over the years there have come to be a large number of 'selections' [inti;xaab] made from Mir's divan, each of course reflecting the literary tastes and ideas of its compiler. Not surprisingly, there have also been complaints about the tendentious nature of some of these selections (Pritchett 1979).

Yet there has been no commentarial tradition whatsoever; this absence is the more conspicuous since over one hundred commentaries have been devoted to interpreting the poetry of Ghalib. It's certainly true that the practice of commentary-writing began only with the end of the classical tradition, and thus was a sign of loss and struggle rather than of vitality; moreover, it was given a strong boost by the widespread availability of the printing press. Thus we wouldn't necessarily expect any commentarial tradition for Mir to begin until the one for Ghalib begins, around the end of the nineteenth century. But at that point, when commentaries on Ghalib begin to emerge in a steady stream-- a stream that continues to this day-- not a single such commentary on Mir can be found, right up until almost the present. Right up, that is, until the publication of the four-volume selection and commentary 'Tumultuous Poetry' [shi((r-e shor-angez], another splendid gift from SRF, which has already gone through several editions (Faruqi 2006-08). Part of the blame for the lack of commentary on Mir must be borne by Azad, whose insistence on Mir's 'simplicity' has made people feel, quite wrongly, that his poetry is basically clear and straightforwardly emotional, rather than subtle and cerebral.

Mir as a helpless sufferer and emotional 'innocent'

At the heart of Azad's vision of Mir is a wild and weird claim: that Azad never had any joy whatsoever, in his whole life. This and all the other Azad translations in this study are from Pritchett and Faruqi 2001.

His thoughts of longing and despair: The colorfulness of our 'lover'-minded poets, the high flights of their thoughts, the tumult of their exaggerations--everyone knows about these. But take it as the decree of fortune that even among these [poets] Mīr Sahib was never destined to know liveliness, or the springtime of luxury and joy, or the pleasure of a successful union. The calamity and sorrow of the fortune that he had brought with him [into this world] was a tale of woe that he kept on narrating all his life. This is why to this day he produces an effect on many hearts, and pain in many breasts. Because for other poets, such themes were imaginary; for him, they were true to his state. Even romantic thoughts he dressed in the garb of failure, lamentation, longing, despair, separation. His poetry clearly says, 'The heart from which I've emerged was not a mere effigy of grief and pain, but a funeral procession of longing and sorrow'. The same thoughts were always fixed in his heart. What passed through his heart was just what he uttered with his lips--and it pierced through the hearers' hearts like a lancet. (Azad 1907:202-3)

This is such a bizarre claim that perhaps it should be verified directly from the Urdu:

;hasrat-o-maayuusii ke ;xayaal : hamaare ((aashiq-mizaaj shu((araa kii rangiiniyaa;N , aur ;xayaalaat kii buland-parvaaziyaa;N , un ke mubaali;Go;N ke josh-o-;xarosh -- sab ko ma((luum hai;N . magar use qismat kaa likhaa samjho kih un me;N se bhii miir .saa;hib ko shiguftagii , yaa bahaar-e ((aish-o-nishaa:t , yaa kaamyaabii-e vi.saal kaa lu:tf , kabhii na.siib nah hu))aa . vuhii mu.siibat aur qismat ka ;Gam jo saath laa))e the , us kaa dukh;Raa sunaate chale ga))e . jo aaj tak [[203]] dilo;N me;N a;sar aur siino;N me;N dard paidaa karte hai;N . kyuu;Nkih aise ma.zaamii;N aur shu((araa ke liye ;xayaalii the ; un ke , ;haalii the . ((aashiqaanah ;xayaal bhii , naa-kaamii , zaar-naalii , ;hasrat-maayuusii , hijr ke libaas me;N ;xarch hu))e . un kaa kalaam .saaf kah detaa hai kih jis dil se nikal kar aayaa huu;N , vuh ;Gam-o-dard kaa putlaa nahii;N , ;hasrat-o-andoh kaa janaazaa tha a. hameshaa vuhii ;xayaalaat base rahte the . bas jo dil par gu;zarte the , vuhii zabaan se kah dete the . kih sunne vaalo;N ke liye nashtar kaa kaam kar jaate the . (Azad 1907:202-3)

Obviously a claim that nobody ever had any joy in his whole life is unverifiable in principle; it's also improbable in practice, because joy is so protean and multivalent, and even sneaks up on people sometimes when they don't want it. But if there was anyone for whom such a claim is implausible, it's surely Mir. Naim calls him a 'man of appetites' who presented himself as a 'diplomatic person' and as a good all-rounder who admired gracious living (Naim 1999:10, 16). Mir married, he had children, he manifestly loved his pets (rooster, cat, goat). He also felt himself to be the greatest poet of his time. How can there possibly have been no joy whatsoever in any of these experiences? At the end of his 'autobiography' he even appended a section of 55 jokes, some literary but others quite raunchy, for the amusement of his friends. And Azad himself tells anecdotes about Mir's sense of humor, citing two of his verses about cute boys in the bazaar (Azad 1907:211).

