Mir Taqi Mir’s poetry has always made fascinating reading for me. He wrote short couplets, used simple words but provided extremely sensitive portrayal almost as fragile as glass. Living in extreme penury in Lucknow of the last century, Mir harboured a robust self, which brooked no begging of favours from the powers that be as was the wont of his contemporary poets. As a result, he hardly ever enjoyed a good meal, let alone life. Misery bleached his life. His poetry holds mirror to the tragedy the life was for him. Creature of the age that he was, and blessed with a daughter, dowry for her marriage was a nagging concern for the penury-stricken poet. Mir gifted her all that could be conceived, as much as his savings and borrowings could buy. Being the lone daughter, parting was painful for both the doting father and the daughter who had been witness to the father’s ordeal. So intense was the sorrow that the bride could not take it any more. Off on the palanquin, she sobbed inconsolably and developed hiccups. She breathed her last around midnight on reaching her bridal home in a nearby village. Shocked, the susral folk dispatched a messenger with the sad news to the agonised father. Messenger’s knock at the door at the unearthly hour of night sent a chill down Mir’s spine. He thought it must be a call to fulfill some vital deficiency. “My Lord, Did I forget anything”, he thought and asked the messenger to spell out the demand to be fulfilled the next morning. But to his utter disbelief, the messenger conveyed the sad news of daughter’s death. Later arriving at the bridegroom’s home, Mir found the body of the bride laid out amid the huge pile of dowry articles. Awash in red bridal clothes, for Mir Taqi Mir, the sorrow filled ambience had a touch of irony.
Victim of greed and grief, Mir Taqi Mir was never the same again. Hope the Mir’s tragedy will have enough lessons for the youth.