But Azad wants to press Mir into service as the poster child for 'natural poetry', with its deep disdain for everything 'artificial'-- and thus for all poetic devices and literary artifice. He therefore requires Mir to show an ideally direct flow of real emotions from his heart into the poetry, and thence into the hearers' hearts. This is why he contrasts Mir favorably with other poets who make 'high flights' of imagination and 'exaggerations' and merely 'imagine' the themes of sorrow and suffering. In Azad's view it follows that if Mir's poetry is full of sorrow and suffering, so must his life have been. Later 'natural poetry' advocates have continued this line of thought: unlike other poets, Mir is often alleged to have a kind of hapless, helpless 'innocence [ma((.suumiyat]; hearers are said to react to other poets with a vaah of admiration, but Mir is said to evoke an aah of sympathetic sorrow. And this view continues to be widespread today: SRF has told me of his experience giving a talk before an audience of Urdu scholars, and referring in passing to Mir's love of wordplay. To his surprise, the whole question period was then devoted to reproachful attacks on him for having 'insulted' Mir by alleging that he would lower himself by using the 'artifice' of wordplay, since this would be inimical to his sincerity and 'innocence'. The audience were determined, in short, to defend this great poet from the charge that he had consciously used one of the primary tools of great poetry.

Mir as curmudgeon, canon-shaper, gatekeeper

Jarringly enough, however, Azad's Mir must not only be a helpless, hapless, weeping sufferer; he must also be a notably rude and arrogant curmudgeon. For he must establish and defend the boundaries of the Urdu poetic canon along exactly the lines that Azad has traced out. Azad's boundary lines, I will argue, position his own beloved master-poet and teacher [ustaad], Shaikh Muhammad Ibrahim 'Zauq' (1788-1854), as the ideal Urdu poet (Pritchett 1994:28-42)-- in contradistinction to Ghalib, who is shown as unimpressive, marginalized, and even somewhat absurd.

Azad's Mir is presented as the acknowledged supreme judge and gatekeeper of the Urdu poetic tradition. The famous and archetypal 'two and three-quarters poets' anecdote clearly establishes his status:

Two and three-quarters poets: In Lucknow someone asked, 'Tell me Hazrat, nowadays who are the poets?' He said, 'One is Sauda. Another is your humble servant.' And after some consideration he said, 'A half one is Khvajah 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 said, 'Well, taking this into account, there are exactly two and three-quarters'. (Azad 1907:208)

Azad reinforces Mir's authority, and crotchety abruptness, with other anecdotes as well. Something as simple as Mir's request to hear a verse repeated overwhelms Mus'hafi with joy: 'In my volume I will certainly write beside this verse that Your Honor made me recite it a second time' (Azad 1907:301). By contrast, Mir is made to humiliate the frivolous Jur'at: 'You don't know how to compose verses. Go on composing your kisses and caresses'. To make sure we feel the force of this putdown, Azad continues, 'The late Mīr Sahib was the supreme paterfamilias of the poets. Whatever words he might use to convey his meaning, he was an accomplished jeweler; he assessed the jewels very well' (Azad 1907:230).

Azad's Mir, this 'accomplished jeweler' of verse and connoisseur of poetic language, is then made to valorize certain forms of language above others. In another anecdote, he's made to defend the educated colloquial language of Delhi against all forms of substandard language-- to a degree that seems not only rude, but more than a little paranoid:

Mir Sahib 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 Sahib turned his face away from him and sat silent. After a while, the man again made some remark. Mir Sahib 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'. (Azad 1907:195-96)

Of course, it's very unlikely that either of the two participants in this alleged conversation would ever have reported it to anybody, much less to sources that would be available to Azad so many decades later. But Azad means for us to notice that even as the impoverished Mir leaves Delhi for Lucknow, he intends to take his language with him, and to protect it from being 'corrupted' [;xaraab honaa]. The corrupter in this case is described only as an 'individual' [sha;x.s]. Apparently he, like Mir is poor enough to need to share a coach; unlike Mir, however, he's depicted as altogether courteous and respectful. Based on his few quoted words he also seems to be a speaker of standard Urdu, so we're left at a loss to know what kind of a (rustic? lower-class?) threat he might represent to Mir's jealously guarded style of speech.

Just as Azad's Mir defends the educated colloquial Urdu of Delhi against what's most probably meant to be imagined as rustic or lower-class speech, at the high end of the cultural spectrum Mir also privileges the upstart Urdu over that prestigious grande dame, Persian.

Mir Qamar ud-Din Minnat's pupilship: A poet called Mir Qamar ud-Din 'Minnat' was living in Delhi, and for his knowledge of the traditional sciences was among the nobles of the royal court. In Mir Sahib's time, he was a beginner. He had a great taste for poetry. He brought an Urdu ghazal for correction. Mir Sahib asked where he came from. He said Sonipat, in the Panipat district. Mir Sahib said, 'Sayyid Sahib, Urdu-e Mu'alla is the language of Delhi alone. Please don't bother yourself about it. Please just keep composing in your Persian-Wersian.' (Azad 1907:207)

Apparently 'Persian-Wersian' [faarsii-vaarsii] is good enough for non-Delhi aristocrats, and is in fact all they can aspire to, since despite his 'great taste for poetry', the promising young Minnat finds the door to Urdu poetry-composition irrevocably-- and rudely-- barred against him by the curmudgeonly Mir.

The implausibilities here are manifest. Mir himself not only composed a substantial amount of Persian poetry, as did most of his contemporaries, but also boasted of his proficiency in the language; thus his contemptuous dismissal of it hardly rings true. But much more conspicuously, the real Mir never remotely privileged Dihlavis as the only possible Urdu poets. It would have been greatly against his interest to do so, because he himself, like Ghalib, was originally from Agra, and spent much of his adult life in Lucknow, or in transit. In his anthology 'Fine Points about the Poets' he criticized various poets for many reasons, but never for the crime of failing to come from Delhi; and indeed it's clear from that anthology that the Urdu poetic universe of his day stretched smoothly all the way across North India and also-- though not so smoothly-- down into the Deccan. In his anthology he in fact says that he himself 'belongs to Akbarabad [Agra], but driven by changing times presently resides in Shahjahanabad [Delhi]' (Naim 1999:8).

Moreover, Azad's Mir doesn't merely refuse to accept non-Dihlavis as Urdu poets. He's such a crazed Delhi chauvinist that he refuses to accept non-Dihlavis even as plausible hearers and enjoyers of Urdu poetry:

His arrogance toward lovers of his poetry: Some nobles and important people of Lucknow came in a group one day to meet Mir Sahib and hear his verses.... After greetings and small talk, and so on, they requested him to recite. At first Mir Sahib put them off for a time. Then he gave a clear answer: 'Noble gentlemen, my verses are not such as you will understand'. Although this displeased them, with an eye to courtesy and good manners they acknowledged the deficiencies of their understanding. They renewed their request. He again refused. Finally, feeling a bit piqued, they said, 'Hazrat! We understand the poetry of Anvari and Khaqani. Why will we not understand your noble utterance?' Mir Sahib said, 'That's true. But for their poetry commentaries, vocabularies, and dictionaries are available. And for my poetry, there is only the idiom of the people of [the] Urdu, or the stairs of the Jama Masjid. And these are beyond your reach.' (Azad 1907:209)

Like so many of Azad's anecdotes about Mir, this one sets up a set of binary oppositions: Dihlavis versus outsiders, Urdu versus Persian, elite colloquial language versus learned/bookish language. In all of these oppositions we see that the first is superior, the second inferior. And in each case, by no coincidence, Azad makes sure that the first is later identified with Zauq, the second with Ghalib.

There's one more set of binaries as well: humbly born versus aristocratic. The anecdote above about Mir's rejection of Minnat, though it's presented as damning the young poet for coming from Sonipat, suggests subtly that his aristocratic rank may be part of his problem. And Mir's treatment of Rangin makes the point more explicit:

Sa'adat Yar Khan Rangin's pupilship: Sa'adat Yar Khan Rangin was the son of T̤ahmasp Beg Khan, keeper of a royal fort. He was fourteen or fifteen years old. He went with great pomp and splendor, and presented a ghazal for correction. When he heard it, Mir Sahib said, 'Young sir! You are a noble yourself, and the son of a noble. Please take up spear-throwing and archery. Please practice horsemanship. Poetry is the act of lacerating the heart and burning the liver. Please don't presume to come near it.' When he insisted a great deal, Mir Sahib said, 'Your temperament is not suited to this art. It's not something that you will learn. What's the point of wasting your and my time to no purpose?' (Azad 1907:207)

Here it's clear that Rangin is damned both for being an aristocratic dilettante, and for lacking (perhaps for that very reason?) the correct poetic temperament. Mir himself came from obscure, non-aristocratic ancestry-- as did Zauq, whose father was 'a poor soldier' (Azad 1907:421). Ghalib, of course, came from a family of much higher rank.


Mir as an imperfect prototype of unworldly, poetry-obsessed simplicity

Being of low social rank is connected by Azad in some general, implicit way to virtuous qualities of detachment from the world and contentment with a life of poverty and simplicity-- a life focused entirely on poetry. Here, Azad tells us that Mir only gets it half-right, while full excellence is reserved for (who else?) Zauq. What Mir gets right is an extreme focus on a detached, unworldly, poetry-centric life:

His preoccupation with creative effort and his state of absorption: Seeing that Mir Sahib was in great distress, a navab of Lucknow took him and his family to his own home, and gave him a suitable residence near his mansion to live in, with a sitting room that had windows overlooking a garden. The idea was that he should be in a lively and cheerful frame of mind in every way. The day he went there to live, the shutters were closed. Some years passed, and they stayed closed; he never opened them to look at the garden. One day a friend came and said, 'There's a garden out here, why don't you sit with the shutters open?' Mīr Sahib replied, 'Oh, is there a garden here?' His friend said, 'That's why the Navab brought you here, to divert and cheer you'. Mīr Sahib's old crumpled drafts of his ghazals were lying nearby. Gesturing toward them, he said, 'I'm so absorbed in attending to this garden, I'm not even aware of that one'. With these words, he fell silent. (Azad 1907:211)

Of course, this radical rejection of the whole external world doesn't seem very appropriate for a paragon of 'natural poetry'; nor does filling the floor with old crumpled 'drafts' of ghazals seem to accord with a compositional process described as a simple, direct outpouring of personal suffering. But never mind all that-- Azad means for us to see that Mir is commendably indifferent to worldly pursuits and courtly life. However, Mir carries his self-sufficiency too far, as Azad is careful to inform us in a tone so roundabout and pseudo-reluctant that the effect is doubled:

It is also clear that since ancient days, ill-fortune and the ill-will of the heavens have cast dark shadows over the heads of people of accomplishment. In addition to this, Mir Sahib's loftiness of vision was so extreme that no one's worldly position, or accomplishment, or greatness, earned his esteem. This flaw made him temperamental, and kept him always deprived of worldly comfort and freedom from care--and he, wrongly thinking himself full of consistency of style and contentment in poverty, considered it a source of pride. (Azad 1907:195)

In short, Mir's arrogance masquerades as 'consistency of style' [va.za((daarii] and 'contentment in poverty' [qanaa((at]-- two traditional and culturally admired virtues that he ought to have, but doesn't. Who has them? Zauq, of course, as Azad is at considerable pains to show us in full detail:

His style of living: God the Most High had given his [=Zauq's] temperament such an affinity for poetry that, night and day, he thought of nothing else. And he was happy with it alone. His was a narrow and dark house, and its courtyard was of such a size that if a small charpoy was arranged to one side, then on both sides just enough room remained for a man to get through. He used to have the huqqah always at his lips. He always sat on a charpoy without bedding; he was always engaged in writing, or in reading a book. Heat, cold, rains--through the full force of all three seasons he spent his time seated right there. He was unaware of it all. Fairs, 'Ids, seasons, in fact any of the world's joys or sorrows--he had nothing to do with them. Where he had sat down on the first day, there he stayed seated. And he only rose to leave, when he left the world. (Azad 1907:448)

Mir's partial and compromised unworldliness and poetry-centeredness is here brought to full flower. What Mir ought to have been, Zauq actually is. And when it comes to such austere virtues Azad has made sure that Ghalib, with his wine-drinking and gambling, his famous sociability and wit, his constant efforts to augment his pension, doesn't even appear on the radar screen. Of course, in the real world, Zauq was the greatly cossetted ustad of Bahadur Shah and spent much of his time at the Red Fort rather than sitting on that humble charpoy, and in the real world Mir himself was quite prepared to flatter kings when necessary: 'A king's verse is the king of verses' (Naim 1999:125).

It would be possible to elaborate these points at length, examining more anecdotes about Mir, and exploring Azad's deadly pseudo-respectful treatment of Ghalib and his all-out hagiography of Zauq. But the main outlines are clear. Azad's Mir has the qualities that Azad needs him to have, not the qualities of the actual historical person. Azad's Mir is utterly and radically joyless; the real Mir actually appended jokes to his 'autobiography'. Azad's Mir personally experiences all the stylized ghazal tropes of the suffering lover's pain, and pours them directly from his heart into his poetry; the real Mir shaped his ghazals through the same literary processes used by his peers (as even Azad back-handedly acknowledges by calling our attention to all those crumpled drafts on the floor). Azad's Mir is a crazed, monomaniacal Delhi chauvinist who denies non-Dihlavis not only the right to compose Urdu ghazals, but even the power to appreciate them; the real Mir showed not a trace of such attitudes. Azad's Mir lives in a state of simplicity and unworldliness marred only by his arrogance; the real Mir, while he could indeed be literarily arrogant, had a full share of worldly ambitions and aspirations, as Naim makes clear (Naim 1999). Poor Mir would surely have hated the travesty of himself that was implausibly cobbled together by Azad. But Azad needed a 'John the Baptist' figure to pre-shape a Zauq-sized space right at the center of the canon; and nobody was as suitable as Mir for being made to play that very dubious role.


Arshi 1982: Imtiyaz 'Ali Khan 'Arshi. imtiyaaz ((alii ;xaan ((arshii -- Divan-e Ghalib / diivaan-e ;Gaalib -- New Delhi: Anjuman Taraqqi-e Urdu, 1982 [first ed. 1958].

Azad 1907: Azad, Muhammad Husain . mu;hammad ;husain aazaad -- Water of Life / aab-e ;hayaat -- Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy, 1982 [1880, 1883]. This edition is a photo offset of: Lahore: Naval Kishor, 1907. This edition is online at DSAL, and is also linked from the the Pritchett and Faruqi translation.

Faruqi 2006-08: Faruqi, Shamsur Rahman. shams ur-ra;hmaan faaruuqii -- Tumultuous Poetry: A Selection and Detailed Examination of the Ghazals of Mir / shi((r-e shor-angez ; ;Gazaliyaat-e miir kaa inti;xaab aur mufa.s.sal mu:taali((ah -- New Delhi: qaumii kaunsil baraa-e furo;G-e urduu , third edition, with additions and corrections, 2006 (vol. 1); 2007 (vol. 2); 2008 (vol. 3); 2008 (vol. 4). Earlier editions: New Delhi: Taraqqi Urdu Bureau, 1997 [1990] (vol. 1); 1997 [1992] (vol. 2); 1997 [1992] (vol. 3); 1997 [1994] (vol. 4).

Mahfuz 2003: Mahfuz, Ahmad. a;hmad ma;hfuu:z -- The Complete Works of Mir, vol. 1 / kulliyaat-e miir jild-e avval -- Edited by Ahmad Mahfuz. New Delhi: Qaumi Council bara-e Furogh-e Urdu Zaban, 2003.

Mahfuz 2007: Mahfuz, Ahmad. a;hmad ma;hfuu:z -- The Complete Works of Mir, vol. 2 / kulliyaat-e miir jild-e duvvum -- Edited by Ahmad Mahfuz. New Delhi: Qaumi Council bara-e Furogh-e Urdu Zaban, 2007.

Mir 1752: Mir, Muhammad Taqi. mu;hammad taqii miir -- Fine Points about the Poets / nikaat ul-shu((araa -- Edited by 'Abd ul-Haq. Aurangabad: Anjuman Taraqqi-e Urdu, 1935 [1752]. (In Persian.)

Naim 1999: Mir, Muhammad Taqi -- Zikr-i Mir: The Autobiography of the Eighteenth Century Mughal Poet Mir Muhammad Taqi 'Mir'. C. M. Naim, trans. and ed. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1999. (Trans. from Persian.)

Pritchett 1979: 'Convention in the Classical Urdu Ghazal: the Case of Mir.' Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 3,1 (Fall 1979):60-77 (online text).

Pritchett 1994: Nets of Awareness: Urdu Poetry and its Critics. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.

Pritchett and Faruqi 2001: Pritchett, Frances, and S. R. Faruqi, trans. and ed., Ab-e hayat: Shaping the Canon of Urdu Poetry. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2001. This translation is online through DSAL.

Raza 1995: Raza, Kalidas Gupta / kaaliidaas guptaa ra.zaa -- The complete divan of Ghalib in the Gupta Raza edition, in chronological order / diivaan-e ;Gaalib kaamil nus;xah-e guptaa ra.zaa , taarii;xii tartiib se -- Bombay: Sakar Publications, 1995.